We've all been there...maybe you partied a bit too hard Saturday night or maybe you vegged out on pizza and soda a bit too many times last week. Whatever the reason may be for needing a detox, yoga can be your saving grace. There are so many wonderfully detoxifying postures in the yoga practice to release stress, wring out toxins from the body and unwind you from any type of overload on your poor, tired body. So the next time that you desperately need a big pick-me-up or an extreme detoxification quick, turn to yoga to rejuvenate your worn out body.
10 Marichysasana C (Pose Dedicated to the Sage Marichi)
Twists are an excellent way to purify and detoxify the body. Twists literally wring out the internal organs as you create a squeezing sensation when you rotate from deep within the belly. This squeezing stimulates your organs to work harder and release toxins from your body quicker. For this simple twist, begin seated on the floor with both legs extended forward in front of you. Bend into your right knee and place your foot flat against the floor about one fist distance away from your left knee. Draw the heel of your foot as close toward your seat as possible. From here, inhale to lengthen your spine toward the ceiling and reach your left arm up toward the sky. As you exhale, gently begin to rotate from inside your belly to turn over your right shoulder (toward the bent knee). You can either hug the knee in toward your chest or wrap your left arm around the right knee so that your elbow reaches to the outer edge of your right knee. Wherever you are, keep length through your spine. With each inhale, try to expand your spine toward the ceiling. With each exhale, rotate a little bit deeper twisting from your core. Hold for a few deep breaths and then repeat on the opposite side.
9 Ardha Matseyandrasana (Half Lord of the Fish)
Another simple but powerfully effective twist, this posture is gentle but strong. Start seated on the floor with both legs extended forward in front of you. Bend into your right knee and place your foot flat against the floor crossed over your left knee. You can either stay here or bend into your left knee as well and draw the heel of your foot toward your right hip. Inhale to lengthen your spine up and reach your left arm toward the ceiling. Exhale to twist from inside your core toward the right to again either hug the right knee toward your chest or cross your left arm over the right knee. Lengthen your spine with each inhale. Rotate deeper with each exhale. Practice equally on both sides of the body.
8 Parivrtta Utkatasana (Twisted Chair)
Another powerful twist, this posture is also fire-building throughout the whole body to make you sweat and release even more toxins. Begin standing with your feet touching. Press the floor away with your feet and extend the crown of your head toward the ceiling to elongate your whole body. Draw the pit of your belly in toward your spine and then bend deeply into your knees allowing your fingertips to graze against the floor. Maintain the deep bend of your knees and draw your palms to meet at your heart in a prayer position. Inhale lengthen your back and exhale rotate from your belly button to twist your torso toward the right side of your mat. Keep your feet, knees, and hips pointed straight forward. You can stay as you are or hook your left elbow over the right thigh to move deeper into this rotation. Hold and breath deeply before switching sides.
7 Parivrtta Anjaneyasana (Revolved Lunge)
Another fire-building, detoxifying twist, revolved lunge works deeply into the legs and core. Begin standing at the top of your mat. Take a huge step back with your right foot so you come into a wide runner’s lunge. Kick your right heel firmly toward the back of your mat and bend deeply into your front knee, trying your best to align the left knee directly over your left ankle. Relax the weight of your hips toward the floor and draw your palms to meet at your heart. Inhale reach your spine toward the ceiling and exhale spiral from inside your belly to twist your chest and torso toward the left side of your mat. You can stay here or hook your right elbow around the left thigh. Maintain the integrity of your legs and spine as you continue to rotate and twist deeper with each exhalation breath. When you're ready, switch to the opposite side.
6 Parivrtta Trikonasana (Twisted Triangle)
Maintaining this theme of strong twisted postures, twisted triangle is sure to ignite fire in your body to release any stuck toxins. Begin in another runner’s lunge position with your right leg forward, this time shortening the stance between your two legs to be only about the distance of 40 or 50% of your mat. Straighten both legs and square your hips forward toward the top of your mat. Try to relax your back heel toward the floor slightly angling your toes (about 45-degrees) toward the left side of your mat. Draw your hands to your hips and expand your spine. As you inhale, reach your left arm forward in front of you and leading with this hand, hinge from your hips to expand your torso forward as far as you can toward the top of your mat. Once you reach your limit, exhale to twist from Inside your core to turn your torso to face toward the right side of your mat. You can rest your left hand wherever it reaches (either on the right thigh or shin, onto a block or the floor on the inside or outside of your front foot). Elongate your spine forward with every inhale. Release and twist deeper with every exhale. When you're ready, switch to place your left leg forward and rotate your twist to the opposite side.
