Asanas and Breathing Exercises That Detox

Just as spring is the time of year when Mother nature rejuvenates herself, it’s also a natural time for you to rejuvenate your body and mind. Take advantage of this opportunity to do a little self-care and bring your body back into balance with nature's rhythms with yoga, breathing, and meditation. 

Forward Folds:

There are many asanas (poses) in yoga that will help you rid your body of toxins. The most effective are those that directly stimulate the liver, kidneys, digestive system and lymph. These pose compresses the body’s digestive system and increases both the flow of blood and lymph into and out of the liver. Examples forward-folds include a standing rag-doll forward fold or a seated butterfly forward fold.


All asanas that have a twisting component are great for stimulating the digestive system and helping the colon to eliminate more effectively. Eagle pose, though not technically a twist, is another option for compressing our extremities and flushing out toxins. Examples of twists include crescent lunge twist, open-armed chair twist, seated twists, dragonfly twist, and revolved triangle.


Inversions beneficial for energizing the mind and flushing out congestion in the head. Examples of inversions include handstands, shoulder-stand, legs-up-the-wall pose, downward facing dog, standing forward fold, and plow pose.  


Oxygenating the blood helps purify the body and moves toxins out through our exhalations, sweat, and lymph. One of the most effective pranayama breathing exercises for this is Kapalabhati, also known as “shining skull breath.” Kapalabhati works by rapidly oxygenating the cells in the brain and clearing out stale air in our lungs. It increases the flow of prana (life-force energy) to our subtle body and lifts our mood, clears our mind and increases our energy level.


Renewing with Mindfulness and Meditation:

While detoxing our body is an important aspect of spring cleaning, clearing out the clutter of our mind is equally beneficial. There are two ways we can do this. The first and one of my favorites are by enjoying a digital detox. Just like we can go on a juice fast for a few days to start our spring detox, we can also unplug from our devices, smart phones, social media accounts, and habitual email checking to gain a fresh perspective on life and what matters most to us. Unplugging also soothes anxiety.

The second way to detox our mind is through meditation. When we learn to mindfully watch our thoughts, you’re making room for new, more beneficial thought patterns. Spring is the perfect time to start a meditation practice. You can take the metaphor of a blossom opening over the course of a few weeks. Start with a goal of five minutes each morning and work your way up to 20 minutes every day. Morning is the most advantageous time to meditate because it sets a positive tone for the rest of your day.