How Yoga Detoxes and Restores the Body

Our bodies are naturally formulated to eliminate waste and toxins. When we exercise regularly and consume a healthy-balanced diet, our digestive, circulatory and lymphatic systems collaborate to eliminate pollutants.

If you feel bloated, heavy, and lethargic, you might need to cleanse your body. Yoga is a great form of exercise to help detox and return your body to a healthy state.

More: Yoga Detox: A Flow to Cleanse Your Body

How Our Body Naturally Sheds Toxins

There are three main components of how our body naturally sheds toxins:

1. Digestive System

The digestive system processes our food; ideally storing the nutrients needed while shedding waste and toxins.

2. Circulatory System

This pumps blood from the heart throughout the body delivering oxygen to the cells and removing waste from the cells.

More: Why Every Athlete Should Practice Yoga

3. Lymphatic System

Lymphatic fluid serves to transport harmful matter to the lymph nodes where bacteria can be removed prior to returning to the bloodstream. Unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic flow has no pump and relies on exercise or massage to operate optimally.

Yoga Postures to Help Detox

There are three main types of yoga postures that are excellent for detoxification. First, twists squeeze and stimulate the abdominal and digestive organs, thereby rinsing toxins from the body. Next, forward bends actively compress the digestive organs, speeding up elimination. Third, inversions help drain fluids from the feet and legs back toward the heart.

More: Strength Train With Yoga

Stay healthy in a yoga class.

7 Yoga Poses to Detox Your Body

When you feel tired and weighed down by stress, a lack of exercise, and poor food choices, give your body and mind a reboot with a detox.

A detox doesn’t always mean a rigorous diet, juice fast, or ingesting a combination of nauseating herbs. You can detox through yoga too, with a practice that’ll leave you feeling cleaner on the inside and more energetic on the outside.

Give the following asanas a try and see the benefits for yourself.

Parivrtta Utkatasana (Revolved Chair Pose)

Bring your feet either hip-width apart or together (depending on your comfort level). Bend your knees as if you are sitting on a chair; make sure your knees are aligned with the center of your feet. Bring your hands together at the heart center and bring one elbow to the opposite knee, pressing your palms firmly together. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and open your chest wide.

Detox benefits: In addition to improving the health of the spine and vertebrae, this asana stimulates the liver, spleen, and digestive system, while toning the abdominals and improving the elimination process.

Garuda-asana (Eagle Pose)

Stand with your feet together and arms by your side, which is Tadasana or mountain pose. Draw your left foot upward, bending the knee as you lift it. Wrap the left foot around your right leg as you rest the back of your left thigh on the right thigh. Cross your arms at the elbows, left over right. Join the palms of your hands together keeping the fingers pointed upward. Inhale and hold the posture for the duration of the inhaled breath.

Exhale and return to the Tadasana pose. Repeat the posture on the opposite side, wrapping the right leg over the left and the right arm over left.

Detox benefits: In addition to stretching the ankles and calves, this asana stretches the thighs, hips, shoulders, and upper back. By firmly pressing the thighs together, deeper circulation is supported in the legs, which helps flush out the blood and lymph system.

Marichyasana (Sage Twist Pose)

Sit on the floor with both legs straight in front of you. Bend your left leg towards your chest. Rotate your torso toward your left knee. Wrap your right arm around the left knee, positioning the knee in the crook of the right elbow. After resting in this position for several breaths, swap sides and repeat.

Detox benefits: This yoga twist helps to stimulate digestion and remove the impurities of the body. As the abdominal organs are squeezed, the kidney and liver are stimulated. When the twist is released, blood then enters the organs.

Urdhava Dhanurasana (Forearm Wheel)

Move into a reclined position on your back and slowly press up, gently placing the crown of your head on the mat. Come onto your forearms one at a time both forearms on the mat. Slowly press up into a backbend, opening through your shoulders.

Detox benefits: Chest-opening exercises are wonderful to release stagnation and congestion in the body. They are also a great way to activate your metabolism.

Pincha Mayurasana (Arm Balance)

From Downward Facing Dog, place your palms and forearms on the floor (your forearms parallel to each other at shoulder width). Firm your shoulder blades against your back torso and pull them toward your tailbone. Then rotate your upper arms outward, to keep the shoulder blades broad, and hug your forearms inward. Finally, spread your palms and press your inner wrists firmly against the floor.

Now bend your left knee and step the foot in, but keep right leg active by extending through the heel. Then take a few practice hops before you try to launch yourself upside down. Sweep your right leg through a wide arc and kick your left foot off the floor, immediately pushing through the heel to straighten the leg. Hop up and down like this several times, each time pushing off the floor a little higher. Exhale deeply each time you hop.

If your armpits and groins are tight, your lower back may be deeply arched. Draw the navel toward the spine. Squeeze the outer legs together and roll the thighs in. For this pose your head should be off the floor; locate a spot right between your hands and hold your gaze there for focus.

When you come down, be sure not to sink onto your shoulders. Keep your shoulder blades lifted, and take one foot down at a time with an exhalation.

