Twists & Hips:
Detoxing with Yoga
Are you ready for some fun in the sun, or does the sudden onset of Summer heat have you feeling weighed down? I, for one, enjoy all the activities associated with the Summer months. Everything from poolside parties and beach bashes to backyard BBQ’s gets me excited to be out and about. However, it’s already mid-June, and I admittedly am not feeling my lightest and brightest. I’ve been snacking on seasonal fruits and lighter fairs to cool me down, but I still feel like I need a good cleanse!
Rigorous diets, fasting, or ingestion of less-than-satisfying herbs aren’t required for a detox. Movement can be your detoxifier, too! Asanas involving twisting and your hips elevated above the heart promote healthy organ function and the removal of toxins.
If you feel like me, why not give your mind and body a lift with a Yoga Detox?!
Try these in your practice, and see how much cleaner and more energetic you feel from the inside, out.
Parivrtta Utkatasana (Revolved Chair Pose)
(Feet may be either together or hip-width apart.)
- Bend your knees as if you are sitting on a chair, aligning your knees with the center of your feet.
- Bring your hands together at heart center, then twist, bringing one elbow to the outside of your opposite knee.
- Press your palms firmly together, squeeze your shoulder blades together, and open your chest wide.
Detox benefits: This asana improves the health of the spine and vertebrae, stimulates the liver, spleen, and digestive system, and aids in functions related to the elimination process.
Marichyasana (Seated Twist)
- Begin seated with both legs straight in front of you.
- Bend one leg towards your chest, placing the bottom of your foot on the ground.
- Rotate your torso towards the upright knee.
- Wrap your opposite arm around and under the knee, positioning the knee in the crook of the elbow.
- Continue to breathe* and turn your torso as you adjust your gaze behind you.
*After holding the position for several breaths, repeat on the opposite side.
Detox benefits: Twists help stimulate digestion and the removal of impurities from the body. This twist squeezes the abdominal organs, stimulating blood circulation in the kidney and liver. Once released, blood re-enters the organs.
Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand)
(Start by lying on your back.)
- Raise your legs over the head into a plow pose.
- Bring your hands to support the respective side of the spine, and slowly bend both your knees to press your feet up into the air.
- Draw your navel toward your spine.
- Gaze towards your toes and avoid moving your head, being sure not to place pressure on your neck.
- Dismount by lowering to plow first and then returning to laying on your back.
Detox benefits: Inverted poses (where hips are over your heart) help drain accumulated lymph fluid from the lower half of your body and are known to increase metabolism by stimulating the thyroid gland. This pose is optimal at the end of a practice with because the toxins released during the practice are flushed toward the heart to be re-circulated, oxygenated and cleansed.
- Lie on your stomach with your hands alongside, palms up.
- Bend your knees*, bringing your heels to your buttocks as you reach back with your hands and take hold of the outside of your ankles. *Ensure your knees aren’t wider than the width of your hips for the duration of the pose.
- Kick your heels away from your buttocks and, at the same time, lift your thighs away from the floor; this will have the effect of pulling your upper torso and head off the floor.
- Push the tailbone down toward the floor, and relax your backside muscles.
- Continue lifting the heels and thighs higher while pressing your shoulder blades firmly against your back to open your heart.
Detox Benefits: The pressure on your abdomen when performing this pose aids in digestion, strokes the gastric fire and helps relieve flatulence.
Where ever you are in your yoga practice or cleansing routine, these asanas are sure to leave you feeling refreshed. Maybe you can even try them outside or in a heated studio for an additional, detoxifying benefit 🙂
This list is not all-inclusive; there are many other poses to choose from to help with metabolism, digestion, and elimination. What is your favorite detoxifying yoga pose?
-Health & Wellness Coach