By Nguyet Tran
The idea of a detoxifying is usually associated with the physical being—removing harmful substances such as alcohol, sugar, caffeine, tobacco, from the body. There is little evidence that detox diets remove toxins, however the practice of being healthier in what you consume does have some benefits. The pursuit of replacing harmful products with healthy nutritional food will make you feel better and possibly lead to weight loss, too.
Detoxing emotions on the other hand, has more to do with the spirit than the body. Emotions can become harmful when they lead to self-doubt, anxiety, or stress and often need to be reset. Being able to lessen the negativity of these emotions will not only make you feel better, it will also help you to feel increased energy and to be in a better position to help others. Yoga helps naturally detox emotions by focusing on the restoration of balance between the body, mind, and spirit.
There are seven chakras (energy centres) in the body that certain yoga poses stimulate. When they are blocked, your body and mind are not balanced and unwanted symptoms such as anxiety or low self-esteem can arise. Yoga poses stimulate these energetic centres, unblocking them and lessening negative symptoms. Breathing is also integral in yoga. Being aware of how you breathe teaches you to breathe deeply, helping you to relax the body and calm the mind. Yoga provides a long-term solution and one that becomes more effective with ongoing practice. There are many poses in yoga that can help release blockages in the chakras, enabling you to build a stronger and more peaceful you. Below are eight beginner poses that will release emotions, cultivate balance, relieve stress and reset the digestive tract to improve overall health.
While this article provides simplified descriptions of the poses, we recommend that you work with a qualified teacher, like those here at the Koh Samui Yoga Retreat. Visit Natural Detox and engage in daily yoga, a la carte, or as a part of their detox packages, balancing out cardio and strength training with organic foods. Our experienced practitioners can help you explore different methods to improve overall health. Having this guidance initially ensures you get the most from your practice, and the added benefit knowing that you’re relaxing into correct structure, alignment and understanding of each pose and its purpose can help to facilitate a feeling of safety which can relieve stress.
YOGA BEGINNER POSES
#1 Bharadva’s Twist
The Bharadvaja’s twist stimulates the root and heart chakras. The heart chakra is associated with love and compassion; unblocking this chakra will help you feel strong and confident. The pose is easy to perform: sitting cross-legged with your spine straight and tall, breathe, twist and hold your upper torso one way, then the next. This simple pose is great to stretch the back, neck, and legs.
To reduce stress, anxiety, and fatigue, and to relieve back aches and insomnia, the bridge pose engages the heart chakra, while opening the chest, strengthening the thighs, and stretching the spine. While lying on your back, bend the knees, lift your pelvis while keeping your shoulders on the floor. Remember to breathe. When done correctly, this pose should release stress.
Start on your hands and knees and curl your spine upward–like a cat enjoying a good scratch. This pose will release tension in the heart chakra, promoting energy flow, creativity and learning. It stretches the abdomen and back, which is essential for core strength and balancing of the emotions.
This deep-squat pose stimulates the navel chakra, in turn helping you feel confident and vitalised. It promotes core strength while increasing the tone of your thighs and feet, and helps improve toe mobility. This pose is a little more challenging, so remember to breathe deeply to focus and centre your energy through the release of built up tension.
Balasana influences the navel chakra, which, if in a weakened state, can leave you feeling sluggish with low self-esteem. Kneel on the mat with your toes touching and your knees spread just a bit farther than the width of your shoulders. Then stretch your torso and arms forward as far as you can comfortably go. This is a resting pose, so hold it for 30 seconds to several minutes. It stretches the thighs, back, arms, and torso, relieving tension.
The cobra pose clears the sacral, navel, and heart chakras, and stimulates pleasure, emotions, and creativity. Lying on your stomach, place your hands on the mat in position with your shoulders. Slowly, push up on your hands, stretching your torso up and out and tipping your head back slightly, while keeping your pelvis, thighs, legs, and feet flat on the mat. The cobra pose stretches the back, neck, and abdomen, relieving stress and anxiety.
#7 Ujjayi Pranayama
This breathing exercise stimulates the root, sacral, navel, heart, and throat chakras. You can do this while sitting, standing, or even meditating. This exercise may feel a little strange at first, especially if you’ve never considered breathing as an exercise unto itself.
Inhale through your nose, and exhale through a slightly open mouth, forcing the air across the back of your throat to create a “Haa” sound. Hold the “Haa” for the entire exhalation. Repeat. Once comfortable with the practice, you can close your mouth, exhaling through the nose. You should still be able to hear (and concentrate on) the soft hissing produced by forcing the breath over the back of the throat.
Often used at the end of a yoga session, the corpse pose may look easy, but many find it difficult. The pose is to lie flat on your back with arms and legs fully extended; the goal is to relax with attention. This is good for lowering blood pressure, decreasing your heart rate, and slowing your breathing to create a state of relaxation and rejuvenation. With a little practice, this relaxation pose is quite balancing.
Emotions are a funny thing, they bring you the highs and lows in life, and are generally accepted as evidence that you are alive and functioning within the norms of society. Keeping negative emotions pent up inside can have damaging effects—from tension in your body to stress in your mind. Yoga is a simple proven method of learning to focus, release, and relax. With instruction at the outset, yoga can become a regular practice in the privacy of your own home, as well as a philosophy to live, be and surrender by. Visit Natural Detox to learn a practice that’s perfectly suited for you.