Yoga Poses to Detox and Energize
Feeling tired, groggy and fatigued? I think it's fair to say that we've all been there. I travel quiet a bit through out the year. And as much as I love going to Europe, jet lag is a challenge every time. Not only is it tough to adjust to the time difference, but 12hr plane rides always leave my body sore and muscles tight.
One way to help me get back on track is a flowy sweaty yoga practice with lots of twisting postures. Not only can they help to elongate the spine and relieve pain causing tightness. Twists are known to stimulate digestion, boost metabolism and increase the energy flow around the navel. More blood is being transported to the inner organs, so that toxins can be flushed out.
In this post you will find my favorite 7 yoga poses to detox the body. I recommend a little warm up, such as 2-4 rounds of Surya Namaskara A & B (Sun salutations) before you go into deep twists. It gets your blood flowing and opens up your chest and back.
This sequence can be done in between 10-20 minutes (depending on your warm up). Try holding the postures a little longer (3-8 breaths) for an extra detox boost and don't forget to breath! Inhale when you lengthen, exhale to go deeper into the twist.
Like with all deep twists, don't do this if you're pregnant or if you have any back injuries. If you are struggling with balance, need to create height, or your hamstrings are tight, it is helpful to place a block under the hand that you are balancing on for some of these poses.
What are your favorite Detox Poses? Share your thoughts and let me know if you have any questions!
Outfit by ONZIE
Revolved Downward Facing Dog (Parvivrtta Adho Mukha Svavasana)
1. Begin In Downward Facing Dog. Keep your hands at shoulder width and your feet hip distance apart. Press firmly into both hands and release your heels toward the floor. Draw the work out of the arms and into the legs. Press the thigh bones back and begin to straighten your legs. It's ok to keep your knees slightly bend to modify.
2. Lift your left hand off the mat and place it on your right outer ankle, as you begin to turn your chest to the right. If you can't get to your ankle, rest your hand on the outside of your right shin or upper thigh.
3. Keep your gaze soft as you turn your head and look underneath the right arm.
4. Inhale, create length in your spine. Exhale, go a little deeper into the twist. Hold here for 3-8 breaths.
5. To get out of this pose, slowly untwist and return your left hand to the mat. You're back in Down Dog. Take a breath. Repeat the pose on the other side and then return to Down Dog again.
- Increased blood flow
- Challenges your balance as it strengthens your arms, shoulders and upper back
- Calms the brain and the nervous system
- Stretches the hamstrings
- Improves digestion, back pain, headaches and relieves fatigue
Revolved Half Moon Pose (Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana)
1. Begin in Uttanasana (Forward fold). Press down through all four corners of the feet. Keep your knees soft. Release your arms and the crown of the head toward the floor and maintain length in your front body. Begin to straighten your legs.
2. Take an inhale and come up half way with a flat back. Keep your fingertips on the mat (or block) and bring them slightly forward in front of your toes. Move the left hand to the right, so it's in the center and place your right hand on your sacrum. Make sure that your hips are even.
3. Keep rooting down through the fingertips and begin to spin your chest to the right. For a deeper challenge, take your top arm straight up. Firm your right shoulder blade into your chest. You can now begin to look up. If this is straining your neck, keep the gaze sideways or to the floor.
4. Hold here for 3-5 breaths. Lower the top arm and come back to center. Do the other side.
5. Come back to center again and place your fingertips on the mat. Keep your neck and spine long. Lift your left leg up behind you and reach back through the heel. Keep the left hand right beneath the shoulder as you place the right hand on your lower back to make sure that your hips feel even. To get to the full pose, spin your chest open and reach your right arm up. Deeper challenge - begin to look up. Stay here for a couple of breaths.
6. Lower your top arm to the ground, square your hips and bring the left foot to the mat. Come into a forward fold and release. Repeat the pose on the other side.
- Improves balance and coordination
- Stretches the legs and hip flexors
- Massages the abdominal organs
- Opens the chest and upper back
- Improves core strength
Revolved Chair Pose (Parivrtta Utkatasana)
1. Begin in Mountain Pose (Tadasana). Arms are down by your sides, the feet are together.
2. Keep the weight in your heels. Inhale, lift your arms up as you bend your knees and lower your sit bones toward the floor.
