Spring is approaching! It’s the time when our homes feel lighter and brighter after we purge all the junk and unnecessary clutter we tend to amass over the winter months.
Similarly, our bodies benefit by cleaning out accumulated waste we store after overindulging and under-exercising for a few months. If you’ve been lounging on the couch like a sloth, it’s time to renew and rejuvenate.
Our systems are naturally formulated to eliminate waste and toxins. When we exercise regularly and consume a healthy balanced diet, our digestive, circulatory, and lymphatic systems collaborate to eliminate pollutants. As a result, we usually don’t need an extra boost to the detoxification process.
If you feel bloated, heavy, and lethargic however, you may require some assistance from yoga to encourage the body to return to its inherent cleansing powers.
There are three main components of how we naturally shed toxins:
1. Digestive System - processes our food, ideally storing the nutrients while shedding the waste materials and toxins, freeing the body from what it doesn’t require.
2. Circulatory System - pumps blood from the heart throughout the body delivering oxygen to the cells and removing waste from the cells.
3. Lymphatic System -Lymphatic fluid serves to transport harmful matter to the lymph nodes where bacteria can be removed prior to returning to the bloodstream. Unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic flow has no pump and relies upon exercise or massage to operate optimally.
Three main types of yoga postures are excellent for detoxification.
- First, twists squeeze and stimulate the abdominal and digestive organs, thereby encouraging toxins to exit the body.
- Next, forward bends actively compress the digestive organs, speeding up elimination.
- Third, inversions help drain fluids from the feet and legs back toward the heart.
We’ve got four very different plays on twist-focused yoga practice for you this week. If you want more of a workout with your yoga, try Ben Davis’ Fitness and Yoga: Do the Twist. If you’d like a more devotional practice, check out Christen Bakken’s Twisted Bhakti Flow. Get playful with Rob Loud’s Twists and Binds - Seated Revolved Birds of Paradise practice. And, last but not least, Shy Sahar’s Twists and Backbends offers you the opportunity to open your heart too! Try one or try them all.