Now, let’s be clear upfront: I’m no yogi. Oh, yougahow I wish I was. I’ve bought the gear, attended the classes, and even purchased a few instructional DVDs to practice at home. But going for a jog around the block or tossing around a kettle-bell has always been just a little more my speed.
That being said, there is a set of yoga poses that I practice on an almost-daily basis (typically on the floor of my living room at the end of the evening while rewatching old episodes of Lost on Netflix). These poses promote cleansing by stimulating the body’s natural detoxification processes.
Best yet, you do not need to be a yogi to get the benefits as these poses are extremely simple! To prove this point, I figured I’d demonstrate the poses myself. So just for you – and only you, my lovely readers – I’ve cleared all of the furniture in my bedroom, am putting on my stretchy pants, and am throwing my inhibitions to the wind to show you these simple yoga poses that help stimulate our natural cleansing systems.
All contracting and twisting poses stimulate the abdominal organs, including the liver and digestive organs. Below are my six favorite (and the simplest!).
Side-to-side chair twists: Squat down into chair pose, which is basically a squat with the feet and knees a shoulder-width apart. Put your hands together at the center of your chest like you are praying. Twist to the left and touch your right elbow to the outside of your left knee. Come back to the center, and then twist to the other side. Repeat this 5 times.
Wide-legged forward fold with twist: Stand with knees shoulder-width apart, and bend down, reaching your left hand to your right ankle (or as low as you can go!). Reach your right arm up toward the ceiling, lean back slightly, and look up towards your right hand. Take a few deep breaths and repeat on the other side.
Cat to cow pose: Begin on your hands and knees, with your knees directly below your hips and your arms perpendicular to the floor. Look at the floor and round your spine toward the ceiling. This is cat pose (the rounded back may remind you of an angry cat!). Hold for a couple of breaths. To enter cow pose, let your belly sink all the way down towards the floor and lift your head so you are facing forward. Hold for a few breaths and repeat.
Sphinx pose: Lying facedown, prop yourself up on your forearms, which should be parallel to each other. Press down on your hands and forearms, lifting your chest up and forward. Hold this pose for a few breaths and then relax.
High lunge twist repetitions: Start in a lunge position with your left leg forward, with your toes facing forward and arms out to the side. Twist your abdomen to the left side so your arms are above your legs. Come back to the regular lunge and repeat a few times before moving to the other side.
Supine twist: I typically like to end with this simple pose. Simply lie on the ground with your arms out to your sides. Lift one leg straight up and then allow it to gently fall out to the opposite side, all the way to the floor. Take a few deep breaths and repeat on the other side.
Kriya yoga poses promote cleansing by stimulating circulation and the abdominal organs (including the liver and digestive organs), as well as by moving fluid to the lymph nodes. Following are my four favorite (and, again, the simplest!).
Full boat pose: Sit with your knees bent. Tilt your upper body backward and lift your feet from the ground. Extend your arms forward, parallel to the floor, and stretch your feet and legs together so that your legs are between your arms, straightening them if possible. Continue to breathe steadily. Hold for 10-20 seconds, then release your legs.
Bridge pose: Lie on your back with your arms to your sides, palms down, and bend your knees. Push your hips up in the air while keeping your thighs and feet parallel. Hold for at least 30 seconds then relax and come down.
Shoulder Stand: Be careful with this one and only attempt it if you feel comfortable! Lie down on your back. Bring you knees up to your chest and then push your feet into the air. Use your hands to support your back and keep it straight. Take a few deep breaths then slowly lower back onto the mat.
Three-legged down dog: Definitely my least graceful pose (hence why I saved it for last!). Go into downward dog (on your hands and feet, bum in the air), and lift one leg up in the air as high as you can go while keeping balance. Easy-peasy. Hold for a few deep breaths then repeat with the other leg.