5 Parivrtta Prasaritha Padottanasana (Revolved Wide Legged Forward Fold)
Yet one more deep twist of the belly, this posture will wring out any lingering toxins of the body. Start standing with your feet touching and face the long side of your mat. Walk your feet away from each other until you are in a wide stance, using up 80 or 90% of your mat. Make sure that your feet are parallel and your toes are pointed straight to the side of your mat. Draw your hands to your hips and, leading with your chest, dive your torso forward between the legs to come into a forward fold. Leave your right hand on your hip and release your left hand to either a block or the floor directly in the middle of your legs. Reach the crown of your head forward and your tailbone behind you. Keeping this space through your spine, begin to gently twist from within your belly to open your heart toward the right side of your mat. If you'd like, reach your right arm up toward the sky as you rotate deeper from your core. Relax and breath deeply before switching sides.
4 Forearm Plank
Core work is another excellent choice for cleansing and detoxing the body. Building a fire within your belly can allow for unwanted toxins to be pushed out. Start in a kneeling position and release your forearms to the floor. Take a hold of opposite elbows and just check that your forearms are exactly shoulder-width apart. Hug your elbows toward each other and press down firmly into your forearms to create a sensation of pressing the floor away from you. Hug in firmly on your core and lift your knees up off the mat. Walk your feet toward the back of your mat until you create a straight line from your head to your heels. Kick your feet back behind you and hug your belly in toward your spine. Press down firmly against the floor with your forearms and connect to your breath. Hold for as long as you can maintain your form and then release to the floor whenever you're ready.
3 Knee-To-Nose (Core Plank)
This powerful posture also works deeply into the arms and back. Begin in a plank position with your shoulders aligned directly over your wrists. Empower your legs, kicking your heels behind you. Empower your core, hugging it in toward your back body. From here, press down firmly against your palms and lift your right foot up off the mat. Activate strongly into your abdominals and round into your spine as you very forcefully draw your right knee in toward your nose. Keep your shoulders aligned directly over your wrists and your belly hugging in and up. Hold for a moment before releasing back to your plank position and doing the same sequence with the left leg lifted this time. Repeat for as long as you would like while maintaining the proper form.
2 Urdhva Dhanurasana (Wheel Pose)
Backbends are another great way to detoxify and release the body. This powerful full body posture opens the heart deeply to release any “stuck” tension or toxins near the heart center. Start lying down on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat against the floor about hip-distance apart. Walk your heels toward your butt until you can reach your ankles with your fingertips. Energetically squeeze your legs in toward each other. Place your hands directly underneath your ears and above your shoulders with your fingertips pointing toward your toes. Draw your elbows into the midline of your body. Hug your belly in toward your spine and, as you inhale, press equally into your hands and your feet to lift your hips, head and chest high up off the floor to make a half-arc with your body. Actively press the floor away to lift your hips even higher toward the sky. Try to expand and open your chest as you stretch deeply through the whole body in this backbend. When you've finished, release slowly and carefully back down onto the floor.
1 Garudasana (Eagle Pose)
The most contracted of the yoga postures, eagle pose is intended to actually cut off circulation throughout the body to give yourself a moment to relax and release before letting go and allowing freshly oxygenated blood to spread to your extremities. Start standing tall at the top of your mat with your feet touching. Bend deeply into your knees sitting down into a chair pose position. Shift your weight into your left leg and lift your right foot off the floor crossing it over the left. You can stay here or double wrap your foot around your left calf for a double-bind position. Stretch your arms out wide like wings and give yourself a big hug with your right arm crossed under the left. You can stay here or, keeping the hug, bring the backs of your hands or the front of your hands to meet in a full bind. If you take the bind, inhale to reach your elbows up toward the ceiling and exhale to extend your forearms forward away from your face to create a rounding through your upper back. Squeeze your legs and your arms together as much as possible and sit deeply into your squat. Soften your breath as you constrict your blood flow. When you feel ready, release and breathe deeply before switching to the opposite side.