Detoxify Your Body: Twisted Yoga Poses

Spring is here! Well...almost. I can feel it creeping in. This is the perfect time to declutter, cleanse and make space in your environment, in your body and in your mind. I'm ready to shed some layers. let go of winter and feel light. Are you?

Below are yoga poses that involve twisting. Twists are cleansing for the body and help ignite the digestive system, which leads to higher energy, a stronger immune system and even, clear skin.

Make sure to enter twists gently, distributing the energy through the entire spine. Deepen the breath and use the breath as your guide. If the breath feels constricted, come out of the twist a bit. We want to be breathing fully and deeply, even in a twisted pose-- that way, we get the maximum benefit of the pose!

We can also use the breath in our twists as an energetic catalyst. While in your twist, inhale new and invigorating energy. Exhale stale energy or whatever is no longer serving you. Soften your body and continue to take cleansing breaths. Try to stay in each twist for at least five breaths. Come out of the pose slowly. Breathe. Breathe more. 
 

4 poses to cleanse + detoxify

1. Simple Seated Twist

Come into a cross-legged position. Inhale, lifting both arms toward the sky. Twist toward the left, placing your right hand on the left knee and placing your left hand behind you on the ground. Inhale to lengthen through the spine and lift through the crown of the head. Exhale to twist deeper, first at your navel center then your mid back then your upper back and finally through your neck and gaze. Stay for five breaths, continuing to lengthen on the inhale and twist on the exhale. After five breaths, take it to the other side, twisting to your right and placing your left hand on your right knee.

Come into a cross-legged position. Inhale, lifting both arms toward the sky. Twist toward the left, placing your right hand on the left knee and placing your left hand behind you on the ground. Inhale to lengthen through the spine and lift through the crown of the head. Exhale to twist deeper, first at your navel center then your mid back then your upper back and finally through your neck and gaze. Stay for five breaths, continuing to lengthen on the inhale and twist on the exhale. After five breaths, take it to the other side, twisting to your right and placing your left hand on your right knee.

2. Half Lord of the Fishes Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Plant your right foot on the outside of your left knee. You can stay here or slide your left heel in towards your right sit bone. Bring your right fingertips to the floor behind you. Inhale, reach your left arm high toward the sky. Exhale, hook your left elbow outside your right knee and twist. Inhale to lengthen through the spine and exhale to twist. Twist first from your belly, then your mid back, then your upper back, and finally through your neck and gaze. Think about taking your right shoulder back as you draw the right shoulder blade in and down the back. Take 5 breaths, breathing deep into the entire spine. Come out of the twist slowly and switch sides.

Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Plant your right foot on the outside of your left knee. You can stay here or slide your left heel in towards your right sit bone. Bring your right fingertips to the floor behind you. Inhale, reach your left arm high toward the sky. Exhale, hook your left elbow outside your right knee and twist. Inhale to lengthen through the spine and exhale to twist. Twist first from your belly, then your mid back, then your upper back, and finally through your neck and gaze. Think about taking your right shoulder back as you draw the right shoulder blade in and down the back. Take 5 breaths, breathing deep into the entire spine. Come out of the twist slowly and switch sides.

3. Revolved Crescent Lunge (Parivrtta Anjaneyasana)

Start standing at the top of your mat. Exhale, fold forward. Inhale, lift halfway and exhale, step the left foot toward the back of your mat coming into a high lunge. Check to see that your right knee is lined up over your right ankle. Keep your left heel lifted and press into your left toes. Press down into both feet and rise with an inhale, lifting your arms toward the sky. Exhale, bring your palms together in front of your heart and twist toward the right, hooking your left elbow to the outside of your right knee. Press your palms together. Inhale and peel your right shoulder back, opening the right side of your chest to the sky. Inhale and reach your heart toward your hands, Exhale and twist deeper. Continue to press into your back big toe and press through the back heel to engage through the extended leg. Take 5 breaths before rising back to crescent lunge and switching sides.

Start standing at the top of your mat. Exhale, fold forward. Inhale, lift halfway and exhale, step the left foot toward the back of your mat coming into a high lunge. Check to see that your right knee is lined up over your right ankle. Keep your left heel lifted and press into your left toes. Press down into both feet and rise with an inhale, lifting your arms toward the sky. Exhale, bring your palms together in front of your heart and twist toward the right, hooking your left elbow to the outside of your right knee. Press your palms together. Inhale and peel your right shoulder back, opening the right side of your chest to the sky. Inhale and reach your heart toward your hands, Exhale and twist deeper. Continue to press into your back big toe and press through the back heel to engage through the extended leg. Take 5 breaths before rising back to crescent lunge and switching sides.

4. Revolved Chair Pose (Parivrtta Utkatasana)

Start standing at the top of your mat. Bring your legs and feet together. Bend your knees and sink your hips like you're sitting in a chair. Lift your arms high on the inhale. Look down and make sure you can see all ten toes, aligning your hips with your heels. Hug the inner thighs together and slightly scoop the tailbone to engage the lower abdomen. Exhale, bring your palms together in front of your heart and twist to the right, hooking the left elbow to the outside of the right knee. Check to make sure the knees are in one line and continue to squeeze the inner thighs and keep the weight in your heels. Inhale to lengthen through the crown of the head and exhale to twist deeper, peeling your right shoulder back and opening through the chest. Press your palms together and breathe for five breaths before switching sides.

Start standing at the top of your mat. Bring your legs and feet together. Bend your knees and sink your hips like you're sitting in a chair. Lift your arms high on the inhale. Look down and make sure you can see all ten toes, aligning your hips with your heels. Hug the inner thighs together and slightly scoop the tailbone to engage the lower abdomen. Exhale, bring your palms together in front of your heart and twist to the right, hooking the left elbow to the outside of the right knee. Check to make sure the knees are in one line and continue to squeeze the inner thighs and keep the weight in your heels. Inhale to lengthen through the crown of the head and exhale to twist deeper, peeling your right shoulder back and opening through the chest. Press your palms together and breathe for five breaths before switching sides.


I hope you enjoy these cleansing, detoxifying poses and they get you excited for warmer weather and less clothes! The most important part of any pose is that you are connected to your breath, allowing the breath to guide your movement and take you to your full expression of the pose. And as always, feel free to contact me with any questions or comments!

Now, let's hear your voice! What are some methods you use to cleanse and detoxify your life? Do you like to focus on the body, mind, environment or diet? How did these poses feel for you? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Lots of love,

xo Sarah