Spring Clean Your Body With These Detoxifying Yoga Twists
It’s Spring time finally! I love this time of year; and I love spring cleaning. I am a Virgo who’s obsessed with order and detail. I find alignment details in yoga fascinating; and I’m constantly looking for ways to be more organized in my life and in my body. When I’m organized, life feels more organic; I can go with the flow and I feel more on top of my schedule and health.
I’ve never been a fan of extreme cleanses or detoxes, and that’s why I love yoga so much. Yoga means to unite, when we unite our mind and our body in a healthy way, we are already clearing out the clutter. Through breathing and movement we naturally detoxify our bodies as well.
If you want to jumpstart your internal spring cleaning and go a little deeper, you can add a lot of twists to your practice this month. Twists are like wringing out a dirty dish rag. When we twist deeply we stimulate our internal organs and give them a nice massage. After a twisting practice, you’ll feel lighter, more energized and cleaned out!
Here’s a few of my favorite twisting postures:
Twisting Lunge–start in a high lunge pose, press palms together, hinge forward at the waist and press outer elbow in to outer knee. Stay and breathe 5 to 8 breaths, lift to stand and repeat on opposite side.
Kneeling Twisting Lunge with Quad Stretch–lower your back knee to the floor twist around and catch foot with opposite hand. Hold 5-8 breaths, repeat on opposite side.
Revolved Half Moon pose–stand on one foot kick opposite leg behind you in to Warrior 3. Drop the same hand as the lifted leg to floor on the inside of the standing foot (about 10 inches in front of the big toe) and lift your opposite arm up in to a twist. Hold 5-8 breaths repeat on the other side.
Standing Twist–Stand tall lift your right leg in to your chest and hold the outer foot with your left hand. Extend the leg straight as you twist your right arm behind you and look back at your right hand. Hold 5-8 breaths, repeat on opposite side. If too challenging to straighten leg, keep the knee bent and hold the outer knee with your left hand.
Side Crow–With feet and knees together, squat down on to the balls of your feet. Twist your knees as far right as you can then place your left hand in front of your right foot and your right hand shoulder distance from it. Tilt your weight forward and lift your feet up off the floor. Hold for 5-8 breaths, repeat on the opposite side.
Scissor Leg Side Crow–From Side Crow, try extending your bottom leg straight back and your top leg out to the side. Hold 3-5 breaths and try on the other side. This is a challenging pose; but keep at it, and you’ll get it!
Seated Spinal Twist–This is a classic twist! Start seated cross bend your left knee underneath you and cross your right leg on top right foot outside of left knee. Use your lower abdominals to initiate the twist placing your left elbow outside your right knee and your right hand behind your sacrum. Hold 5-8 breaths, counter twist, then switch sides.
Pregnant Twist! Standing Straddle Forward Bend with a Twist–this is one pose I can still do while pregnant. Many closed, deep twists are contraindicated during pregnancy; but this is an open twist so I can safely perform it up until I give birth. Start in a wide straddle bend forward from your waist place your left hand on the floor directly under your shoulder and twist your right arm up to the ceiling. Hold here 5-8 breaths then switch sides.
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is the star of over 100 videos, a contributing editor at Health Magazine and a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. Kristin also appears frequently on television. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!