With spring in the air, there’s no better time to detox our bodies and renew our commitment to the health benefits of yoga practice. Detoxifying yoga poses can clear your mind and bring forth a sense of renewal throughout your body.
The late B.K.S. Iyengar, one of the world’s foremost yoga teachers, founder of Iyengar Yoga and author of the classic Light on Yoga, theorized that twisting poses are detoxifying because of the squeeze and soak action. The organs of detoxification and elimination are compressed and blood flow is compromised during the twist. Once released, fresh blood flows back in.
Certainly yoga stimulates our organs and circulation, which in turn helps stimulate metabolism and increases our rate of excretion of waste and toxins. If you practice in a heated room, you are also sweating out excess salt and toxins from your body.
Additionally, taking the time for self-care through regularly practicing yoga helps to release emotional toxicity. Mindful movement and breath work help to reduce stress hormones and tension, improving sleep and digestion which lead to a calmer and more peaceful outlook in general.
5 Detoxifying Yoga Poses
This spring, why not give these five twisting poses a try to help you relax and detoxify?
Prasarita Padottanasana With Twist (Wide-Legged Forward Bend With Twist)
Step feet wide apart on your mat and turn your toes inward slightly to line up the outside edges of your feet with the edges of your mat. Place hands on hips, inhale to lengthen the front of the body, exhale to hinge from the hips and fold forward with a flat back. Release hands to the floor, relax head.
Hold for a few breaths and then reach for opposite leg with one hand while the other hand reaches up leading the upper body into a twist. Hips and lower-back remain neutral. If you have shoulder issues, keep your palm on your lower back or your hip as you twist. Hold for a few breaths and then twist to the other side.
Uttkatsana With Twist (Twisting Chair)
Step feet hip-width apart, or big toes together with heels slightly apart for a more challenging stance. Place hands in Anjali Mudra (prayer hands) at heart center (middle of chest). Inhale, then exhale and twist to the right.
Keep knees in line so the hips stay squared and the lower-back stays neutral. Chest may stay lifted or lower left elbow to the outside of the right leg. Hands in prayer, use the elbow to press against the leg as leverage to help with the rotation of your torso. Hold for a few breaths and then twist to the other side.
Lunge With Twist
Come into a low lunge (back knee down) or a runners lunge (back knee lifted) with the right leg forward, knee bent and in line with your front ankle. Keep the knee down or lift back knee, energizing the thigh and draw back through the heel.
Place your hands at the top of your mat on either side of the right foot underneath your shoulders. Leaving the left hand under your left shoulder, place the right hand on your lower back to encourage the hips and lower-back to stay neutral.
Inhale to create length in the spine, exhale to rotate through the mid-back and upper-back. If your shoulder allows it, extend your right arm to the sky. Hold for a breaths and repeat on the other side.
Marichyasana 3 (Seated Twist)
From a seated position with your legs extended, bend your right knee drawing the foot to the outside of the left thigh. Hug the right knee towards your chest with your left arm.
Lift your right arm, rotate the shoulder and reach your fingers to your mat behind your back. To deepen the twist, press your left elbow to the outside of the right thigh. Inhale to lengthen the spine, exhale to rotate. Hold for a few breaths and repeat to the other side.
Gupta Matsyendrasana (Reclining Twist)
From a reclined position, draw your knees towards your chest. Keep legs together or cross your right leg over top of the left with the inner thighs squeezing. Spread arms out at shoulder height with palms touching the floor. Let the legs fall gently to the left, gaze to the right.
Rotation happens in the lower-back and mid-back as you keep the shoulders and upper back grounded. It may be helpful to reach the right hand down and pull the knee towards the floor to deepen the twist. Hold for a few breaths and repeat on the other side.