Detox benefits: If you can manage to get yourself into this pose, you will be blessed by the following benefits: strengthens the re-productive organs and sexual function, helps heal constipation, and reduces acidity and indigestion.

Salamba Sirsana with Garudasana (Eagle Headstand Pose)

Kneel on the floor. Lace your fingers together and set the forearms on the floor, elbows at shoulder width. Roll the upper arms slightly outward, but press the inner wrists firmly into the floor. Set the crown of your head on the floor.

Inhale and lift your knees off the floor. Carefully walk your feet closer to your elbows, keep your heels elevated. Actively lift through the top thighs, forming an inverted “V.” Firm the shoulder blades against your back and lift them toward the tailbone so the front torso stays as long as possible.

Exhale and lift your feet away from the floor. Take both feet up at the same time, even if it means bending your knees and hopping lightly off the floor. Turn the upper thighs in slightly, and actively press the heels toward the ceiling (straightening the knees if you bent them to come up). Place the right thigh over the left and either stay there in a half bind or wrap the foot around the calf in a full bind. Press the thighs into one another.

Detox benefits: All types of headstands improve cardiovascular functioning by reducing strain on the heart. It’s a wonderful pose to assist people suffering from a depressed immune system and also helps with allergies. Headstands also help increase digestive fire and body heat. They can increase the function of the endocrine glands, especially the pineal and pituitary glands.

Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand Pose)

Start by lying on the floor. Draw your legs back over the head coming into a plow pose. Bring your hands to either side of the spine and slowly bend both your knees and press your feet up into the air. Lift the kneecaps and draw the belly toward the spine. Gaze towards your toes and avoid moving your head to either side. Lower to plow on your way down and return to your first position.

Detox benefits: Inverted poses such as the shoulder stand help drain accumulated lymph fluid from the legs and upper body. This is a wonderful pose to do at the end of a practice as all toxins that were released during the practice are then flushed toward the heart to be oxygenated and cleansed.

It’s good to note that all asanas assist in the detoxification process. So if you feel inspired, play by your own rules, and choose your favorites. Wherever you are in the practice—whether you’re moving into advanced poses or you are a very beginner—enjoy yourself, and watch the benefits from detox happen naturally.

Yoga Detox Debunking: Does Yoga Really Release Toxins From The Body?

We’ve heard it all before. As we get into downward dog, perform a seated twist or engage in pranayama breath, our yoga instructor always tells us how we’re releasing toxins from our body. Of course, this sounds great, BUT I can’t help wondering: does yoga actually release toxins from the body?

After doing some light midnight googling, I was able to find that the idea of detox yoga was popularized by master yoga teacher B.K.S. Iyengar, who touted the “squeeze and soak” theory.

According to Iyengar, when you twist and compress the muscles and organs during yoga, you’re actually blocking the flow of blood. When you release the pose, you send blood back to those areas with improved circulation and nutrients. Again, this sounds great, but I think I need a little more detail.

Breaking it down
To understand how yoga detoxes the body, we need to figure out how the body detoxes on its own.

When our bodies are healthy, they actually detox themselves through the digestive system, lymphatic system and circulatory system. But, if we indulge too much on sugar and junk food, maybe have too many glasses of wine or skip our workout commitments, then it gets tougher for our bodies to detox naturally.

This is when we turn to yoga. By performing yoga twists for digestion, backbends and forward folds, we are able to massage and put pressure on our organs, which helps release the build up of toxins.

Squeeze and soak theory
Let’s get back to the squeeze and soak theory by B.K.S. Iyengar. When we get into a seated twist, we are putting pressure on the gallbladder, kidneys, liver, spleen and intestines—you know, the hard working detoxing organs. When we twist our core, we’re blocking blood flow and, when we release, we’re sending new and oxygen-rich blood back to those organs. With better circulation, our organs are able to perform their bodily functions better.

Surely this goes without saying, but digestion is key in ridding waste from the body. So, when we perform asanas for digestion, like backbends and forward folds, we put pressure on the stomach. This encourages movement in our bowels, which then helps release toxins from our bodies. Forward folds get an extra shout out though—they also send blood to our heads and lymph nodes which is a detoxifying bonus.

It sounds simple because it is. If you’re still wondering how to detoxify the body, then the simple answer is to just do yoga. Yoga poses for detox are inherently part of every yoga flow, so sign up for a Vinyasa class at your local studio and enjoy the detoxifying benefits of yoga.

Take away: yoga for detox

Yoga in itself is detoxing. Everything from the breath to the poses (and, if you’re taking hot yoga, then the sweat) contribute to cleansing the body and ridding it of toxins. And, while yoga is a huge help in keeping your body healthy, staying on track with a balanced diet, limiting your alcohol intake and developing a daily yoga practice at home will all contribute greatly to your overall health.

Sometimes, we need baby steps. So, if you feel like your body is in need of a detox, then throw on your cutest pair of yoga leggings, order a green juice and hit the studio, girl.

