Kati Chakrasana Standing Spinal Twist Pose Method, Benefits, Side Effects

Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Kati Chakrasana is an Asana in which the doer rotates the waist and puts it into circular rotation, just like the spinning or rotation of a wheel. Thus Kati Chakrasana literally means ‘rotation of the waist’. 

Word meaning

Meaning – The word Katichakrasana is actually made up of 3 words
Kati = Waist
Chakra = Wheel or Circular (in terms of that which rotates like a wheel)
Asana = Pose, Posture

In this pose the doer should twist his or her waist on both sides with the spine as the center or pivot.
It is often called as ‘Office Yoga’ or ‘Classroom Yoga for Children’ because it can be casually and easily practiced amidst the office activities in office and between classes in the classroom.

Salient features

Salient features of Kati Chakrasana – Standing Spinal Twist Pose

  • Kati Chakrasana is a good exercise to the waist.
  • It gives a good stretch to the waist and makes it strong and flexible.
  • It is very easy to learn and perform. Therefore it is much helpful for those people who are not much flexible.
  • It is also good for aged people; even they can perform it comfortably.
  • The posture can be done effortlessly
  • It can be practiced by people of all age groups

Method

Method of doing KatiChakrasan – Standing Spinal Twist Pose
Positioning for the Asana

  • Stand up straight. Put your feet together.
  • Keep your spine erect. Keep your shoulders straight.
  • Now keep your legs apart from each other equivalent to your shoulders.
  • As you breathe in, stretch your hands (upper limbs) to the front, palms of both hands facing each other. Make sure that your hands are in line with your shoulders and your palms are at shoulder-width distance from each other. Both your hands (upper limbs) should be parallel to the ground.

Performing and getting to the Kati Chakrasana pose
Right Twist

  • First inhale slowly. Next exhale.
  • While exhaling, twist your waist slowly towards your right and look back over the right, i.e. twist your waist to that extent which enables you to see back. Stay in this position as long as possible while holding your breathe out (do not inhale). While doing this, keep your feet glued in its place. This gives you a better twist.
  • Now release and unlock the twist in the reverse direction so as to come back to the center or from the neutral standing position from which you had started. While doing this slowly inhale.

Left Twist
The left twist of waist shall be done in the same chronology as done in the right twist (explained above).

  • While exhaling, twist your waist slowly towards your left and look back over the left, i.e. twist your waist to that extent which enables you to see back. Stay in this position as long as possible while holding your breathe out (do not inhale). While doing this, keep your feet glued in its place. This gives you a better twist.
  • Now release and unlock the twist in the reverse direction so as to come back to the center or from the neutral standing position from which you had started. While doing this slowly inhale. Relax yourself now.

Note –
If you want to keep yourself in this twisted position for longer, you need to slowly keep breathing.

This posture should be practiced from both sides, i.e. the waist should be twisted to both sides in rhythmic way, one after the other, like a swing. Make sure that the number of twists you do towards the right (in one cycle) are equal to the number of twists you do towards the left.

Make sure that the twists are slow and graceful, do not hurry, do not do it too quickly (avoid moving the waist with a sudden jerk).

Try to coordinate your movements and twists with the breath; this bestows good stretch and results.

Time duration

How many times Kati Chakrasana shall be practiced in one cycle?
Kati Chakrasana can be practiced according to one’s convenience. The practice can be repeated for 10-20 times in a cycle or even more (if you are capable of doing it for more times).

What time should be spent in the pose while doing Kati Chakrasana?
You can keep yourself in the twisted pose as long as you can keep your breathe out (without inhaling). Approximately 10-15 seconds (or more, depends on one’s capacity to hold the breath) can be spent in the twisted pose on one side. If you want to spend more time in the twisted pose and feel the stretch, you need to keep breathing slowly in that pose and when you feel like coming back to neutral position (starting position) you can slowly come back while inhaling.

