Yoga for Detox – Do Twisting Yoga Poses Help Us Detox?

yoga for detox

Yoga for detox? Do twisting yoga poses really help us to detox the body? Well, yes and no. We need to step back and look at body mechanics to find the answer.

Toxins - Better out than in! ~ Swee Boon Chai (Tweet this)

The body is like a machine. It must have the right fuel and that fuel must move effectively and efficiently through the system in order for the system to work.  Better put, the circulatory system of the body is the transport system. Its job is to bring nutrients and oxygen to the cells and to remove waste products through metabolism.

The respiratory system works hand in hand with the circulatory system, supplying the blood with oxygen and ridding it of the waste carbon dioxide.

Let us understand the 3 key systems that help in cleansing our body and how yoga poses help improve the functionality of these systems:

1. Circulation System

So circulation and respiration are essential parts of a well-functioning body. The circulatory system is stimulated by movement. That is one of the reasons exercise is so beneficial. This transport system brings important nutrients to the organs of our body and this supports life. The problems come when circulation is limited and/or the body is too laden down with toxins, such as excess fat, to work properly.

Without movement stagnation sets in and when things become stagnant, they cease to flow. Much like a pool of water that sits without movement, eventually that water becomes toxic with waste. The nature of life is to be moving and flowing, never too fast or too slow, but with the right balance. Balance is the key to health. That is why it is important that the circulatory system of our body moves effectively and efficiently.

2. Lymphatic System

Part of the circulatory system is the lymphatic system. Its primary role is to stimulate the spleen and the thymus into releasing lymph, a clear colorless fluid containing white blood cells that help to detoxify the body and support immune functioning. It is the lymphatic system that actually detoxifies the body. But it needs help!

The lymphatic system has no heart to pump the lymph fluid through its vessels. The lymph fluid is driven through the vessels when the vessels are squeezed by the movement of the body. So since it is the lymphatic system’s job to detoxify the body, twists and movements of the body, such as those done in yoga, do help to detoxify the body.

Practicing Hatha Yoga provides the body with movement and twists. Poses such as Half Lord of the Fishes and Seated Twist are excellent poses to add to your yoga workout.These twist and movements improve circulation and therefore improve the functioning of our immune system.

3. Internal Organs

The grey area is whether twists have the force to squeeze the internal organs causing them to release toxins.  Although twists are causing the muscles to squeeze, blood to flow, and help the lymphatic system do its job, the twists do not directly affect the biochemical working of the liver and kidneys which are the primary detoxifying organs of the body.

The liver which is the largest organ in body breaks down nutrients it receives from the blood flow coming from the digestive organs. The liver then processes or detoxifies and passes the blood to the bowels for elimination. It is not the movement through twisting poses, but the movement of the blood flow pushed through by the digestive system that causes the internal organs to detoxify.

The skin is also a major detoxifying organ. When we sweat we remove toxins from the body. In this case holding a pose such as a tree (as opposed to twisting) for an extended amount of time causes us to sweat and remove toxins.

Yoga for detox – Is this true?

Yoga Moves

Breathing and engaging the cardiovascular system, as well as, movement to stimulate the circulatory system, improves blood flow and blood flow is what is needed to remove waste or detoxify the body, including the organs. So in effect, yoga twists such as Half Lord of the Fish and Seated Twist, engage the circulatory system and help the body to detoxify.  But that is also true of Down Dog or any other yoga pose.

When it comes to yoga for detox, it is not so much about twisting as it is about moving.

The Best Detox

The best way to detox the body is to practice a healthy lifestyle which includes a healthy diet and exercise. Yoga is a great way to get the body moving and at the same time relax the physical and mental tension that can get built up in the body-mind from stress. Stress is a major factor when it comes to a toxic system.  So quieting the mind, along with movement and a healthy lifestyle, is something we should practice every day if we want to keep this miraculous thing called the body in tip top shape!

Move, twist and breathe every day and I bet you will feel a lot less toxic and a lot more at peace. Finding peace is one of the objectives of yoga. Moving, twisting and breathing are part of the practice of yoga. So I guess you could say, in a sense, that twists really do detoxify the body, as well as clear the mind and enlighten the spirit. With a flexible, balanced, strong body and a clear and quiet mind, toxic energy doesn’t stand a chance! Keep moving!

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About the Author

Doctor Lynn has over 25 years of experience in the health and fitness field. She is a Naturopathic Doctor, a registered yoga therapist and producer of Doctor Lynn’s Anti-Aging Workout DVDs. She has written numerous books and articles on fitness and health. She teaches yoga, dance and spin, and runs a private practice in Los Angeles.

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