About the Author

Certified Life Coach, CBT therapist, and Hypnotherapist, Krissi Lawton strives to challenge women to discover their true infinite power through her Empowerment Coaching. You can typically find Krissi drinking a chai tea latte in between yoga sessions or driving to Cali to get in a much needed ocean meditation. Krissi believes yoga has the ability to transform lives from the inside out and encourages her clients to incorporate yoga into their daily routine to see happiness blossom.

Intestinal Cleansing – Shankaprakshalana

5/ The fifth exercise, Udarakarshanasana, translates as Abdominal Massage.

Sit in a squatting position with the hands placed upon the knees. Hold the upper body and head erect.

Lower the right knee to the left foot, while pressing the left leg against the body so that it exerts a pressure against the stomach, all the way down to the groin.

Repeat to the other side.

Do it eight times to each side.

Important! The five exercises that are described here cause the water to pass quickly through the alimentary canal, from stomach to anus.

The exercises therefore must be practised in the given order. When you do the exercises after having drunk each portion of the water, they will cause the different sphincter muscles, from the stomach and down through the intestines, to open in the right order.

Kunjal Kriya – Stomach Cleansing

After clear water is evacuated, the stomach must be cleansed.

The water for the stomach cleansing is also physiological, but just below body temperature.

This technique is called Kunjal Kriya, not to be confused with “Kriya Yoga“, which is an advanced meditation technique.

In Sanskrit, Kunjal means “to throw up water”, and Kriya, “process”.

You drink the water in one go until the stomach is full – approximately 1½ litres – and, if it has the right temperature, the water will come up by itself. Otherwise, you can insert two fingers down your throat and trigger the vomiting reflex.

Stomach cleansing is a simple and quick process that produces a feeling of well-being and deep relaxation.

Therapeutically, Kunjal is used against stomach and digestive problems, headache, nervousness, asthma, common cold and coughing.

If a more thorough acquaintance with the method is desired, then it can be done every morning on an empty stomach, for up to forty days. No special diet is required, but wait three quarters of an hour before you eat anything.

Neti – Nose Cleansing

The nose is cleansed afterwards. It is also done with physiological salt water.A Neti pot is filled with salt water at body temperature. The spout is placed into one nostril, so that it sits tight. The head is held at an angle so that the water runs by itself in through one nostril and out of the other.

The process is repeated on the other nostril.

Read more about Neti and how to dry the nose afterwards>>

Rest and Food

When you have cleansed and dried the nose, done the exercises again, been to the toilet, and gotten the final water out, then lie down and rest for 45 minutes. You don’t sleep but just lie and relax, maybe while listening to some pleasant music.

The rest following the intestinal cleansing is described in this way in Yogic Management of Asthma and Diabetes, by Dr. Swami Shankaradevananda Saraswati:

“This is the only time, where the digestion gets a total rest, as it is only when the stomach is completely empty, that the activity of the digestive nerve impulses and glands stops.”


When you’ve finished resting, then you eat a special meal, consisting of rice, red lentils and ghee (clarified butter, the clear oil from heated butter). This meal helps the digestive process start again in a gentle and balanced way. Eat plenty. Do not drink water and do not take a bath for the next four hours. Thereafter, you must only drink warm water for the rest of the day.

Then, take it easy until bed time. You can take a walk in the fresh air, but don’t do anything strenuous.

The Diet

What does one eat after the intestinal cleansing?
A diet is observed after the intestinal cleansing, involving mild and easily digestible food, such as boiled grains (rice, pasta without egg, etc.), boiled or steamed vegetables and legumes (for instance beans or lentils). This protects the digestive system and gives the body time to stabilise the effect of the intestinal cleansing.

What does one avoid eating?
During the first ten days, the following things are to be refrained from: Coffee, tea, sugar, honey, chocolate, all varieties of sweets, tobacco and also medicine that is not absolutely necessary. Vegetables such as onions and leeks, raw vegetables and also spices are to be avoided, as well as all forms of fruit and dairy products.

Meat, fish, eggs and alcohol are not consumed for forty days.

Choice of content and preparation of the diet.
If you are in doubt as to what you can eat during the diet period, then do a little experiment and ask yourself whether you would give it to a baby. If you wouldn’t, then don’t eat it until after the diet.

A diet of boiled vegetables and grains may sound a little bit boring to some, but you can make interesting food by just using your imagination. Already after a couple of days, you can begin to season the food with a tiny bit of herbs, but not strong spices, such as chillies, curry, ginger and the like. Herbal seasoning can be enjoyed in limited quantities, as your taste buds have been awakened from a slumber.

Even though organic vegetables may be a little more expensive than others, the investment is worthwhile.

Intestinal cleansing at our place
At our city schools and weekend retreats, we end the intestinal cleansing by going through the diet. On the longer retreats at Haa Retreat Center, it is easy as the food is served for you.

The body has regained its original sensitivity
When you expand your menu after the diet period, bear in mind the body’s increased sensitivity, which perhaps means that you don’t need to eat the same as before. Be attentive to the body’s signals. After the intestinal cleansing, it is easier than at other times to change one’s eating habits. It can also be a good time to stop smoking, as many lose the desire for the smoke following the process.

