Aaah, the word detox.. it's so up for debate. Do we even need it if we live a generally healthy life? Some say yes, some say no. What I say is that if you feel like you would like a detox, then go for it.
Here is a collection of classic yoga poses that help the Liver and Digestive System with their powerful task of constantly, naturally detoxing. Practice them, and its like giving your gut a high 5 of appreciation, without having to cringe at the high 5.
Remember before you begin that anything that pinches or feels wrong is wrong. These poses may feel difficult and the effort may not feel nice, but they shouldn't feel painful. If they do, stop.
Let us Begin
As always begin standing at the front of your mat, or with some space behind you if you're not on a mat. Feet together, stand tall, let your shoulders drop away from your ears and drop your chin towards your chest. Breathe and smile.
Place your hands on your tummy and be sure that as you breathe in you can feel your tummy expand. As you breathe out you can consciously drawer your tummy back against your spine. If this is happening, then your diaphragm is active which means your liver is getting the massage it needs to function well.
Sequence One, the Lunges
1. Step your right foot back behind you so that you are up on the ball of your right foot and your right knee is up off the floor. Your left knee is bent 90 degrees.
Twisted Lunge 1
Twisted Lunge 2
Stay strong here, lift your pelvic floor and drop your right hand down to the floor.
2. Twist and move your left arm up towards the sky, letting your gaze follow. Keep pushing back through the right heel, and as you breath you should be able to feel your tummy move - it gets bigger when you breathe in, and smaller when you breathe out.
3. After at least 5 breaths, take your left hand down to the floor, and raise your right hand up to the sky. Keep pushing through the back heel, keep your pelvic floor strong, smile and breath. You may even be able to get your right hand back behind you if you like the feeling of opening up your chest.
Repeat to the other side, and then step back up to the front of your mat space.
Second sequence - The Triangles
1. Triangle Pose: From standing, you are going to step your right leg behind you again, this time letting the foot sit flat to the floor with the toes pointing outwards. Watch that the outer edge of your back foot doesn't curl off the floor, try to keep your little toe connected to the floor. Ideally you want your right foot to be directly behind the left foot, hips square to the long edge of the mat.
Twisted Triangle Pose
2. Take your arms up parallel to the floor, palms facing downwards.
3. Stand extra tall, let your shoulders melt away from your ears, then push your right hip out away from you, and let your left hand move down towards your inner calf. Rest the back of your hand against the inner calf so that you have to use your abdominal strength to hold you there.
4. Let your right hand point up towards the sky.
5. Breathe, feel and smile.
Rotated Triangle Pose
1. After 5 - 10 deep breaths, treat your arms as if they're propellers and twist so that the right hand moves down towards the floor, and your left hand moves up towards the sky.
2. You can use your right hand to balance yourself on your shin, but remember to keep the pelvic floor and abdominals engaged.
3. Let your gaze follow your elevated hand, smile and breath.
4. Come back up to centre, step to the fort of your mat, then step your left leg behind you and repeat the whole thing to your other side.
Sequence Three - The Seated Pose & Finishing Sequence
1. Seated Twist - Come to sitting with your spine tall, legs outstretched in front of you and toes pointing up to the sky. Check your pelvic floor is lifting and your tummy is moving as you breathe.
2. Bend your right knee, placing the food alongside the opposite thigh.
3. Lift your right arm up alongside your ear, and feel how that enables you to sit a little taller. As you exhale, bend the left elbow and take it across your body so that it rests on the outside of the right knee, your fingers point upwards, palms face outwards.
4. Place your left hand on the floor behind you, and use the strength that comes from pushing that hand into the floor to keep you sitting upright and tall.
5. Turn your gaze behind you, breathe, and smile for 5 - 10 breaths.
Repeat on the other side.
Here is a good moment to pop a basic forward bend into the sequence if you have time, just remember to keep thinking about your pelvic floor as it is key to the power of the forward bend. If you want to soften your legs then do, the main thing is to breathe and move.
It's always advisable to add an upside down pose, especially if you want to stir things up inside, so we'll finish with a gentle Plough Pose.
Avoid this pose if you have neck issues or are menstruating.
1. Plough pose - Lie on your back, arms either side of you
2. Take your legs up over your head so that your feet touch the floor behind your head, or let the knees bend and drop them down either side of your ears. If you close your eyes here you can avoid having to come face to face with your waste line. I do.
3. Take as many breaths as you feel comfortable with here.
If you feel like being extra fabulous you can use your hands to support your back and draw your feet towards the ceiling into a full shoulder stand, which can feel amazing. If it doesn't then stick to Plough.
Come out of the pose using your hands as breaks and gently move each vertebrae at a time towards the floor, until finally you are back at lying down.
The Final Pose - The Fish
1. Lie on your back, lay your arms alongside your body with your palms facing down. Shuffle your arms and hands underneath you so that you are sitting on the tops of your hands, your arms are still straight. Point your toes.
2. Inhale, then as you exhale, bend your elbows and shoot your chest high up into the air, allowing the crown of your head to meet the mat, or even hang suspended above the mat. If your neck feels uncomfortable, you can keep your gaze down the length of your body.
3. Enjoy 5 - 10 breaths here, letting the lungs get a real stretch.
Then gently come back down, take 5 minutes to lie down and rest, and then drink another big glass of water and carry on your day.
The Fish Pose
Sonja Lockyer is the creator of Happy Sexy Mama, a website dedicated to empowering Women through movement, breath, writing and stillness. She runs Happy Sexy Mama Workshops in Mougins Old Town, and runs Happy Sexy Mama Retreats in Mallorca and Greece. Sonja teaches Yoga to private clients and Retreats, and writes for Onboard Online and The Women’s Network.
Best things in life?
Moments when the whole family laugh together.
Definition of a good day?
Any day where I feel absolutely connected to my true self.
Rochelle Schieck, Rebecca Cambell, Liz DiAlto and all Goddesses