Caroline Layzell is taking over blog duties this week. For all those who had a giggle at my introduction to yoga a few weeks ago can now learn from the pro!
If, like me, you are sitting at your desk today reading this article feeling as if you have veered off the healthy path, go easy on yourself.
We may take a vacation, or get busy at work, or general life stuff just gets in the way and our yoga mat gathers a little dust…
Instead of wasting valuable energy looking backwards with regret, challenge yourself and direct your focus on getting back on track. The sooner we start, the sooner we will find our way back to our mats.
It really is that simple.
This is just a blip! And rather than throwing yourself into a high impact ‘let’s catch up on everything we missed’ kind of short term health kick, take it slowly and gently, and take comfort in the journey and use it to feel inspired to continue your efforts longer term.
Our bodies are designed to engage in detoxification every single day. They are are fabulously intelligent and finely tuned machines, that know exactly what we need and when we need it, before we even have a chance to put two and two together!
However, from time to time we all need a gentle nudge in the right direction. And one way to help it along is with a detox yoga practice.
A sprinkling of the benefits:
- Increased energy and passion for life
- Improved sleep patterns
- Glowing skin and shiny hair
- Balanced hormones
- Improved digestion
- Weight loss and increased libido
- Lower blood pressure and cholesterol
- Feeling fabulously wonderful every single day
In a well-rounded yoga practice, every part of the body is pushed, pulled, twisted, turned and tipped upside down.
Yoga can therefore help us release toxins that have built up in the body and need help finding their way out. Yoga helps to flush out the nasty toxins, lower our stress hormones, send more oxygen to our cells, and increase circulation in order to carry nutrients to the cells more efficiently in a way that other sports activities simply can’t do.
Ever have those days when you just can’t get outside of your head?
It happens to the best of us!
In addition to the physical benefits, yoga can also provide a mental detox.
The wonderful thing about yoga is that each new breath is a new moment. Yoga helps you to remain in the present, keeping you moving forward in the direction that makes you come alive, never looking back.
Pranayama is the practice within yoga that refers to yogic breathing. This Sanskrit word literally means extension of life force or vital energy (breath).
The calming and centering aspects of yoga are essential for an all over detox for your mind and body, helping to release physical, mental and emotional toxicity as well.
This sequence has a heap of twists to remove toxins, poses to stimulate digestion, build muscle and strength and effectively calm the mind.
As you work through the poses below, remember to use your inhale to lengthen your body and your exhale to twist, fold or bend a little deeper. Eliminating anything that no longer serves your body well.
Let’s get started!
This sequence will make you more inspired, motivated, and feel more confident that you have the ability and knowledge to make healthier lifestyle decisions.
Three-legged Downward Dog
- Press your hands and fingertips firmly into your mat.
- Place your feet hip width apart with the legs straight and strong.
- Move your hips back and up, away from the wrists.
- Bring your shoulder blades down your back, away from your ears and lengthen through the spine.
- Tuck your chin in and look towards your thighs.
- Square the hips to your mat.
- Reach toes towards the back of the room, creating length through the back of the body.
- Pulse your leg up and down 5-10 times. Release and move to other side.
One-armed Downward Dog
- From downward dog take your left arm to hold the inside of your right ankle.
- Keep your hips square to the top of your mat.
- Draw your left shoulder towards your right ankle, bringing a gentle twist through the base of your spine, shoulders and chest.
- Bring your gaze towards the underside of your right shoulder.
- With each exhale try to bring your left shoulder further underneath your body.
- Hold for 5 breaths. Release and move to other side.
High Lunge Twist Repetitions
- Start in a lunge position with your right left forward.
- Inhale to straighten both legs and lift arms overhead.
- Exhale returning to high lunge, twisting from your core and reaching the left arm forward and right arm back.
- Gaze follows your fingers towards the back of your mat.
- Inhale back to centre. Repeat 10-15 time, then move to the other side.
Side-to-Side Chair Twists
- From standing, inhale bending the knees to bring the thighs parallel to the floor.
- Exhale and bring the arms overhead.
- Tuck the tailbone under to flatten the lower back.
- Draw your belly into spine, engaging your core.
- Look in front of your knees and make sure you can see your toes. If you can’t, sit back until you can.
- Bring your hands to heart centre, inhale to lengthen the torso, and use your exhale to twist to the left and touch your right elbow to the outside of your left knee.
- Inhale back to centre and use your exhale to twist to the other side.
- Repeat 5 times on each side.
Wide-legged Forward Fold with Twist
- Step the feet wide apart, about three to four feet.
- Press the soles of the feet firmly into your mat.
- Rest your hands on your hips.
- Inhale, tuck the tailbone under, and lengthen through the torso.
- Exhale, reach your tailbone back and lower your hands to the floor.
- Take right hand to the left ankle or shin, reach left hand towards the sky, and lean back.
- Hold for 5 deep breaths, and then move to the other side.
- Sit with legs extended in front of you.
- Bend your right knee, crossing it to the outside of the left thigh. Option to keep the left leg straight or bend at the knee like a half-cross-legged seat.
- Hug your right knee into your chest. Bring the right hand behind base of your spine to encourage a tall torso.
- Inhale left arm overheard, then exhale and bend the left elbow, while twisting from the base of your spine and looking over your right shoulder.
- Inhale to lengthen the spine, exhale to deepen the twist.
- Hold for 5 deep breaths and then move to the other side.
- Lower onto your belly.
- Bend your knees, and reach back with both hands to take hold of your ankles or your feet.
- Press the feet into your hands, pushing them back and up as you lift your heart and shoulders into a backbend.
- Hold for 2 deep breaths.
- Your inhale lifts you up higher, and your exhale lowers your forehead back to your mat.
- Repeat 3-5 times.
- Be careful and only try this one if you feel comfortable!
- Begin by lying on your back. Draw your knees into your chest, and slowly raise your feet towards the sky.
- Use your hands to protect your back, keeping your elbows in alignment with your shoulders.
- Straighten your legs in the air and stretch through all of your toes.
- Relax the muscles in your face. Keep your head and neck still while in this pose, do not turn to the side.
- Hold for 10-20 breaths.
- To release, use your hands to protect your back. Bring your legs overhead, and slowly roll down onto your mat one vertebrae at a time.
Wow! Thanks Caroline. They are some impressive yoga poses! Drop us a comment if you’ve tried any of these moves or have any questions.