The Small Intestinal Cleansing

There is also a shorter version called Laghoo Shankaprakshalana. It is used by people undergoing special treatment, for example diabetics. They do it every day for forty days following the larger Intestinal Cleansing.

It is simpler because there is no diet to observe afterwards, and only six to eight glasses of saltwater are drunk. The same exercises are done after every second glass.

The little intestinal cleansing is done in the morning on an empty stomach. In contrast to the full intestinal cleansing, which is normally done only once or twice a year, the small one can be done as often as necessary.

In Hospitals in the East and West

Statistics – May 2009

Since the foundation of the Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School in 1970 in Copenhagen, roughly 21.000 people have done Shankaprakshalana with us — in our different city schools, in retreats we have held abroad, and at Haa International Retreat Center. Some people have done it more than once.

We began using the gallstone cure mentioned below in the late 1980s, but we have no figure on how many have done it.

“Yoga hospitals” can be found in many places in India, where people with various psychosomatic illnesses, such as asthma and even diabetes, are treated. Common to them all is that medicine is not used in the treatment; it consists entirely of yoga techniques.

The Yogic Treatment-cum-Research Center in Jaipur, Rajasthan in India was founded by Swami Anandananda, where he collaborated with a team of doctors. A group of yoga teachers from the Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School visited Swami Anandananda in 1973.

The treatment at the institution in Jaipur consisted of intestinal cleansing, followed up by various yoga programmes and supplemented with the small intestinal cleansing, which was done as often as necessary with regard to the patients needs. With these simple forms of treatment, diabetes (especially type II diabetes) and asthma patients experienced a noticeable improvement, if not full recovery.

A special surgeon at the University Clinic in Cologne, Germany, heard about the intestinal cleansing from a colleague who had tried it on one of our courses. He became so interested in trying the technique on his patients prior to their operations, that he invited one of our yoga teachers to Cologne. Normally, the doctors would use a method where the patient would sit on a special chair with a hole in the seat, and put a stomach pump in them. In this way, the intestines were rinsed with a saline solution. It is a harsh treatment to say the least. The first one to do the intestinal cleansing was a 75 year old woman. The doctor was very surprised to find how easy, with the help of the exercises, the water passed through her system. He was even more surprised the following day during the operation, when he discovered that her entire alimentary canal was completely clean – no particles could be found even in the folds of the intestines.

Intestinal Cleansing and Gallstone Cure
– a personal experience of an effective method – by Laxmi

When I had gallstone pains, I went to the hospital to confirm that it was gallstones. I got an appointment for ultra-sound scanning, and later I should arrange a date for an operation. I said that I would only be operated on if it was absolutely necessary, and that I would first try an old-fashioned oil therapy to get the stones out.

When I came home to the yoga school I did the intestinal cleansing. It took a little longer than usual, as I couldn’t do the exercises thoroughly due to the pain, which felt as if there was a knife just below the ribcage on the right side. After the intestinal cleansing, I rested for an hour as usual, and then – instead of the food – I drank a litre of olive oil. I managed to drink the oil by thinking about the operation I was avoiding and the two week stay in the hospital afterwards. Since then, I have heard that it is sufficient with two decilitres of oil.

The next couple of hours I needed to rest again, so that the oil could work in peace. I lay on my right side and waited for the gallstones to come out. I went to the toilet a few times, but only oil and slime came out. At one point I gave up waiting, and ate the food and took it easy for the rest of the day.

The next morning, when I went to the toilet, a large green gallstone and thirty smaller ones came out, and the pain was gone!

What a relief! Gallstones emitted by a participant on a 14 days retreat at Haa Retreat Center, after a session of intestinal cleansing and oil treatment.
________

The time had come for a close examination before the operation. I took the small grass-green stones in a glass to the hospital and told them what I had done and that there was no longer any pain. The scan showed that there were no more stones left. The doctor’s conclusion was, “you can’t just go home and remove the gallstones yourself, so there has probably been a misdiagnosis from the start.” The slightly elder doctor, who performed the ultra-sound examination said to me in all confidence that research was being carried out on the effect of fatty acids on gallstones.

This all happened thirteen years ago, and I haven’t had any more stones since. I have done the treatment quite a few times just to be on the safe side, but only green liquid from the gallbladder comes out. Naturally, I do yoga exercises that keep the gallbladder and the other digestive organs in form. Other teachers and students who have tried the treatment at our Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School have had equally good results from it.

A similar oil therapy is used by some health farms and natural doctors. My late grandmother removed her gallstones by drinking double cream and melted butter.

Note! This yogic gallstone therapy should only be done under expert guidance of an experienced yoga teacher.

6 Easy Colon Cleansing Exercises And Yoga

nimaganeshFollow Mar 16, 2016 · 2 min read

Regular exercise will help you to improve your entire body functions. Now we can check out what are the best exercises for colon cleansing.

  1. Walking

The walking exercise that will increase the blood flow and help your digestive system to work properly. And some studies found that one or two-hour walking can reduce 31% chance of colon cancer development.

