Yoga to Purify and Detoxify the Body

yoga poses, CNY Healing Arts CenterIt is easy to sway toward the holiday cookies, new year’s dips, super bowl pizza and then when mid-February (ok, maybe March) rolls around we tend to remember our healthy New Year’s resolutions.  At CNY living healthy is EASY.  Yoga Classes, Meditation, Massage, Acupuncture are just a few of the ways to purify the body and start the year off right!

The importance of Detoxification for Body:
We are constantly exposed to toxins from our air, water, cleaning products, processed foods and emotional toxins induced by stress.  If you are trying to become pregnant, are pregnant or breastfeeding the health of your body is critical.  Think of your body as a dirty wet washcloth full of toxins.  Yoga helps to ring out that cloth!  Yoga does this by stimulating and purifying the lymphatic system, circulatory system, respiratory system, by bringing health to our digestive tract, calming the mind and stimulating the internal organs.

Detoxify the Lymphatic System with Yoga:
The Lymphatic System cleanses itself through gravity and movement.  Moving yourself through various yoga poses (Asana’s) helps to “pump and cleanse” the lymphatic system.   In the yoga classes at CNY Healing Arts, your body will moved though different planes of movement giving each area of the body a chance to purify in a safe and healthy way. The lymphoid tissue defends the body against infections and the spread of tumors, so keeping the lymphatic system pure will bring great healing benefits to the body.  Here is a pose that helps move Lymph:

Viparita Karani (legs up the wall pose) will allow gravity to move lymph out of the legs.  Just relax on your back with your legs straight up a wall.  If you are pregnant, this may be uncomfortable (for about 30% of pregnant women in their third trimester).  If you lay on your back during pregnancy it can put pressure on your blood vessels and lower your blood pressure.  Listen to your body.  If you’re pregnant, come out of the pose if you feel uncomfortable! Only stay in the pose for 1-2 minutes if you do feel comfortable.  For non-pregnant people you can hold the pose for 5-10 minutes.

Strengthen the Circulatory System with Yoga:
We all know how important it is to have a strong healthy heart.  When you are trying to conceive your heart will help keep you emotionally strong during what can be challenging times for some families. The heart Chakra (anahata) is the energy center to manifest love (a.k.a “a little bundle of love”) to your life!  During pregnancy your body and heart have to work “overtime” to pump extra blood though the body.

So, how does the circulatory system detox the body anyway?  By exchange of gasses from parts of the body, transporting waste to our excretory system, helping maintain our pH,  and much more.  Keeping the heart healthy will keep you clean, strong and surrounded by love!  Try this pose to bring health to your heart!

* Virabhadrasana (Warrior One) will bring you more cardiovascular stamina. Your heart will pump blood through your body at a stronger rate so your body can maintain itself better.  Stand in a lunge with your left knee bent over your left ankle and your right leg stretched out behind you.  Your hips should be squared forward.  Reach the arms up with the palms facing each other.  Let the shoulders stay soft down the spine while the fingertips extend upward.  Let your spine grow long and equally activate out through both legs.  Switch sides after 5 breaths.

Purify your Respiratory System with Yoga:
Prana, or “life force energy” is utilized through the breath in yoga.  A deep fluid breath is one of the most important aspects of a yoga practice.  In fact, in the 8-limbs (or pathways) of yoga, pranayama is listed as one of the main aspects of a well-rounded practice.  Our respiratory system has an immune defense of it’s own and also nourishes our body’s cells in doing their detox jobs.  Try this pranayama technique to purify your respiratory system:

* Belly Breath – sit comfortably in a chair.  Let your hands rest on your belly.  As you inhale draw the breath down toward the navel center, relax the belly outward away from the spine.  As you inhale, pull the naval center inward and let the breath rise up and out of the body.  By using the muscles of the belly to assist in your pranayama you will pull the breath to the deeper parts of the lungs.

Promote proper Digestion and Elimination with Yoga:
You are what you eat!  Eating well is crucially important to our health both physically and emotionally.  If you eat healthy your body still needs to be able to properly digest and eliminate your food to maintain health.  Issues such as gas, bloating and constipation are all digestive problems that can be avoided with awareness of your diet and yoga for digestion and elimination!  Try this pose sequence to help with all three of the digestive problems mentioned above:

* Belly Rotations – Sit with your legs crossed and your sit on a folded blanket.  Rest your hands on your lap.  As you inhale sweep your body in a clock-wise arch forward, as you exhale round your back behind the sit bones and continue with the clock-wise circle.  Your torso will be making big circular movements around your sit bones as you connect with your breath.  Try to bring movement to the entire spine.  Switch directions after 5-10 rotations.  This exercise is recommended before you eat.  It helps to stimulate your digestive juices and massages the intestinal tract to promote elimination.

Christa Tyson, RYT and Doula