Christmas is a time for friends, family and great food, and if you’re like me, a time to relax off the healthy eating and ‘clean living’ wagon and indulge a little. Now it’s New Year it’s time to detox, re-fresh and start anew. There is no need to feel guilty or beat yourself up if you ate or drank too much over this short period; if you nurture your body the rest of the time, a little indulgence isn’t the end of the world. “Start from where you are, use what you have, do what you can” Arthur Ashe. Add these detoxifying poses into your yoga routine to be on the way to a healthy new year. These cleansing poses stimulate the key systems in the body, circularity, lymphatic and digestive, responsible for eliminating toxins and waste. Just be careful to warm up and wind down gently before trying any – be kind to your body.
Twists are key in aiding digestion. They also stimulate circulation and can ease stress and anxiety. They gently press on your kidneys, liver, and spleen, stimulating the removal of waste. Please note they are not recommended during pregnancy or menstruation.
Simple Seated Twist
- Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position
- Maintain length in the spine, engaging the lower abdomen and lifting through the crown of your head. Remembering to relax the shoulders down and back.
- Inhale and raise your arms
- Exhale twist to the right ensuring the movement comes from above your belly button, keeping your hips facing forward, release your arms placing your left hand on your right knee and your right arm behind your back.
- Inhale to lengthen the body
- Exhale to gently deepen the twist and move the gaze to look over your right shoulder
- Inhale slowly twisting back to the starting position
- Repeat on the left side
Half Lord of the Fishes/Ardha Matsyendrasana Variation
- Sit with your legs out in front of you, hands on the mat beside your hips, don’t collapse the spine.
- Bend the right knee, keeping the left leg active.
- Inhale raising your arms
- Exhale twist from above the belly button to the right, reaching your right arm behind you, placing your palm on the floor. Cross your left elbow over your outer right thigh.
- Inhale to lengthen through the top of the head
- Exhale gaze behind you and over your right shoulder
- Inhale to release the twist, straighten your legs out in front of you
- Repeat on the other side
Inversions promote circulation to the heart, brain, thymus glands and lungs and encourages fluid through the filtering lymph nodes. They also ease constipation and aid digestion. Inversions are also great for rejuvenating the mind and relieving anger, frustration and insomnia!
Shoulder Stand/Salamba Sarvangasana
- Start lying on your mat, remember to keep length in the spine, gently draw the chin toward the chest slightly
- Inhale expanding the chest, drawing the shoulder blades together
- Exhale engaging the lower abdomen lift the legs and hips off the floor bending the knees. Place your hands on your back to provide support (do not move your head or neck at all throughout this pose) Hips should be aligned above your elbows
- Inhale and straighten both legs
- Adjust the position of the hands down the back to provide support
- Breathe in this pose for as long as is comfortable
- Exhale to slowly come out of the pose bending the knees and rolling the spine down one vertebrae at a time
Please note this pose is not recommended during pregnancy or menstruation (instead try legs up the wall pose)
Wide-Legged Forward Bend
- Stand facing the long edges of your mat feet as far apart as is comfortable
- Hips square to the front of the mat, feet parallel to the short edges of the mat
- Inhale to lengthen the body, lifting arms above the head, expanding the chest
- Exhale engage the abdomen folding forward from the hip joints, once you have folded as far as is comfortable release the arms placing the hands on the mat if accessible
- Inhale to lengthen the spine, exhale to relax deeper into the fold
- Place hands on hips, inhale expanding through the chest, activate the back and engage the pelvic floor as you come back up to standing.