2. Crunches

Most of the people are doing crunches for reducing their belly fat; it can also help to promote the digestive functions and colon health.

3. Rope Jumping Exercise

The best body workout exercise, it will help to clean the organs predominantly the digestive tract.

4. Crow Yoga Pose

The crow yoga poses will help your abdominal muscles strengthen and proper digestion.

5. Cobra Yoga Pose

Yoga poses to improve the digestion process; it will help to cleanse your colon and the abdominal muscles stretching.

6. The Tree In The Wind Exercise

watch this video:

One of the best exercises for blood circulation and it will help you for healthy digestion.

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Yoga isn’t just about poses and strength. At the crux of it, yoga is about maintaining a healthy balance in our bodies and souls. In addition to a good yoga regiment, we need to maintain a healthy diet to make sure we are fulfilling our bodies’ needs.

Think of how much you eat and poop per day. Depending on your diet, your body can’t always expel all the waste you create in a day. All these digestive wastes that are left to linger in your intestinal system will turn toxic. These wastes can also turn into rotting matter, which will cause a myriad of issues such as decreased metabolism, halitosis, constipation and much more.

Your body is essentially a vessel. What you put inside it is what’s going to power you through your daily life. When there’s so much waste bogging down your daily functioning, you can hardly reap the full benefits of yoga.

That’s why it’s common for yogis to use cleansing methods like juice cleanses, smoothies, fasting, and plant-based diets in tandem with yoga. Doing yoga is a great way to offset the negative effects of intestinal waste, but you need to go a step further and cleanse if you want to enhance your yogic effects.

What is a Colon Cleanse?

A common misconception many people have about colon cleanses is that it can be used to replace your body’s automatic response to waste. You’re constipating? Colon cleanse! Maybe your brain’s feeling a bit foggy? Colon cleanse it is!

Your body already has a great system in place, but sometimes it needs a little extra lovin’ in the form of a reset button. A colon cleanse is a way to do that – give your body a chance to reset by helping you flush out toxins and rotting matter in your intestinal system. Pair that up with a stellar yoga practice and you’d be able to feel tip-top in no time.

How Do I Do A Colon Cleanse?

Some ancient yoga gurus advocate for intestinal cleansing methods like colon irrigation, enemas, raw food, and purging. Although these are fine methods for their time, we’ve since come a long way since intentionally making ourselves purge from raw food.

Other methods like enemas or colon irrigation might turn you off colon cleansing because it sounds so extreme. I don’t know about you, but putting warm water up my bum for cleansing doesn’t make me want to do it, no matter what the health benefits are. Good thing is, there are so many other alternatives that can be used to supplement yoga AND cleanse at the same time. One interesting method is a tea cleanse.

#1 Intestinal Cleansing Yoga

Hatha yoga is a popular branch of yoga that has been refined over a couple of thousand years. It includes a physical cleansing process, which removes toxins, eliminates waste in your system, and dissolves the tension in your body. In addition to cleansing, you can also relieve several ailments you’ve been facing like, stomach problems, back problems, and migraines.

Besides that, you can experience a full cleansing process called Shankarprakshalana in a Hatha yoga retreat. Under the guidance of a guru, you will undergo a complete cleansing from your nose to your anus. It involves certain twisting exercises like Trikonasana, Triyak Bujangasana after each glass of water to promote healthy bowel movements. You must also have certain meals after the Shankarprakshalana to keep your body pure, cleansed, and detoxified.

#2 Colon Cleansing Products

Unfortunately, we don’t all have time to go to a Hatha retreat every time we need a colon cleanse. Fortunately, we don’t have to, nor do we have to resort to purging or enemas. Thanks to technological advancement, pharmacists and scientists managed to come up with a healthy range of trustworthy colon cleansing products and sell them readily in the market.

Good colon cleansing products never promise a quick fix as the waste accumulated in our system can take quite a while to get rid of. Typically, these products offer a 7 to 15-day program to gently but efficiently cleanse your intestines. Besides that, many of the ingredients in these supplements make sense. For example, look out for senna, probiotics, and flaxseed extracts since they have been proven to promote intestinal health.

There are a lot of counterfeit colon cleansing products that will promise you the world for a quick buck, so you’ve got to keep your eyes wide open and research. Be sure to only pick products that contain natural ingredients. You should also only buy products that are FDA-approved for good measure.

Have you ever done a colon cleanse? How did it affect your yoga practice?

5 Detox Yoga Poses

The new year: it’s the perfect time to become your healthiest and whole self. You cannot extend to others what you, yourself do not contain. Become your happiest, healthiest, self this year and extend that health and joy to those around you. Don’t only focus on detoxing your physical body, but detox your relationships as well. As we cleanse our physical bodies, it is just as important to surround ourselves with healthy people.

What about your mental clarity? Your spiritual being? Are all these areas cleansed? What steps do you need to take to detox your entire life? Below are five detox yoga poses that can help you detoxify your physical body. We will focus on revolved and inverted yoga asanas as each of these asana families will detoxify your entire system. We will explore three revolved postures and two inversions.

