There are certain yoga poses and breathing techniques that help us detox our digestive organs, lymphatic and nervous systems. Doing this daily is so important for the health of our internal organs and therapeutic for our mental state. Detoxing (not just in the form of green juice) is a great way to find mental clarity and combat problems within the body. You can literally think of it like twisting up a towel to squeeze out excess moisture. Out with the old and in with the new!
BREATH OF FIRE: This breathing technique, used often in Kundalini yoga, that heats up the body and completely flushes out the nervous system. It purifies the blood stream and charges your prana (life-force). It also helps build lung capacity. Here are the key points:
- This style of breathing is rather loud compared to others–you should be able to hear yourself very clearly and it almost sounds like a “huffing” noise. Your belly should be visibly motioning in and out (as shown in the gif above).
- Keeping your mouth closed, you are breathing entirely through the nose. But concentrate on the out-breath (exhale), which is when the navel is drawing in. The belly draws out on the inhale, which is almost involuntary. You are exhaling strongly when the belly pulls in that the inhale just naturally happens.
- This is done traditionally very fast, but if you are a beginner you can practice slowly–for 1-2 minutes to start. You should feel your entire body heating up by the end, you might even break a sweat.
- Keep your arms extending up and out, as pictured, but if that’s too difficult you can let your hands by your side.
Now for the alignment points on the poses in the gallery above:
- Eagle (Garudasana): This pose builds balance and coordination while ringing out the body of toxins.
- Starting at the front of the mat in mountain pose, extend your arms straight in front of you. Wrap your right arm underneath your left so that your elbows are touching. If you have open shoulders and can bring your palms together that’s great, but if not simply keep your arms together.
- Transfer your weight into your left leg and slowly lift your right leg–bend the standing left leg and start to wrap your right thigh over your left. If you can wrap your right ankle around your left calf then do that too.
- Once you’re in the wrap, draw your right hip down–try to keep your pelvis neutral.
- Draw your lower belly in and begin folding over the legs as you extend the arms ahead of the knees. Stay for 5-8 breaths and come out slowly, repeat on other leg.
- Twisting Crescent: There are 3 variations shown in the gallery above–you can do any arm position that works for you, each of them will detox the body.
- The foundation stays the same–keep your knee directly over your ankle and the hip of your bent leg drawing back. The hips and pelvis are to remain as neutral as possible here.
- Keep engaging the back leg straight by pulling the femur bones into the hip sockets and pushing through the heel of the foot.
- The lower belly should be drawing in and the twist should come from an internal place rather than the external lever of your arm position.
- Inhale as you lengthen your torso and exhale as you twist. Stay for 5-8 breaths and repeat on both sides.
- Twisting Chair (Utkatasana): This is a great stabilizing pose that keeps everything together as you twist.
- Bring your feet together and parallel as you press into all 4 corners of both feet. Inhale as you bend your knees and extend your arms overhead.
- Keep moving your shins back, bring a lot of weight into your heels–so much so that you can lift your toes.
- Draw your lower belly in and your pelvis down as you lift your frontal hip points up (so eliminate any dumping in the lower back, which would look like an arch).
- Then bring your hands to your heart and twist to one side. Keep your hips neutral. You can look down at your knees and notice if one is higher than the other, you need to draw that hip back.
- Inhale as you lengthen your torso and exhale as your twist. Stay for 5-8 breaths and repeat on both sides.
Yoga Mat + Block | Manduka