The holidays can often be a time of extravagant indulgences that you wouldn’t normally allow. But with family traditions, work parties and treats everywhere, the best of healthy intentions can easily go awry.
Not to worry, the opportunity to come clean and begin again is always an option. Our bodies are designed to naturally shed toxins, and these five detoxifying yoga poses will help get you through the holiday season feeling renewed.
Detoxifying Yoga Moves
The following five yoga poses can help stimulate the circulatory, digestive and lymphatic systems, not to mention detoxifying your mind and calming your spirit.
Wide-Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)
This pose puts your head below your heart, encouraging blood circulation throughout the body, and the folding motion squeezes the belly and aids with digestion.
Begin standing upright, feet parallel and hip width apart. Begin to fold torso and head forward, leading with the sternum and bending from the hips.
Press through the outer edges of the feet, placing weight in the balls of the feet and energetically pulling the inner thighs back. Release and relax through the head and neck. Hands may be placed palms down on the mat, fingers pointing forward in line with the toes, or bound behind the back.
Twisted Chair (Parivrtta Utkatasana)
This pose strengthens the quads and glutes and the deep twist is great for digestion. The gentle pressure of the twist on the kidneys, liver and spleen creates stimulation to help remove toxins.
Begin standing, with the big toes together and heels slightly apart. Sit back, bringing the hips back and down as if sitting in an invisible chair. Begin to twist the left shoulder down, right shoulder up towards the ceiling.
Stay long through the spine and extend the crown of the head. Left elbow (hands in prayer position) or shoulder (left hand on the floor, right hand to the ceiling) hooks the outer edge of the right knee. Use the leverage of the elbow or shoulder to press into the knee and deepen the twist. Keep the knees even. Hold for five breaths and switch sides.
Revolved Triangle (Parivrtta Trikonasana)
This pose opens the chest and lungs and the revolved motion stimulates the abdominal organs, increasing circulation for better digestion.
Begin standing with feet together. Take a long step back with the left foot, bringing the back foot flat, toes pointing forward. Feed should be aligned front heel to back arch- you may need to move the front foot an inch or so to the right. Begin leaning forward as you pull the hips back.
Place the left hand on the ground next to the inside or outside of the right (front) foot, as you twist and reach up with the right hand. If the hamstrings are tight, use a yoga block under the hand, placed next to the foot. Hold for five breaths and switch sides, left foot in front and right hand in the air.
This pose strengthens the back body and opens the heart. The abdominal pressure also encourages digestion.
Start by lying on your stomach, hands palms down at your sides. On an inhale, lift the chest and arms, rolling the heads of the shoulders back and pulling the fingertips towards the feet.
If there is no pressure on the lower back, begin to also lift the feet, soles up, toes pointing behind you. Hold for three to five breaths, and repeat three times with the goal of lifting higher each time.
Reclined Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)
This pose is relaxing and energizing and helps relieve stress and release tension while massaging your internal organs to encourage elimination of toxins.
Lie flat on the back, legs extended. Bend the right leg, bringing the knee towards the chest. Roll to the left, allowing the right knee to fall across the body. Gently pull the right knee with the left hand to increase the twist, while keeping the right shoulder blade on the floor.
This pose may be held for five to ten breaths before switching sides, or it may be held for three to five minutes per side if you are practicing a yin or restorative style of yoga.