I have to confess I did not push the Christmas cookie tray away as often as I should have over the holidays, but at least I can report that I started 2013 right – with a yoga detox. Kelly, my favorite yoga teacher, has studied with Seane Corn, and on New Year's Day she led a class based on Seane Corn's detox flow, which Kelly considers the best detox plan. We spent an hour and a half moving through poses to begin cleansing our bodies, and by the end of the class I did feel both rested and refreshed.
How do you detox your body by doing yoga? The idea is to perform a series of asanas that encourage circulation in your body (through your bloodstream or lymph system) that will hurry cellular wastes toward elimination, whether it's via sweat, breath or through your kidneys and colon.
What you want to accomplish through the series of asanas or poses is to stretch your body, then compress it and finish up with a series of twists before enjoying a much deserved savasana.
To begin, as with any yoga class, you want to center yourself and quiet your mind with breathing exercises. Not only does breathing oxygenate our blood and remove carbon dioxide and other waste products of metabolism; proper breathing can even aid digestion. Taking time in yoga class to sit straight, giving your lungs plenty of room to inflate, and to breathe in and out in a measured way, say to six counts, can help invigorate all the nooks and crannies of your lungs.
For the first sequence, use asanas that make your body longer, like crescent and the warrior poses. Then, move on to asanas that compress, like forward fold. For the third part of your detox yoga routine, try some simple twists like revolved triangle. Inversions, which can be as simple as legs-up-a-wall or as advanced as forearm balance and headstand, uses gravity to encourage blood flow back to the heart.
By the time you rest in savasana, you will have given your body a helping hand in recovering from an indulgent holiday season. Here's to a healthy 2013!
I wish I could take you with me to Kelly's next class. I promise you'd leave feeling whole and happy. To do a nice detox class at home, Seane Corn puts out a series of detox instructional DVDs that you can follow for your own yoga detox. Or check out the Twist and Detox video from Yoga Journal on YouTube.