Detoxifying Yoga Poses & Their Benefits
Almost everyone seems to know that Yoga is great for your back and your overall health. But do you really understand how beneficial each pose can be for your body including muscles, joints, nervous system and even internal organs? Have you ever wondered why you feel great after completing yoga, why things seem calmer and more manageable and your body feels lighter and freer? Lets find out more about some very healing and detoxifying poses, forward bends, twists and inversions. These 3 special types of poses will be the focus for our up coming 2 hour Detox Master class on Saturday 1 November, click here to reserve your place (only 10 spaces left)...
Forward bends are introspective, calming and when held for a long time can be highly restorative for your body. The motion of forward bends extends the spine providing extra space between each vertebra. This provides more nerve and energy flow through the spine. Then bingo! You receive greater energy and clarity in the mind in peaceful yet revitalising way.
As we open the back of the body during a forward bend, there is an opposing compression in the front of the body. This compression and the release that follows when you come back up has great benefit for your abdominal organs. This gentle massage may assist many toxins to be released from these organs thereby increasing the efficiency of digestion and elimination providing better nourishment to the whole body.
Forward bends also assist your nervous system, which is often tired from the excessive stimulation and the endless demands of modern life. When you take time for a forward bending pose, the relaxation response is activated and restless energies are quieted. The associated opening of the spine also assists to release greater life force energy (prana) to the brain.
Examples: standing forward bend, head to knee pose, wide-legged standing forward fold, pigeon pose, child’s pose
The weight of gravity on our spine causes pressure on the intervertebral discs. As you stand and sit during the day these discs compress and loose elasticity and sponginess. Did you know that after the age of 30 these discs generally cease to receive direct blood supply?
During a twist the vertebrae are compressed even further than normal, then when the twist is released the low pressure forces vital fluids into the discs. This will improve the health of your whole spine by reliving pressure on these precious discs and associated nerves of the vertebral column . Twists can assist to alleviate back pain caused by nerve compression.
Importantly, twisting compresses the abdomen squeezing out fluids from the internal organs. This may assist them to remove toxins and metabolic wastes and allow a fresh supply of blood to flow in. Just like squeezing out a muddied sponge in a clean bowel of water!
Examples: Lord of the Fishes, Wise Sage Pose, Revolved Head to knee pose, reclined spinal twist.
Inversions as a group of postures are extremely sacred and powerfully beneficial. Inversions exert a strong influence to counter the effect of gravity on your body. When doing an inversion your intervertebral discs expand, thereby improving the overall health of the spine.
When your legs are pointing toward the sky, venous blood return occurs without the usual muscular activity. This is very restful for the heart, conserves significant energy and places the whole body into a relaxed state. Once in this relaxed stat, stress is dissolved and busy thoughts are calmed. The force of gravity on the legs also assist the drainage of lymph fluids: the body’s natural cleaning systems. If you retain excess fluid on the legs, this will be particularly helpful!
In addition, a number of important glands are benefited from these postures. In shoulder stand and plow pose the throat is compressed. This action helps to stimulate, balance and direct energy flow into two important endocrine glands, the thyroid and parathyroid gland, which are responsible for metabolism amongst other things.
Headstand brings oxygen rich blood flow directly into the brain. The master glands for the whole body (pituitary and pineal) are thereby stimulated. This has flow on effects to many systems including the immune, digestive and reproductive centres.
The heart sends the majority of its oxygen rich blood into the brain. When we are upside down this action is significantly enhanced. This increase in blood flow can assist with mental clarity, memory and concentration.
Examples: Any pose where the head is lower than the heart is considered an Inversion. These include handstand, headstand, shoulderstand, legs up the wall pose and even downward dog as Michael is demonstrating in the above picture!