Weekend Workout: Yoga Poses to Help You Detox

When you hear the word detox you probably think one of two things: that the term has something to do with celebrities checking in to swanky rehab facilities, or that you'll be consuming nothing but liquids for 21 days. Either way it seems like something that would be quite taxing to take part in. In actuality your body is designed to engage in detoxification every day, and one way to help it along is with detox yoga poses.

Downward Dog

Detox Benefits: Getting the heart higher than the head reverses the pull of gravity and aids in the circulation of blood and lymph. An added benefit is that it also gently tones the abdomen, which stimulates digestion. Start on your hands and knees with the entire surface of your palms pressing into the floor and your toes tucked under. Slowly lift the knees and straighten the legs. Press equally into the hands and feet and lift your bottom up towards the sky as you move the thighs back. Allow the head to hang. Stay for 5 to 10 deep breaths.

Marichi's Twist

Detox Benefits: Squeezes the abdominal organs and stimulates digestion and elimination. Sit up tall with your legs straight. Bend your left knee and bring the sole of your left foot to the floor just in front of your left sitting bone. Place your left hand on the floor behind your back for support. Reach your right hand up so strongly that your ribcage lifts up towards the ceiling. Rotate your torso to the left and bring your right elbow to the outside of your left knee. Stay for 5 deep, slow breaths, gradually and gently using the sensation of your right elbow pressing into to your left leg to encourage your torso to twist further to the left. Either look behind you, over your left shoulder or straight ahead, depending on what feels best to your neck. Repeat on your right side.

Leg-Up-the-Wall

Detox Benefits: Encourages circulation of blood and lymph from the feet and legs. Bathes the abdomen in fresh blood, stimulating the digestive organs. Soothes the nervous system, allowing your body to shift its attention from warding off stress to daily bodily functions, including detox. Before you start grab a few cushions or blankets just in case you decide you need a few under your buttocks to feel extra comfortable and supported. (Of course you don’t need any props at all, just the floor and wall is perfectly fine.) Start by sitting next to a wall with your knees bent and your left shoulder and left hip against the wall. Swing around to bring your bottom up close to the wall supporting yourself on your elbows and forearms. (If you are using a bolster have that against the wall first and then swing around and up onto it.) Slowly straighten your legs against the wall while keeping them relaxed. Come away from the wall if your hamstrings are tight or tailbone and buttocks are lifting off the floor. You should be comfortable in this position. Use a folded blanket under your back as a pillow if necessary. Make sure your chin is slightly lower than your forehead. Your neck must feel comfortable, without any tightness or pinching at the nape. If blood flow to the head is obstructed, your brain will be unable to relax. Place your arms out by your side with your palms turned up. Breath slowly and deeply. Enjoy the release of tension from your legs, your spine being able to relax and chest area more open. To finish simply bring your knees to your chest and very, very gently roll out to your right side. Wait for a few minutes before you get up, giving your body and blood pressure time to adjust.