Twists and Revolved Poses

A twist will not only leave you feeling energized and focused, but will also give you mental clarity, relieve stress and deep tension and will detoxify your entire system by primarily massaging your internal organs. I like to tell students to think of a dirty washrag being wrung out; This is what we are doing to our systems as we practice revolved postures.

These can be incorporated into almost every yoga posture, whether we’re seated, standing, balancing, prone or in a supine (on your back) position. Revolved postures can be challenging. You will need patience in your journey with twists, as they can be challenging and uncomfortable in the beginning. The more you practice these demanding poses, the better you will become, so embrace where you are and enjoy the journey.

Yoga twists increase the flexibility of your entire abdominal wall including obliques and most back muscles. Inactivity can reduce the range of movement available to all your joints. Twists can assist in mobilizing the joints of your spine by rotating each vertebrae gently. Any revolved pose will squeeze the internal organs and encourage the flow of oxygenated blood while eliminating toxins and metabolic waste products. The liver, kidneys, stomach, pancreas and spleen all benefit from the twisting poses of yoga. Twisting poses can also help reduce abdominal bloating and digestive discomfort.

Revolved Triangle Pose or Parivrtta Trikonasana

Benefits:

  • Strengthens and stretches the legs( especially the thighs), knees, ankles and arches
  • Stretches and opens the chest, lungs, shoulders, groins and spine
  • Increases lung capacity
  • Stimulates abdominal organs aiding in digestion and circulation
  • Improves alignment of the spine; improving posture and increasing flexibility and mobility of the spine
  • Improves balance
  • Can be therapeutic for backache, arthritis, infertility, constipation, asthma and sciatica
  • Increases stamina and energizes
  • Improves concentration, focus, will power and mental clarity
  • Relieves, stress, anxiety and depression

Cautions:

If you have a major spinal injury you should avoid this posture. Use caution if you have a headache, high or low blood pressure, an ankle or knee injury, insomnia, or a shoulder injury. If you have a neck injury, keep your gaze either facing forward or towards the ground.

Revolved Chair or Parivrtta Utkatasana

Benefits:

  • Rejuvenates the blood system throughout the entire body
  • Stimulates and massages the abdominal organs (including ovaries, prostate gland, bladder and kidneys). This improves and relieves digestion issues and tones the abdominal wall
  • Strengthens the obliques and transverse abdominal, as well as opens the arm pits and strengthens inner and outer intercostal muscles
  • Strengthens and stretches the back muscles, aligns and awakens the spine and improves posture
  • Stretches and strengthens the calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, hips, shoulders, chest, feet, ankles, knees and spine; relieves tension in the back, neck and shoulders
  • Increases flexibility, lubricates ankle and knee joints and awakens the legs
  • Stimulates the heart, improves circulation, respiratory and lymphatic systems
  • Therapeutic for mild sciatica, backache, arthritis, osteoporosis, flatulence, menopause, menstrual discomfort and can improve infertility issues
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Stimulates and energizes the nervous system
  • Improves concentration, stamina, mental focus and relieves mild depression
  • Relieves mental and physical lethargy and exhaustion
  • Calming, centering and balancing; it brings a state of tranquility as well as can be invigorating

Cautions:

Use caution if you have high or low blood pressure; a headache or migraine; low back or shoulder injury; insomnia; a hip, knee or ankle injury, severe asthma, sciatica, degenerated or herniated disk(s); or are pregnant

Half Twist Pose or Ardha Matsyendrasana

Benefits:

  • Stimulates and massages the abdominal organs (ovaries, prostate gland, bladder and kidneys), improving and relieving digestion issues, as well as toning the abdominal wall
  • Strengthens the obliques and transverse abdominal
  • Strengthens inner and outer thighs
  • Strengthens and stretches the back muscles, aligns and awakens the spine, improves posture
  • Stretches the hips, shoulders, chest and spine, relieving tension in the back, neck and shoulders
  • Increases flexibility and lubricates ankle and knee joints, awakening the legs
  • Stimulates heart and improves circulation
  • Therapeutic for mild sciatica, backache, arthritis, osteoporosis, flatulence, menopause, menstrual discomfort and can improve infertility issues
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Stimulates and energizes the nervous system
  • Improves concentration, mental focus and relieves mild depression
  • Relieves mental and physical lethargy and exhaustion
  • Calming, centering and balancing. Brings a state of tranquility and can be invigorating

Cautions:

Use caution if you have a low back or shoulder injury; hip, knee or ankle injury; severe sciatica, degenerated or herniated disk; a headache or migraine; or are pregnant.

Inverted Yoga Postures

Inversions are postures that typically have the heart and often the feet, higher than the head. Most inversions stimulate your pituitary gland, promoting a positive state of well-being and rejuvenation. Inversions also benefit the cardiovascular, lymphatic, endocrine and nervous systems while stimulating the lymphatic system which strengthens the immune system and also improves digestion.

