Starting the new year off with a detox? Give yourself an extra good start with a few simple yoga poses to help cleanse your body and clear your mind.
"Yoga is an excellent support for any kind of detox, as the instant feelgood factor inspires you to stick to your new health plan says Helen Noakes of yoga retreat company Reclaim Your Self.
1. Seated forward bend (paschimottanasana)
Find comfortable sitting position (you may need to sit on a small cushion) with your legs straight in front of you and your knees slightly bent and your heels on the ground.
Allow the pelvis rest deeply into the ground, with back of your legs resting into the earth and the heels lengthening away from body. Feel your long thigh bones being pulled up into your hip joints.
Your upper body is then free to fold over the legs with the breath. Your spine should release in a wave like motion. Don't try to grab the feet or reach or push for anything. Your back can be rounded or lengthened.
Once you have reached a place of comfort, rest there for 5 to 10 breaths.
Good for: massaging the digestive organs and calming a distracted mind.
Expert tip: Bend your knees to make it easier.
2. Tree pose (vrksasana)
Choose a standing leg. Take a step forward and plant the heel down, the side of the foot down, the ball of your foot down and then the toes.
Then take other leg and gently bend your knee and place it onto a point on the inside of the other leg. It can be placed on the lower or upper leg depending on your balancing skills.
Keep your hips and ribs level and facing forward while the knee moves out to the side with each breath. Let your arms float into a position which is comfortable with your shoulders relaxed.
Hold for 3 to 5 breaths. Gently come down stand in mountain pose (tadasana) and then repeat for the other leg.
Good for: internal balance, mental focus, and co-ordination.
Expert tip: Awareness of your feet is essential. You can stand by wall for balance. Keep your eyes focused in front of you not down or up.
3. Half bridge pose (setu bandha sarvangasana)
Lie on your back in with your knees bent and your heels close to the sitting bones. Lengthen your arms down to towards the heels.
Inhale, then exhale gently, peeling the pelvis off the floor, then the lower and upper back. Rest on your shoulder blades and back of the head.
Keep lengthening your hands down towards the feet. Remain here for 2 to 5 breaths, then slowly roll back down.
Good for: energising the body, and stimulating the endocrine and nervous systems - instrumental in regulating mood, metabolism, breathing and... feeling pleasure.
Expert tip: Press your inner feet and arms actively into the floor while in the pose. It will relax your shoulders and enable your spine to open.
How are you feeling now?
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