3. Join the hands together at the heart. Exhale and begin to twist to the right. Bring your left elbow to the outside of your right thigh.
4. Keep pressing your hands together and try to spin your chest open to the right.
5. For a deeper challenge, release the left fingertips to the outer edge of the right foot and lift the right arm up. Take your gaze up.
6. Untwist and come back to Utkatasana. Repeat on the left side.
- Massages and tones the digestive organs and kidneys
- Tones and strengthens the thighs, butt and hips
- Improves balance, posture and confidence
- Opens your chest, shoulders and upper back
- Stretches and strengthens your calf muscles
Twisting Side Angle Pose (Parivrtta Parsvakonasana)
1. Start in Downward Facing Dog. Inhale, reach the right leg up. Keep your hips even. Exhale and step your foot all the way through in between your hands. Come onto the ball of your back foot and keep your feet hip distance apart.
2. Reach your hands up and come into Crescent Pose (Anjaneyasana). Draw the frontal hipbones up as you straighten the back leg. Inhale, reach your arms up.
3. Bring your palms together at the heart and begin to reach the crown of your head forward. Swing the left elbow across to meet your right thigh. If this is too intense or if you are losing your balance, drop the left knee to the floor.
4. For a deeper challenge, lower your left hand to the ground on the outer edge of your right foot and take your right arm up. Slowly turn your head to look up. Hold here for a couple of breaths.
5. Look down, place your hands onto the mat and step back to Plank Pose. Press back into Down Dog and repeat on the other side.
- Stretches and strengthens the hips, legs, back and shoulders
- Stimulates digestion
- Squeezes out toxins and waste
- Massages and reduces stress within the abdominal area
- Relieves lower back aches
Goddess Pose with a twist (Utkata Konasana)
1. Begin in Mountain Pose at the front of your mat. Turn to face the right and take a wide stand. Your feet are about one legs distance apart. Rotate your toes out and your heels in.
2. Bend your knees and lower your sit bones down toward the floor. Make sure that your kneecaps are pointing in the same direction as your toes. Keep your spine long and your pelvis neutral. Open your arms out to the sides.
3. Bend your right elbow and lower it onto your right thigh. Begin to reach the left arm up and over your ear. Try to spin your chest open and look up. Hold here for a few breath and come back to center.
4. Repeat on the left side.
5. Come back to center. Release your arms down. Straighten your legs, but keep the toes in the same position. Take a breath.
6. Bend your knees again. Reach your chest forward and bring your fingertips to the floor.
7. Walk your hands over to the inner edge of the right foot. Keep the right fingertips on the floor and begin to reach your left arm up. Spin your chest open and look up. Keep pressing the inner thighs out to keep your knees in line with your toes. Outer hip stays firm.
8. This is a really intense pose. Try to hold here for 3 deep breaths.
9. Look down and lower your left arm to the floor. Walk your hands over to the left and repeat the pose on your left side.
- Strengthens and tones the thighs, butt and core muscles
- Stretches the quadriceps and inner thigh muscles
- Stretches the hips and groins
- Opens your chest and back
- Strengthens the shoulders, and upper back
- Increases digestion and blood flow
Half Lord of Fish Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
1. Begin by sitting down on your mat. Bend your right knee and bring your foot flat on the floor. Bend your left knee and bring your leg underneath you, so your foot slides to the outer edge of your right hip.
2. Lift your right foot off the floor and fold it over your left bent knee. Your foot is flat on the floor on the outside of your left thigh.
3. Bring the right arm behind you and your fingertips to the floor. Take an inhale and lift the left arm up. Exhale, and swing your arm across to the outside of your right thigh. On your next inhale, create a little more length in your spine and lift up though the crown of your head. On the exhale, twist a little deeper to the right. Keep your neck long as you look over your right shoulder.
4. Deeper challenge - Bring your left hand underneath your right knee. Then bring your left hand toward your left hip. Drop your shoulder and lean forward slightly to reach this position. Reach your right arm behind you to clasp your hands together.
- Stimulates and tones the liver, and small and large intestines
- Stretches the back muscles, hips and neck
- Improves flexibility in the hips
- Relieves lower back pain
- Calms the nervous system by simultaneously increasing energy
Photographer: Sarah Desage