Over the past decade or so, detox has become nothing short of a trendy idea. As people are exposed to an increasing amount of toxins in the environment and in processed foods, they are searching for ways to reduce the negative impact on their bodies. One way is through �?detoxing’.
Many turn to a strict diet, juicing or supplements to detox. This, though, can be extreme and often makes people sick.
Others think they can detox through extreme sweating. The truth, though, is that sweating gets rid of dirt and a few unwelcome guests near the skin’s surface and keep the body’s internal temp in check, but it does not �?detox’.
Detoxing involves cleaning and supporting the liver, kidneys, colon and lymph system. Thankfully, there’s yoga to help make that happen.
Postures to Detox
Many yoga poses having benefits for the liver, colon and kidneys. Here we’ll look at three categories that go above and beyond to help eliminate toxins and keep the organs healthy.
Twisted Postures: Twisting postures literally wring out the colon to get things moving.
The simplest twist involves lying down and bringing your knees or legs to one side while twisting and looking over the opposite shoulder and then switching sides.
Another option is to twist in a seated pose. Marichiyasana is one option for a seated twist. Sit with your left leg straight and your right leg bent so your right foot is flat on the floor outside of the left thigh. Place your right hand behind you for support. Now inhale as you lift your left arm straight up. As you exhale twist to the right and lower your right elbow outside your bent knee. Turn your gaze over your right shoulder. On each inhale lengthen the spine, and twist further on the exhale. Hold this for five breaths and switch sides.
Moving to standing twists, Twisted Chair Pose, also called Parivrtta Utkatasana, is one option. From Chair Pose with your knees bent and arms raised in line with your ears, inhale. As you exhale, bring your hands in prayer pose at the heart center. Inhale in this position and on the exhale, twist to bring your right arm to the outside of your left thigh. You can stay here or take it even further by bringing the right finger to the floor and the left fingers towards the sky. Hold this for five breaths and switch sides.
Forward Folds for Detox: Folding postures massage the internal organs and kick their activity into high gear. Again, there are many options within this family of asanas. Uttanasana is as simple as starting in mountain pose. Inhale as you bring your arms up to the sky and gaze up. Exhale as you fold from the hips and reach your hands to the floor, shins or block. To maximize the detox benefits from folds draw your navel towards your spine. You’ll find you can go deeper in the pose.
Paschimottanasana is essentially the same thing as Uttanasana but done seated, reaching your hand to the outer edges of your feet. You can take this a step further in Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana – or Half Bound Lotus Pose, where you bring one leg into lotus pose with the top of the foot in the hip crease and your heel putting light pressure on the abdomen.
Inversions for Detox: As the name implies, inversions get the heart above the head so gravity pulls fluids in the opposite direction. This action has a direct impact on circulation of blood and lymph, and helps to eliminate toxins in a way our normal upright posture doesn’t.
The most basic of these involves lying on your back with your feet up the wall. Hold this for as long as is comfortable.
Another relatively basic asana with these same benefits is Downward Facing Dog. Start on your hands and knees, with your knees below your hips and your hands directly under your shoulders. Tuck your toes and straighten your legs to bring your hips toward the sky. Your weight should be evenly distributed between your hands and feet and you continue to reach the back of your thighs to the back wall.
As in forward folds, draw your navel toward your spine to massage the internal organs. A slight inward rotation of your thighs will help you get deeper into the pose.
And, if you’re feeling really strong, headstand is a great way turn things upside down.
The beauty of using yoga to help you detox is that it’s gentle and it’s not trying to be a one size fits all approach. Do the asanas that work for you. You can do these every day without harm and with so much variety find the pose that helps you keep things moving in the right direction – literally.