Not quite twist and shout, but you can if you want! Anything that gets your lungs opening up, your heart pumping, your soul singing with joy.
Spinal Twists is the warm-up exercise that really challenges some new students. Kundalini class may be the first time that someone has consciously connected with their deep breath. When we are used to breathing shallowly, the powerful deep breathing of Kundalini Yoga can bring on powerful symptoms of hyperventilation - tingling in the fingers and toes, lightness or dizziness in the head, a sense of disorientation. Not that different from a good bottle of wine, but breathing is free!
Hyperventilation in itself is not only harmless, it is healthy. When we breathe deeply and powerfully, we energise every cell in our body, flushing the blood and tissues with fresh prana and cleansing and removing apana, waste products of metabolism, breathe and life. It is something that we should be doing every day, at least once a day, for optimal health. But as all good freedivers know, we just must never do it directly before a breathhold in water :-)
Hyperventilation combined with the rotation of Spinal Twists can be a seriously trippy experience. The movement of the head in this exercise can create a slight dizziness and then combined with the breathing, before you know it you're in outer space and have no idea how you got there, how you're getting home again, and quite possibly are too far gone to care anyway! This is a great lesson in letting go, allowing us to travel to places we don't normally allow ourselves to go in our tightly regimented, organised and controlled lives.
Spinal Twists allow us to explore the space of open curiosity; to go to a new realm and simply observe, without feeling fear of the unknown, and without needing to know where it will lead us. This is a great lesson if you're a freediver who freaks out about a PB - let yourself freefall that extra couple of metres and just see what the experience brings you.
Give some time in your life and some space in your spine and your mind to Spinal Twists and see just how amazing it feels to take off and experience a few moments of bliss! Sat nam.