Detox with these clever yoga poses
As if you needed another reason to do yoga, did you know that certain poses can help the body’s detoxification process? Amazing, but true! So if you’re in need of a good clean up, hop on your mat and work through these moves.
Our body is a pretty incredible detoxification machine. Our circulatory, digestive and lympathic systems work hard to get rid of toxins and waste all on their own, but sometimes they need a little help. That’s where yoga comes in. With its focus on stretching and compressing every part of the body — especially the ab area — detox yoga facilitates cleansing and elimination.
This series of poses is excellent for detoxification. The twisting poses wring toxins out of your body and kick start your digestive system, while the balancing poses activate your abs and strengthen your core, which is the powerhouse of your entire body. Yoga guru and health coach at The Wellness Project, Claire Obeid, shows us how they’re done.
How to do it: Balance on your hands and feet, with your hands underneath your shoulders and your feet hip-width apart. Press your heels into the floor and lift your hips up as far as you can. Shift your body weight forward slightly so that you feel the heat in your hands. If you want to add a challenge, draw one knee at a time towards your forehead and hold for 15 seconds.
Detox benefits: This pose not only boosts your lymphatic system, but it also helps to get your blood flowing. As a bonus, the bending tones the abdomen, which aids proper digestion.
How to do it: Step into a lunge position, with one foot forward in a 90-degree angle and the other straight behind you. Come up onto the toe of the back foot and press your heel towards the floor so you feel a stretch in your calf. If you’ve stepped forward with your left foot first, bring your right hand to the floor (on the inside of your left foot). Then, twist your body and extend your left arm up toward the ceiling. Look up and hold the pose for 30 seconds.
Detox benefits: This pose is harder than it looks and that’s because it works many parts of your body. It strengthens your leg muscles and twists the abdomen to give the digestive organs a good squeeze.
How to do it: Come up to your hands and balls of your feet, placing your hands a little further down from your shoulders. Bend your elbows as if you were going to do a push up, but stop once you’ve gone down halfway. Hold this position for three to five breaths, using your arms and abs to support you. If this is too difficult, come down on your forearms and hold the plank there.
Detox benefits: Our core is the most connected part of the body and many yogis say it is directly related to our willpower and strength. As you feel the burn when you hold this pose, just think of all the power you're creating in the centre of your body.
Standing forward bend
How to do it: Stand up and put your feet close together. Then, simply bend forward as far as you can, placing your hands on the floor if possible. Tuck your head in close to your knees and hold the pose for 15–30 seconds before slowly releasing and rolling back up.
Detox benefits: This super simple pose packs a powerful punch when it comes to getting rid of those nasties. By gently compressing the abdomen, it kick starts better digestion and calms the nervous system, which reduces the feeling of stress.
How to do it: Sit down and bend your left knee on the floor in front of you. Cross your right leg over so that your right foot is positioned on the outside of your left knee. Hook your left elbow underneath your right knee and bring your right hand behind your back to meet the left one. Inhale as you picture your spine extending up and then exhale as you push the twist further.
Detox benefits: Twisting poses are all about aiding digestion, which encourages the elimination of wastes (also known as "detoxification"). This seated twist challenges the abdominal organs and also releases any stiffness in the hips.