Have a holiday hangover? Try these yoga poses to help detox and rebalance your body.
The New Year is a popular time to think about detox—to cleanse all that holiday indulgence and start the new calendar year out fresh. The big secret about detoxification, though, is that your body does it every day, all the time, no matter what you are eating or drinking and whether you are thinking about it or not! Your body is a fantastic detoxification machine—that’s the purpose of that big beautiful liver. Of course, alcohol, cigarettes, sugar, and highly processed foods can give our liver more work to do, but yoga can help make that process a little easier on our bodies.
In general, when we are stressed, our bodies are more focused on whatever survival need is most imminent and will be less focused on effectively digesting our foods. Yoga can help trigger the parasympathetic nervous system, which balances our organs to better process what we are receiving from our external environment. What’s more, certain postures can give the organs a little flush of blood and energy and help the lymph move through the body so that detoxification process works a little easier. In any case, it will tend to make us feel better, especially if we’ve got a little holiday hangover. Here are three poses you can try in sequence. It’s quite relaxing and would also be a lovely sequence to do before bed:
Lie down on your belly and then prop yourself up on your elbows. The elbows can be right under your shoulders if comfortable, but if that feels like too much on your back, walk the elbows forward a little bit. Focus on relaxing your belly and breathing into the ground. This will gently massage your organs, giving them a little squeeze and release with each breath. It is also very healing for the lower back to rest in this position for a little while. Hold for 10 breaths or as long as it’s comfortable.
Lay on your back and put your feet on the floor. Shift your hips slightly to the right, pick up your knees again, and then drop them over to the left. Extend your right arm out to the right. As long as your lower back feels safe, breathe down into your belly 10 times or more. Then switch sides. Any twist is good for squeezing the belly, not to mention resetting the spine and opening the chest, but this variation is known to be calming as well, which is especially helpful for the effective function of your digestion, immune system, and hormonal balance.
Come to your back again with your feet on the floor. Lift up your hips and put a yoga block or pillow under them to elevate your hips. The prop should be right on your sacrum, the back of your pelvis, not into the small vertebrae of your lower back. You may widen your feet and let your knees fall into each other. Focus again on breathing into a really soft belly, allowing it to drop back toward your heart on your exhale. The slight inversion helps relax the belly muscles, which means the organs may get a little more space to move and flush with blood. It will also help move the lymph through the nodes in your belly, supporting your immune system as well. Take at least ten long deep breaths here.
Your body may not be the only thing that could use a detox. Try these yoga poses for an emotional detox for anxiety.