Cardiovascular benefits of inversion postures provide more efficient circulation caused by a fresh delivery of blood to the heart. Being inverted also increases blood flow to your head, relieving the heart of some of its duties and can lower blood pressure and heart rate. Your endocrine system is responsible for hormone delivery. Inversions, especially shoulder stands, are recommended for perimenopausal and menopausal women due to the belief that the postures will stimulate the thyroid and parathyroid glands, regulating your metabolism. The benefits to the nervous system during inverted postures include the stimulation of cerebrospinal fluid or CSF, which is the fluid of the central nervous system that flows from the brain to the spinal cord.

Plow Pose or Halasana

Benefits:

  • Stimulates abdominal organs, ovaries, prostate gland, bladder and kidneys. This improves and relieves digestion issue and tones the abdominal wall
  • Stimulates the thyroid and parathyroid glands which increases metabolism and stimulates the nervous, digestion and respiratory systems
  • Strengthens and stretches the back muscles, aligning spine and improving posture
  • Opens the shoulders and chest and relieves tension in the back, neck and shoulders
  • Awakens the legs
  • Stimulates the heart and improves circulation
  • Therapeutic for headaches, migraines, backache, menopause discomfort, infertility, insomnia and sinusitis
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Improves concentration, mental focus and relieves mild depression
  • Relieves mental and physical lethargy and exhaustion
  • Calming and centering, it brings a state of tranquility and over all well-being
  • Invigorating and rejuvenating

Cautions:

If you have asthma or high/low blood pressure, practice with feet on raised props. Use caution if you have severe sciatica or a herniated disk; if you have a back, neck or shoulder injury, if you’re menstruating, if you have glaucoma.

If you’re pregnant but experienced in this posture, you may continue to practice until the third trimester. If you’re inexperienced with plow after becoming pregnant, you should avoid this posture

Tripod Headstand Pose orSalamba Sirsasana

Benefits:

  • Stimulates abdominal organs, ovaries, prostate gland, bladder and kidneys. This improves and relieves digestive issues and tones the abdominal wall
  • Strengthens the entire musculoskeletal system
  • Stimulates the thyroid and parathyroid glands which increases metabolism and stimulates the nervous, digestion and respiratory systems
  • Strengthens and stretches the back muscles by aligning the spine and improving posture
  • Opens the shoulders and chest and relieves tension in the back, neck and shoulders
  • Awakens, stretches and strengthens the entire body and spine
  • Stimulates heart and improves circulation
  • Therapeutic for headaches, migraines, backache, menopause, menstrual discomfort, infertility, insomnia and sinusitis
  • Reduces varicose veins
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Improves balance and concentration, mental focus and relieves mild depression
  • Relieves mental and physical lethargy and exhaustion
  • Calming and centering, it brings a state of tranquility and over all well-being
  • Invigorating and rejuvenating

Cautions:

Use caution if you have high or low blood pressure; a headache or migraine; a back, neck or shoulder injury, severe sciatica or a herniated disk; and if you’re menstruating; pregnant; have diarrhea; have glaucoma.

7 Yoga Poses to Help Your Body Detox

There has not been a single time in my life where I left a yoga class feeling worse than when I went in. In fact, it’s pretty hard to walk out of an hour-long or 90 minute practice and not permeate the Earth’s atmosphere with a warm, fuzzy, loved-up yoga buzz. And when you ask the majority of people who do yoga why they do it, you will hear a lot of, “because it feels so damn good.”

It wasn’t until my first teacher training that I started looking deeper into the physiological aspects of the postures, and what the benefits are of having different classes of asana with different positive effects on the physical body.

In order to build a sequence for detoxing, it’s important to look at the systems of the body that we can help detoxify, and which classes of asana target those systems. Then, all we have to do is pick a few poses from each asana group, and before you know it, you’ve got a meaningful and powerful practice to boost your body’s already boomin’ detoxing processes.

So without further ado, here is a quick sequence of 7 yoga poses to help your body detox.

1. Seated Twist

Credit: Jessica Rose

It’s common to equate twisting postures with detoxing, and although it’s probably impossible to actually twist so much that toxins want to jump right out of your liver, any sort of compression and gentle movement in the torso definitely helps to get things moving downward and outward in the digestive system.

And considering how major the role of — to put it nicely — elimination is in releasing toxins from the body, the more we help our digestive system move waste and toxins through the intestines, the better our powers of detoxing.

Sit firmly on both sitz-bones with your tush behind you (rather than completely underneath you) to ensure a long spine. With the feet together, lengthen up through the crown of your head as you reach your heart forward. Take your right hand to the mat behind you, either on fingertips or with a flat palm, and hug your knees or hook your elbow to the outside of your right knee, as you twist your chest open to the right.

Make sure both sitz-bones stay grounded to ensure the twist happens in the upper part of the torso and not the sacrum. Hold for at least 5 breaths, lengthening up as you inhale, and deepening the twist on the exhale.

After 5 breaths, switch sides.

