Yoga wears many hats – from increasing flexibility to boosting relaxation. One reason why we love lyengar yoga is because of its amazing detoxing benefits. It’s great for stimulating blood flow, lowering blood pressure and removing waste products from the body – all of which play a huge role in the process of detoxification.
‘Yoga, with its focus on stretching and compressing every part of the body, is particularly well-suited to keeping the body functioning well,’ explains Aya Scrymgeour, personal trainer and yoga instructor at Equinox Kensington. ‘Any kind of yoga practice brings awareness to the body and mind and makes us reconnect to what we need as individuals to live a healthy, happy life.’
What’s more, there are specific poses within yoga that use twists and inversion that encourage a healthy bloody and lymphatic flow – essential for carrying the toxins out of the body. Teamed with the breathing technique, we’re onto a winner.
‘Besides the physical detoxification benefits, lyengar yoga also helps as a mental detox,’ Aya adds. ‘Yoga can help by bringing awareness away from the chaos of the mind and back to the present moment. It helps practitioners to not only sweat out toxins but consciously and mindfully live a healthy, more balanced lifestyle.’
So, grab a mat, give this sequence a go and reap the benefits of a happier digestive system – and a happier, calmer you!
Stand in Tadasana ‘mountain pose’ (standing up strait with your feet together).
Inhale your arms overhead. Exhale to shift your weight into your heels and bend your knees, shiting your hips back and down into a squat position.
Exhale to bring your hands into prayer in front of your heart. Inhale to reach up through the crown of your head, and lengthen the spine.
On an exhalation, hook your right elbow outside your left thigh and press your palms together. Try to bring your prayere hands in line with your heart as you twist.
Keep the weight in your heels and your hips even, with your knees together. Then push into your hands to gently twist from your waist, chest, neck, and head, gradually getting deeper.
Hold the pose for five breaths then exhale to come out and switch sides.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Start on all fours, knees hip-width and hands shoulder-width apart, just in front of your shoulders. Spread your fingers and palms flat on the mat. Tuck your toes under.
Exhale and lift your knees away from the floor. Try to straighten your legs as much as possible, with your heels working towards the ground with the weights into your heels.
Keep a good connection with the mat, spreading your fingers out. Set your shoulder blades against your back, then widen them and keep them from pushing towards your tailbone. Make sure you have space and length around your neck so your shoulders don’t collapse. Keep your head between your upper arms; don’t let it hang.
This can be held for up to three minutes. To come out, exhale and bring your knees to the mat.
Stand on your mat with your feet about leg-length apart. Make sure your feet are parallel to each other – slightly turned in is better than turned out. Engage your thigh muscles by drawing them up.
Inhale and lift your arms above your head lengthen your spine up.
Maintaining the length and flat back, exhale and lean forward from your hips. As your torso approaches parallel to the floor, press your fingers or hands onto the floor directly below your shoulders. Now extend your arms fully. Your legs should be strait.
Inhale again to lengthen your spine, lift the head up, keep the neck long and gaze up.
Exhale, bend your elbows and lower your torso and crown of your head towards the floor.
Now hold the pose for 30-60 seconds before rolling up.
Stand with your legs roughly leg-length apart facing the top of the mat, feet forward and in line with your hips.
Your left foot needs to be forward, with hips square, facing the front of the mat. Now turn your back foot out about 30 degrees. Firmly ground your heels.
With an inhale, raise your arms up to the ceiling and exhale to reach both arms forward over your front leg. Reach your right hand down either to the floor (inside or outside the foot) or onto a block. Your left hand needs to extend to the ceiling and your palm should be facing out away from your body.
Let your right hip drop slightly toward the floor.
Stay in this pose for 30-60 seconds. Repeat for the same length of time on the other side, twisting to the right.
Legs up the wall
Sit front of a wall with your right hip and shoulder touching the wall. Bend your knees and roll onto your left side, so your feet and bottom are touching the wall. Roll onto your back and extend your legs so they rest on the wall.
Either rest your hands o your belly or let your arms lie on the floor, palms up.
Stay for at least 10 deep breaths, this pose can be held for as long as you wish.
Sit with your legs out in front of you, lengthening away from your sit bones.
Bend your left knee on the floor, with your heel as close to the left sit bone as possible.
Inhale and raise your right arm and with an exhalation, rotate your torso to the left and wrap your right arm round your left thigh.
Press your left fingertips onto the floor just behind your pelvis to lift your torso slightly up and forward.
Hold for 30-60 seconds, then switch and repeat.
Lying on your back, bend your knees and, as you exhale, drop them to your left side. Extend your arms out to either side, and twists your torso, facing the opposite direction to your legs.
On an inhale, try to lengthen your spine and on the exhale work into the twist a bit deeper.
Stay in the pose for at least five breaths – but it can be held for as long as you want. Inhale to come out and remember to switch sides and do the same length of time on your other side: knees to your right, torso twisting to the left.
Lie on your front and stretch your legs back, tops of the feet on the floor. Place your hands on the floor beneath your shoulders.
Hug the elbows back into your body and press the tops of your feet and thighs firmly into the floor.
Inhale as you begin to straighten your arms to lift your chest off the floor, going only to the height at which you can maintain a connection through your hips to the mat.
Make sure your shoulder blades are pinned back and lift through the top of the sternum. Distribute the backbend evenly throughout your entire spine.
Hold the pose anywhere from 15-30 seconds, breathing easily.