Have you overdone it with treats this summer? Dina Ramon, a yoga instructor based in Arlington, VA, recommends multiple twisting poses to clear out toxins in the body to help you feel refreshed and invigorated. Here’s how to cleanse your body with yoga:
How Does Yoga Help You Detox?
Toxins, such as preservatives, pesticides and heavy metals, can build up in your body over time. According to Ramon, twisting yoga poses put gentle pressure on your internal organs, such as your kidneys, liver, and spleen, to push out toxins which can then be eliminated from the body through urine and waste, sort of like wringing out a rag by twisting it with your hands. Due to the increased stimulation of these internal organs, twisting poses also speed up digestion and help your body do what it needs to do to rid yourself of what it doesn’t need.
Though the medical community is still debating detox, Shirley Archer, a spokeswoman for the American Council on Exercise (ACE), states that twisting does present health beneftis. Twisting poses improve circulation by squeezing the organs and pushing out blood so fresh blood can flow in, and deep yogic breathing can also help rid the lungs of carbon dioxide, making more room for more oxygenated air. “It is also a method of cleansing because better circulation equals better health,” she says. Read on for three twisting poses that will detoxify your body.
Lie on your back and spread your arms out to the sides with your palms facing down. Bring your knees up to your chest. Exhale and drop both knees over to the right side of your body. Look toward the finger tips on your left hand. You’ll feel a twist in your spine and lower back. Hold this for about a minute and repeat on the left side. According to Ramon, the objective in the Belly Twist pose is to roll your bent knees together over to one side, while keeping the upper body and shoulders flat on the mat.
Matsyendrasana (a.k.a. Half Lord of the Fishes) is a seated twist pose. Sit down and bend your knees with your soles of your feet on the floor. Place your right foot under your left leg toward the outside of your left hip, and cross your left foot over your right leg, dropping it back to the floor outside your right hip. Place your right arm on the outside of your right thigh near the knee and turn your head to the left. With each breath, twist a little deeper into the pose to feel a stretch in your outer hips and thighs, as well as along your spine as it loosens and cleanses your midsection. Hold for about a minute and repeat on the other side.
Lastly, try a standing twist pose such as side-angle prayer. Start in Warrior I and place your hands in prayer position over your heart. Put your left elbow over your right thigh so your left tricep rests on your right quad. Push your tricep to lift your chest up and look over your right shoulder. Hold for about thirty seconds and repeat on the left side. This twist targets your spine, lower back, and core—all while giving your glutes and quads an amazing workout.
Now that you know how to cleanse your body, you can start incorporating these poses into your practice. Detoxifying is just one of the many benefits of yoga. Namaste!
How do you detoxify your body? Let us know in the comments.