7 Yoga Poses to Detox Your Body

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.”

After my first teacher’s training, I began to study the physiological effects of different asana classes and their positive impact on the body.

To build a detox sequence, we need to consider the different systems in the body and the classes of asana that target them. We can then choose a few poses to practice from each group of asanas.

Here is a short sequence of seven yoga poses that will help you detox your body.

Seated Twist

Although it is common to associate twisting with detoxing, it’s not possible to twist your body so much that the toxins will jump out of your liver. However, gentle compressions and movements in the torso can help to move things downwards and outwards in the digestive tract.

The more we can help our digestive system move wastes and toxins along the intestines, the better we will be at detoxing.

To ensure a long back, sit firmly on your sitz bones with your tush in front of you. As you extend your heart, keep your feet together and lengthen your spine through your crown. You can either place your hand on your fingertips or your palm flat behind you. Hug your knees, or hook your right elbow around the outside of your knee as you open your chest to the right.

Be sure to keep both sitz bones grounded so that the twist occurs in the upper part and not on the sacrum. Hold the position for five breaths. As you inhale, increase the length of the spine, and as you exhale, deepen the twist.

Chair Pose Twist

Start in Chair Pose. Make sure that your big toes and your toes can be seen in front of your legs. As you open your right arm, hook your left elbow on the outside of your right thigh.

You can also use your hands to further the twist. Unfurl your chest and meet your thumbs by rolling your right shoulder towards the right ear.

Come back to the center after five breaths. Switch sides.

Forward Fold with Belly Massage

Have you ever watched a mother cat lick her baby’s stomach to aid digestion? Let’s not ask our friends or partners to lick us to help our digestion; instead, we can do it ourselves.

Forward Folds are designed to compress and press the abdominal area. A mini-massage using our fists can help things move.

Standing with your feet hip-distance apart, bring your fists up to the hip creases. As you bend forward or straighten your legs, keep the spine strong and long. Let the body fall naturally, and let the neck and head hang freely.

You can gently squeeze your lower abdomen with your fists if you do not feel any pressure. Make small fist circles to encourage movement in your intestines. This will help you release toxins and waste from your digestive tract.

Continue to hold this pose for at least five breaths before returning to the Tadasana Mountain Pose.

Sphinx holding a blanket rolled up

It’s one of my favorites when I feel bloated or sluggish.

Roll a blanket, towel, or sheet tightly so it is at least as wide as your body. Please place it in the middle of the mat so that the blanket is right under your belly button when you do Sphinx Pose.

Put your hands on the floor and extend your forearms in front of your body. Your shoulders should be directly above your elbows. As you extend your spine, press your toes into the mat. Close your eyes, and breathe deeply for at least five breaths. The blanket will work wonders on your digestive system.

Three-Legged Dog

Inversions can be beneficial for our bodies in many ways. However, they are difficult to do if you are new to this practice. The Three-Legged, Downward Facing dog is an excellent pose for getting your blood flowing and decreasing stagnation. It will send fresh blood and lymphatic liquid throughout your body.

Begin in Downward Dog with your hands shoulder-distance with fingers spread out and your feet hip-distance. As you inhale, push your hands firmly into your palms as you lift your right heel up and back behind you.

Press your fingertips out to both your heels and keep your shoulders squared up to the mat.

Keep your breath here for five minutes before changing sides.

Wide-Leg Forward Fold

This inversion is great for beginners to advanced yogis and can also be used as a forward fold.

As you inhale, place your hands on your hips and reach up with the crown of your head. As you inhale, reach up with your crown of the head. As you fold forward on your exhale, maintain a long, strong back. You can either place the hands under your shoulders or on blocks.

Continue to hold this position, or walk your hands back until your fingertips are aligned with your toes. Bend your elbows and stack them over your wrists. Relax your entire back while lifting the kneecaps to stabilize the foundation.

After five breaths, bring your hands to your hips and come out of the pose.

Legs up the Wall

This luxurious pose is a great way to calm your mind and slow down your breathing. It is very important to learn to breathe deeply and to increase lung capacity. This will not only maximize oxygen intake for every cell and tissue in the body but also reduce stress. When our stress levels decrease, all of our body’s systems — physical, emotional, and energetic — will be better equipped to work together to help you become the best version of yourself.

This pose can be enhanced by placing a bolster, blanket, or pillow under the sacrum.

Place the folded edge of your blanket against an empty wall space. Sit with your back to the wall so that both your right shoulder (shoulder) and right leg (right leg) are in contact with the wall. Put your right bottom as high as possible on the wall so that you are seated on it. Continue to maintain this contact while you swing your leg up the wall and recline in a comfortable position.

Your choice. You can either spread your legs wide or point your feet straight up to the clouds.

Close your eyes, place one hand on your stomach and the other on your heart. Bring your attention to your breath. You can deepen your breathing by counting inhalations and exhalations. Inhale deeply through your nose and into your lungs. Do this for five counts. Hold your breath in the throat for five counts and then slowly exhale out the nose for five counts.

Repeat this breathing technique for as long as you can. Allow your body to relax and your mind calm.

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