The temperature has shifted and days are shorter. The Fall season is definitely here and if your feeling like your body could use some fine-tuning, you can do more than simply sip herbal tea.
We use the practice of detoxing and cleansing to help our body keep up with the heavy demands of our stressful lives and nutrient-poor modern. Detoxes, boxed cleanses, juicing, tinctures and potions you name it; most health conscious people have probably tried it in the quest of cleaning their body. We all know that clean eating, drinking enough water, proper supplementation and sleep is key to feeling healthy and living well but do you exercise?
One of the best ways to detox your system is to MOVE and STIMULATE your body and yoga is by far one of the best ways to do this.
How detox yoga facilitates cleansing
Most forms of vigorous exercise stimulate the major systems of detoxification to some extent, thereby helping the body in its quest to cleanse and detox. The beauty of yoga is that it leaves no part of your body untouched. Yoga, which focuses on full body movements that stretch and compress every part of the body, and draw the breath into every facet of your being, is incredibly effective at keeping the waste-removal departments of the body functioning well.
In a well-rounded yoga practice, every part of the body is pushed, pulled, twisted, turned and inverted. This facilitates the removal of waste products such as carbon dioxide, lactic acid and lymphatic fluid from the deep tissues and extremities of the body that a spin class or jog just can’t reach.
Yogic breathing, or pranayama, plays a huge role in detoxification, as your breath is truly the boss when it comes oxygenating your vital organs and tissues. Breath is crucial to help clear out carbon dioxide from the lung tissue, stimulates the organs of digestion and can, over time, retrain the diaphragm to move freely. When your diaphragm moves fluidly, the organs in and around your abdominal area are massaged and your lungs are fully emptied with each and every breath — not just the ones you take on the yoga mat.
An added BONUS not to be over-looked from adding yoga to your detox regime is the mental and emotional freedom and clarity you feel from getting your down dog on and shipping the mental garbage out. You can unroll your mat after the absolute worst day and minutes later feel like you have just had the best soul appointment ever.
Enjoy this Simple Detox Flow practice in the comfort of your own home; all you need is your mat some comfy clothes and an open-mind:
- Begin seated comfortably with one hand to your heart and one to your belly. Close your eyes and take 5 deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Pause. Now take 5 deep breaths in through your nose and out through your nose.
- Seated Twist: Inhale and lift arms up while rotating your palms up to the sky. As you exhale rotate your torso to one side. Be mindful that your hips don’t twist with you. You want the twist to come from across your belly and ribcage without the assistance of your hips or pelvis moving with you. Rest one hand on the floor in front of you and one hand behind you. Inhale, grow tall, exhale and stay. Inhale return to center and exhale to the other side. Repeat 2-3x on each side.
- Cat/Cow: Come forward to all fours. Inhale in table top position, exhale and round your back high into cat, inhale open your chest, heart and belly and stretch forward to look in front. Exhale return to cat, inhale to cow. Repeat 4-5 times.
- Sun Salutation A: Repeat 4-6 times total (would you like a “click here to view sun salutation” link?)
- Chair Pose: Standing tall with your feet hip-bone width apart, begin to lower your bum as though you are squatting. Choose hands to heart, straight out in front or raised slightly above head. Hold for 30-60 seconds.
- Prayer Twist: From chair pose or Utkatasana, bring your hands to heart center and exhale twist to one side. Bring the elbow to the outside of the thigh as you press the palms together to help you twist form the spine. Make sure that your knees are even and one is not forward of the other. This will indicate that you are collapsing on one hip and the twist is not coming from the spine. In addition your hips should be lower than shoulders. Hold for 5 full breaths before going to the other side. Finish by folding over legs in standing forward fold.
- Downward Dog: From forward fold step your feet back into downward facing dog and hold for 8-10 breath’s.
- Seated Forward Fold – From downward facing dog, step or hop your feet to your hands and sit. Take a breath and lay onto your back with knees bent and feet hip-bone width apart.
- Bridge: Inhale to stay, exhale press through your feet and engage the muscles of your glutes and thighs to lift your hips to bridge pose. Keep you arms down next to you with palms flat on your mat and shoulders down or interlace your finger beneath elevating your heart and chest area.
- Legs Up the wall: place your mat near the wall and soot your bum close towards it. Using a pillow, block or bolster beneath your hips, support the weight of your legs up against the wall. Rest your head neck and arms down; close your eyes and breath. Breathe fully, breathe slowly and breathe completely. Stay here for 3-10 minutes or as long as you like.
Once you have completed your flow, move slowly to get up, take a final breath of gratitude and say thank you to yourself for carving out some much needed soul time.
Jenn Pike RHN, Author of The Simplicity Project
Owner, Simplicity Yoga & Fitness Therapy Studio
Genuine Health Education Expert