Health benefits

Health Benefits of Kati Chakrasana
Below mentioned are the benefits of Kati Chakrasana –

  • Strengthens the spine, improves its flexibility
  • Strengthens the waist
  • Improves the flexibility of the waist and spine
  • Tones up the neck, shoulder, waist , back and hips
  • Useful for correcting back stiffness and postural problems of the back, spine and muscles
  • Good remedy for low back pain
  • Opens up and relaxes the neck and the shoulders, also gives a good stretch to them
  • Strengthens the arm and leg muscles, also abdominal and back muscles
  • Provides stretch to different muscles of the arms, legs and belly (abdomen)
  • Helps to shed the excessive fat from the body thus making the waistline slim and fit. It also helps in weight loss.
  • Helps to overcome lethargy, good for those having sedentary lifestyle or desk-bound jobs
  • The twisting movement in this asana induces a feel of lightness and relieves from physical and mental tension
  • Relieves constipation
  • It effectively expands the chest and ensures appropriate expanding of lungs, thus prevents respiratory problems. It is good for those suffering from asthma, cough, tuberculosis etc.
  • It helps to ease the muscles and ward off the stiffness associated with Alzheimer and Parkinson’s disease.
  • It is a useful remedy for frozen shoulder. It helps to relieve stiffness and rigidity in the shoulder region.
  • When practiced along with Tadasana and Tiryak Tadasana, Kati Chakrasana helps in relieving digestive disorders, it helps in improvising the peristalsis of abdomen
  • It is good for those suffering from diabetes and improves kidney health, nervous system and uterus
  • Regular practice of Kati Chakrasana helps in releasing Pranic energy, elevates mood and helps in fighting depression

Read more – Physiological effect of Kati Chakrasan

Impact on Chakras

Kati Chakrasana stimulates the Manipura Chakra which is principally concerned with digestive functions. It also provides proper exercise to the abdomen and abdominal organs and muscles.

Who should not do? (Contraindications and precautions for doing Kati Chakrasana)
Kati Chakrasana shall be avoided in the presence of the below mentioned conditions –

  • If you have undergone recent spinal or abdominal surgery
  • In presence of slip disc
  • Chronic spinal disorders
  • In presence of abdominal inflammation
  • In presence of hernia
  • Pregnancy

Related Video
Watch this video to follow the method of doing Katichakrasana

Effect on Doshas

Effect of Kati Chakra Asana on Doshas and their subtypes –

Controls Vayu – Kati Chakrasana helps in controlling the Vayu. Kati means waist (pelvis), which is one of the primary seats of Vayu. Kati Chakrasana gives good stretch to this Vata site and makes it flexible and strong, thus enabling the free movement of Vayu. Since this asana strengthens the waist, lower back and spine, the flexibility of spine improves. The back and hips are also strengthened.

Stimulates Apana Vayu – Kati Chakrasana stimulates apana vayu and enables its proper functioning. The proper movement of apana vayu helps in curing constipation.

Balances the Prana-Udana-Vyana axis – Kati Chakrasana expands the chest and chest organs, mainly lungs properly. Thus it enables the proper functioning of lungs and aids in proper input and output of air. The asana thus helps in effectively curing asthma, cough and other problems related to breathing mechanism. This benefit is achieved by balancing the Prana-Udana-Vyana axis by this asana, thus helping in proper coordination of these three Vayus which are responsible for proper breathing, aeration and circulation.

Stimulates Samana Vayu and Pachaka Pitta – By stimulating Samana Vayu and Pachaka Pitta and establishing a comprehensive coordination between these two subtypes of doshas Kati Chakrasana helps in correcting the dysfunctions related to digestion. It helps in correcting the digestive errors, enhancing digestion and strengthening abdominal organs and muscles. In this context, the asana also stimulates the Manipura Chakra, the energy provider for digestive functions.

Effect on Dhatus

Effect of Kati Chakrasana on Dhatus –
Strengthens the Asthi and Mamsa Dhatus – Kati Chakrasana strengthens the bones and muscles, relaxes the muscles (arm, leg, abdominal and leg muscles) and tones them up. The flexibility in asthi-sandhis (bony joints) is increased.

Expels Medas – Kati Chakrasana helps in shedding those extra calories by depleting the dangerous stores (accumulation) of fat and makes the waistline slim and fit. By destroying the morbid fat, this asana also helps in reducing weight and cures / prevents many diseases caused due to disturbed fat metabolism.

Effect on Malas

Effect of Kati Chakrasana on Malas –
Aids proper Mala Pravritti – By stimulating and activating Mala Pravritti, Kati Chakrasana helps in proper and timely expulsion of (excretion) of feces, helps in relieving constipation.

Just Before Finish
In this article I have covered in detail the method of doing Katichakrasana, one of the best asanas or poses to strengthen one’s waist and for maintenance of spinal health, good for digestive disorders and for slimming and trimming the waist.
Click to Consult Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ayu)

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