Feeling sluggish? Can't seem to find the energy for daily tasks? Need a break from processed foods, wine or other consumables that can be hard on your body? Then, it may be time to detox. While there are numerous detox diets, you can also help the process through yoga. Check out these poses for detoxing:
Wide-Legged Forward Bend
The wide-legged forward bend is similar to downward dog. However, instead of stabilizing yourself on the floor with your hands, you bend forward while clasping your hands together and pulling them outward from your shoulders. Because this pose positions your brain beneath your heart, it reverses the effect of gravity on your circulatory system, helping to get the blood pumping through your body more effectively.
It also sends fluids to your filtering lymph nodes. Finally, the bend squeezes your stomach, encouraging digestive movement. Any quality detox pose should stimulate these three systems as the circulatory, digestive and lymphatic systems are the ones responsible for getting rid of toxins.
Three-Legged Downward Dog
From the wide-legged bend, you can move into downward dog by extending your hands to the ground and tightening your stance slightly to make your feet shoulder width apart. Then, once you're body is stable, extend one foot high into the air, creating a straight line through your arms, torso and leg.
This pose boosts circulation, and surprisingly, it can be quite relaxing as well, especially as your upper body strength improves to the level that you can hold the pose easily. The relaxing properties of this pose also indirectly help with detoxing -- as you relax, your body release stress hormones, another critical part of the detox journey.
Seated Heart Opener
This pose is especially ideal for people who spend a lot of time hunched over a laptop or doing anything else that slumps their shoulders and shortens their spine. To get into this detoxing yoga pose, get into a kneeling position with your shins on the floor and your bum resting between your feet. Then, place your hands on the mat behind you, tilt your head to the ceiling and let your chest open up.
This seated heart opener helps to remove tension between your shoulder blades, but it also lengthens your spine in a way that allows your lungs to fully expand and contract with each breath. Filling your body with extra oxygen is one of the most effective things you can do in terms of detoxing. The oxygen helps to remove the carbon dioxide, lactic acids and other wastes from your body, including lymphatic wastes. To get started, just get into this position and take deep slow breaths.
Head to Knee C
When you've finished with the seated heart opener, move into the head to knee C pose. To start this pose, sit on your bum and extend both of your legs straight out in front of you. Bend one leg, pulling your ankle toward you until that foot is resting against your thigh and your knee is bent to the side. Then, stretch your torso forward and grab your extended foot with your hands. If you cannot get all the way to your feet, stretch down as far as you can and grab that part of your calf or ankle. Hold the pose for a few moments and then switch the position of your legs and do the other side.
This pose helps to lengthen your spine and reduce back pain, but it also helps with detoxing your digestive system. Head to knee C gently massages your internal organs, stimulating them to work and helping to move through lingering toxins naturally.
Shoulder Stand Pose
This inverted pose also helps with detoxing. To get into the shoulder stand pose, lie on the floor and then, pull your legs back over your hand. Brace the back of your spine with your hands and slowly extend your legs straight up into the air.
A modified handstand, the shoulder stand pose helps drain lymphatic fluid from your legs as well as your upper body. Essentially, the pose lets toxins from many parts of your body rush to your heart, where they are naturally cleaned out. Combining this pose with poses that boost circulation also helps the process.
Detoxing doesn't just exclusively have to mean sipping green tea, subscribing to a juice cleanse or having a colonic. Rather, it can encompass many approaches, and yoga should be a part of it. Try the five poses above and enjoy your clean body.