by Andrea Leber Saturday, July 09
Are you a yogi, or does the thought of being twisted like a pretzel make you cringe? We’ve got 5 easy postures that ANYONE can do, and that will actually help your body DETOX. Yes that’s right, there are certain postures that promote detoxification by stimulating the lymphatic, digestive and circulatory systems of your body - the systems that help your body get rid of toxins, so you want to treat them kindly.
You can get started right now with these 5 easy, effective postures:
LEGS UP THE WALL: (pic above)
How: Place a folded blanket close to a wall, move your bottom as close to the wall as you can (legs both folded away to one side), then turn your upper body towards the ceiling, rolling onto your back, bringing the legs up against the wall. Let the feet drop to the sides and stay there for as long is comfortable – but give yourself at least five minutes to feel the wonderfully relaxing effect wash over you.
Why? Not only does this encourage the circulation of blood and lymph away from the legs (for once, the other direction!), it also works as a soother for the nervous system; a crucial posture for coping with the challenges of our busy modern lives. If you can’t fit it in during the day, try resting your feet on your bed’s headboard just before falling asleep. When you’re done, just roll over and drift off.
WIDE LEGGED FORWARD BEND:
How: Even if you’ve never tried a headstand or handstand, and you’re not really comfortable with shoulder stand, this one should come easily – and it has very similar benefits to its more challenging variations.
Stand with your feet as wide apart as comfortable. Interlace your fingers behind your back; straighten the arms without applying too much pressure and fold over at the waist. Keep your spine straight instead of just pulling and pushing to your edge. Avoid dropping all weight into the heels, keeping the toes active. Relax your face, even though this feels awkward (your cheeks are going to be pulled down by gravity). For a more accessible version, extend your arms towards your feet and slide your hands down the shinbones, reaching for the toes.
Why? This posture turns your blood flow upside down, and thanks to gravity it also promotes circulation of blood throughout the body. By squeezing the belly in tightly before folding over you’re also stimulating the digestive system.
SEATED SPINAL TWIST:
How: There are several options for seated twists – you can simply vary your leg position depending on how far you want to go.
Try sitting cross-legged and then twist to the side (be mindful of keeping the spine straight, focusing on the rotation rather than bending). Change the cross of your legs after you’ve done both sides.
For another variation (photo above), place your left heel close to your right sit bone and bring the right bent leg over your left, right foot standing on the outside of the left knee, pointing forward. Now twist to the right. Change sides.
Why? Any twist will promote digestion, which in turn assists your body with removal of toxins from the system. Seated twists are a great choice because you can increase or decrease the intensity depending on how you feel on a particular day.
How: Lying down flat on your front body, extend the arms back and lift arms and legs at the same time. Be mindful not to crunch your neck and keep the spine long, extending the head away from the toes. Hold for 5-10 breaths.
Why? Even, widespread pressure on the abdomen increases digestive fire!
How: Not technically a posture, but a habit you can cultivate on and off the yoga mat. It sounds ever so simple, but the effects are powerful. Start with paying attention to your breath and ensure that you always fully inhale and exhale (without straining). Empty the lungs completely. Throughout the day, keep bringing your attention back to your breath. Note that poor posture will prevent the lungs from inflating to their full capacity, so do make sure that you don’t slouch (psst: not even at 3pm at the office…).
Why? You’ll inhale more oxygen – and exhale more carbon dioxide. Full, deep breaths also massage the abdominal organs and help the diaphragm (a muscle we don’t think of very often!) to relax.
GET MOVING & ENJOY!
By: Andrea Leber
Andrea is a travel & wellness journalist and yoga guide publisher with 15+ years experience in the publishing industry. Having lived in 6 countries on 3 continents, she currently enjoys life in Australia and soaks up inspiring ideas in India. On her website andrealeber.com you’ll find stories that inspire and empower you to live, not just exist. Follow Andrea on Google+, send her a Tweet @AndreaLeber or download your free 50+ page ‘Best of Yoga’ guide to Melbourne here: http://andrealeber.com/bestofyoga