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8 Yoga Poses to Detox Your Body

Confession: Every year, come middle of December, we’re wearing only our stretchiest pants — and lamenting that there are still two weeks of holiday feasts. If you’re like us and feel a bit weighed down by all the cocktails and cookies, grab your yoga mat and do the twist.

A series of twisting poses and inversions (when the head is below the heart) is an ideal way to wring out the holidays and ring in the new year. By boosting circulation and stimulating the digestive and lymphatic systems, these 8 yoga poses can help put you back on track.

yoga for detox - revolved chair

Revolved Chair Pose

Start with your feet together at the top of your mat. Bring your hands to prayer in front of your chest. Bend your knees and push your butt back, as if you were sitting in a chair. Bring your left elbow to the outside of your right knee, twisting at the waist. Keep your back flat and your nose in line with your fingertips or look up to the sky. Inhale slowly and deeply. Exhale slowly and fully. Repeat that breathing pattern four more times. Untwist. Stand up straight. Repeat on the other side.

yoga for detox - eagle pose

Eagle Pose

Start with your feet together at the top of your mat. Cross your arms at the elbows, left under right, winding them together like vines. Try to touch your left fingers to your right wrist. Transfer your weight to your right foot. Cross your left leg over your right leg. Try to wrap your left toes behind your right calf. Bend your knees and push your butt back, as if you were sitting in a chair. Try to keep your hips square to the front of the room. Inhale slowly and deeply. Exhale slowly and fully. Repeat that breathing pattern four more times. Unwind your legs and arms. Stand up straight. Repeat on the other side.

yoga for detox - forward fold

Wide-Legged Forward Fold (With or Without a Twist)

Stand with your feet about 3 feet apart, toes turned slightly inward. Inhale your arms out to a T. Exhale as you fold at the waist. Place your hands on the floor under your face. Drop your head. Take five deep breaths. To add a cleansing twist: Keep your left hand on the floor under your face. Keep your arm straight and lift your right hand toward the sky, twisting at the waist, looking up to your hand while reaching the crown of your head to the front of the room. Try to keep your hips level with the ground. Take five deep breaths. Return your hand to the ground and repeat on the other side. To come up, place your hands on your hips, rise with a flat back on the inhale.

yoga for detox - seated twist

Seated Spinal Twist

Start in a cross-legged position on the floor. Place your left foot outside your right thigh. Inhale to sit up straight and tall. Place your left hand on the ground behind you. Exhale to twist to the left, placing your right hand or your right elbow outside your left thigh. Inhale and exhale slowly and fully, sitting up taller with the inhale and twisting deeper with the exhale. Repeat that breathing pattern four more times. Untwist. Repeat on the other side.

yoga for detox - head to knee pose

Head-to-Knee Pose

Start in a seated position on the floor with both legs out long in front of you. Bend your left knee and place your left foot on your right inner thigh. Flex your right toes. On the inhale lift your arms over your head. On the exhale, bend at the waist and reach your arms and torso out long over your straight right leg. Try to keep your back flat and reach the crown of your head to the front of the room. Take five deep breaths and then rise up slowly. Repeat on the other side.

yoga for detox - shoulder stand

Shoulder Stand

Start lying on your back with your legs in the air, feet over hips. Lower your legs toward your face and lift your hips. Roll your shoulders under your body and support your back with your hands. Look toward your navel (do not look side to side!). Straighten your legs as much as you can and reach your feet toward the ceiling with the goal of getting your hips right over your shoulders.  Inhale slowly and deeply. Exhale slowly and fully. Repeat that breathing pattern four more times. Lower your toes over your head to plow.

yoga for detox plow pose

Plow

Start in a shoulder stand or skip shoulder stand and start lying on your back with your legs in the air, feet over hips. Lower your toes over your head until they touch the floor. Take five deep breaths. Slowly roll out of the pose until you are lying flat on the floor.

yoga for detox - supine twist

Supine Spinal Twist

Start lying flat on your back with your arms out to a T. Bring your right knee to your chest, keeping your left leg out long. Bring your right knee across your body to the left, twisting at the waist. Keep both shoulders pressing into the floor. Turn your head to the right. Inhale slowly and deeply. Exhale slowly and fully. Repeat that breathing pattern four more times. Bring your right knee back across your body to your chest and then out long beside your left. Repeat on the other side.

Do this sequence whenever you feel like your digestion can use a boost.

Photos: Carl Madaffari

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