This year there is one word that keeps popping up everywhere – detox detox detox! And even well into February it seems that 2014 is the year that everyone wants to start the year healthy and keep it that way.
I believe that a healthy lifestyle really needs to be approached from all directions, nutrition, fitness and mindfulness, and yoga is a great way to not only encourage the detoxification for the body, but also clear the busy mind too.
Here are some of my top tips on how yoga can help support a healthier you!
Twisting the body is a great way aid digestion, as well as helping the body flush out those unwanted toxins. The twisting action literally rings out the body, helping stimulate digestion and get the digestive track moving, as well as being a great way to tone the abdominals.
Here are 2 great twisting poses - Do these yoga poses every time you need that extra detox boost, always twisting deeper on an exhalation.
Ardha Matsyendrasana (Seated Spinal Twist)
From a seated position bend your right leg in front of you, then bending your left knee place your left foot on the other side of your right knee. Place your Left hand (or finger tips) on the floor behind your back and on an exhalation twist towards your top leg. Then either hug your left knee towards your torso, or to go deeper, place your elbow on the outside of the knee to traction a deeper twist. On each inhalation lengthen through the spine, and on each exhalation twist a little further.
Hold this for 5-10 breaths and repeat on the other side.
Parivrtta Anjaneyasana (Revolve Lunge)
From a lunge lengthen through the sides of the waist and twist towards the front leg. Take your elbow to the outside of the front knee and place your palms together, pressing them into each other. As you inhale lengthen through the spine, and as your exhale twist a little further, trying to bring your thumbs into the center of your
Hold this pose for 5 breaths and repeat on the other side.
2. FOLD FORWARD
Forward folding is a great way to encourage the function of the digestive system and clear out any blockages from the abdominal organs. These are also great at calming the nervous system and quieting the mind, allowing for that lovely cleansing of not only body but mind too. Enjoy this calming forward fold before going to sleep.
Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Fold)
From a seated position, extend your legs out in front of you. Draw your sitting bones back or sit on a cushion so you can sit up tall. Hug your legs together, root them into the floor and flex your feet. Then lengthen up through your spine and fold over your legs, taking hold of wherever you can reach. On each inhalation lengthen through the spine, and on each exhalation fold a little deeper.
Close the eyes and relax here. Hold this pose for 5-10 breaths.
There are some great breathing exercises (pranayama, as they are called in Sanskrit) that can help encourage purification of the mind and body. One of the most effective for this purpose is a technique called Kapalabhati. This breathing exercise builds heat in the body to aid elimination of toxins and waste from the system.
Find a comfortable seat and begin inhaling and exhaling through the nose. Focus on the belly and as you exhale begin to encourage a shorted more dynamic exhalation, and a passive longer inhalation. Sometimes it helps to place one hand on your belly button to encourage this drawing in of the navel on the exhalation. A quick contraction of the abdominals draws the belly back, pushing air up and out of the lungs, and the inhalation is a natural rebound effect, drawing fresh air back into the lungs and releasing the belly into your hands. Repeat this pumping action for a few rounds, and then go back to a normal breath for a few rounds before finishing. This pumping action is great for stimulating the digestion, as well as waking up the mind and body and brightening your day.
If you’d like more tips on how yoga can support your healthy lifestyle, why not try private yoga sessions with Natasha, where she can offer the perfect yoga practice to support your needs.
For more advice or to book a bespoke package contact Natasha@matayoga.com.
PLEASE NOTE: These exercises are not recommended if you are pregnant or have any health concerns or injuries.