2. Chair Pose Twist

Credit: Jessica Rose

For this mega twist, first start in Chair Pose, making sure your big toes are together and you can see your toes in front of your knees. Take your hands to Anjali (namaste) mudra at your heart center, and hook your left elbow to the outside of the right thigh as you twist open to the right.

Keep your knees in line, and press strongly into your palms to deepen the twist, unfurling your chest up and open to meet your thumbs as you roll your right shoulder away from the right ear.

After 5 breaths, come back to center. Switch sides.

3. Forward Fold with Belly Massage

Credit: Jessica Rose

Have you ever seen a mama cat licking her baby’s tummy to help it digest? Well, instead of asking our partners or friends to lick our bellies to get our digestive fires burning, let’s just help ourselves, shall we?

Compression and pressure on the abdomen is what we are going for in Forward Folds, and adding a mini-massage with our fists is a great way to help get things moving.

Stand with your feet hip distance apart and take your fists to your hip creases. Keep the spine long and strong as you fold forward over bent or straight legs, letting the back body completely release and the head and neck hang heavy without effort.

If you don’t feel pressure from your fists in your belly, bend your legs enough so that your belly rests on your thighs, with the fists gently compressing the lower abdomen. Then make small circles with the fists to gently get movement in the intestines to help your body release waste and toxins from the digestive tract.

Stay here for 5 or more breaths before coming back up to Tadasana, Mountain Pose.

4. Sphinx with a Rolled-Up Blanket

Credit: Jessica Rose

This pose, along with other belly-down heart-openers, is great at compressing the intestines and is one of my favorite poses when I’m feeling bloated and sluggish.

Take a blanket or towel and make a tight roll with it so that it’s at least the width of your body or longer. Then place it around the middle of your mat so that when you come onto your belly for Sphinx Pose, the blanket will be right underneath your belly button.

Take your forearms out in front of you, with your shoulders directly over your elbows and your palms on the floor. Press your toenails into the mat as you send your heart forward, making length in the spine. Close your eyes and take at least 5 deep breaths, letting the blanket work a mini-miracle on your digestive system as you send your breath down into your belly.

After a few breaths, move the blanket roll down a few inches towards your pubic bone and repeat.

5. Three-Legged Down Dog

Credit: Jessica Rose

Inversions are highly beneficial to our bodies in so many different ways, but are sometimes hard to access if we are new to the practice. Three-Legged Downward Facing Dog is a great pose to get your blood circulating and decrease stagnation, sending fresh blood and lymphatic fluid throughout your entire body.

Start in Downward Dog, with a solid foundation of hands shoulder-distance apart with fingers spread wide, and feet hip-distance apart. On an inhale, press strongly into your hands as you float your right heel back and up behind you.

Keep your shoulders squared to the front of the mat and press into your hands to lengthen your entire body, from your fingers out through both of your heels.

Stay here for 5 breaths before switching sides.

6. Wide-Leg Forward Fold

Credit: Jessica Rose

Another great inversion for beginner to advanced yogis that doubles as a Forward Fold.

Step your feet about one leg-length apart and make sure the outer edges of your feet are parallel to the edge of the mat. Put your hands on your hips and as you inhale, and reach skywards with the crown of your head. On the exhale, keep the back long and strong as you fold forward, either keep the hands on the hips, place them under your shoulders on the mat, or on blocks.

Stay here, or begin to walk the hands back so that the fingertips line up with the toes and bend your elbows, stacking them over your wrists. Relax and release the entire back body while keeping the kneecaps lifting to stabilize your foundation.

Stay for 5 breaths, then take your hands back to your hips to come up out of the pose with a long spine.

7. Legs Up the Wall

Credit: Jessica Rose

This luxurious restorative pose can be used as both an inversion and a time to slow your breath and calm the mind. Learning to breathe deep and increase lung capacity is important not only in maximizing oxygen intake to every cell and tissue of the body, but it also affects our stress levels in a very positive way. And when our stress levels go down, all systems of the body — physical, emotional, and energetic — are better equipped to work in perfect harmony to create the best version of yourself possible.

A bolster, pillow, or blanket under your sacrum in this pose will increase the inversion and allow you to fully relax in the pose.

Put one edge of your folded-up blanket right up against an empty wall-space. Sit sideways along the wall so that your right shoulder and right leg are touching the wall. As if you want to sit on the wall, put the right side of your bottom up on the wall as much as you can so that the sitz-bones are in contact with the wall. Keep this contact as you swing your legs up the wall and recline into a comfy position.

You can take your legs out wide, or keep your feet relaxed and pointed straight up towards the clouds, your choice.

Close your eyes and take one hand to your belly and one to your heart and bring your awareness to your breath. Follow your breath for a few rounds before starting to deepen it, by using a counted inhale and exhale technique. Take a deep inhale through your nose into the bottom of your lungs for 5 counts. Hold the breath in your throat for 5 counts, then slowly exhale it out the nose for 5 counts.

Repeat this breathing exercise for as long as you have time, allowing your body to be effortless and your mind to calm.

Try out this sequence for yourself, and let us know how it goes in the comments below!

Yoga poses for detoxification

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