We can’t stress enough the importance of offering our bodies a recess from our daily overconsumption of food and beverages. Throughout the year our bodies accumulate toxins, both physical and emotional. We eat the wrong foods, drink the wrong drinks. We over occupy our minds with negative thoughts and stress and fear. On top of that many of us don’t get enough sleep and resist even basic exercise. Daily life begins to drain us and finally, we reach a point where everything is “too much” to handle. Under such circumstances, our health can become compromised.
At Ananda Yoga and Detox Center we have encountered many guests who have reached this point. They struggle with the issues of not being able to control their weight, various body and skin ailments, and their stress levels. For us, the answer for everyone is the same–give your body and mind a proper rest.
Scientific research has analysed and demonstrated the importance of fasting on our overall health. It shows how fasting can help our bodies can become more effective and our mental state less problematic. Fasting can also improve our blood circulation making the distribution of blood, rich with oxygen and nutrients, to our organs more efficient. Improved circulation can also promote the exchange of toxins and gases which can then be eliminated from our liver, kidneys, lungs, intestines and skin.
But fasting in itself is not enough. Our bodies need a daily minimum of gentle movement and proper breathing. Therein lies the heart of our approach in our detox fasting programs on Koh Phangan Thailand – our detox yoga approach.
Why Detox Yoga?
The benefits of yoga for our body and mind are well known. When you combine our special detox yoga sequence with your fasting, the benefits multiply three-fold. Our detox yoga sequences are based on promoting your detox experience at Ananda Yoga and Detox Center. But the sequence can also serve as a gentle stand-alone sequence so feel free to try this at home. All of our detox yoga sequences include inversions, twists, forward bends, and balances. They also focus on breathing, meditation, self-massage techniques, and of course, relaxation. All of these yoga poses and techniques are known for their detoxifying and calming effect.
Twisted yoga poses, for example, are a detox yoga go-to. The basic principle is that the compression of a body area through twisting allows for a fresh supply of oxygenated blood to move into that area upon release. You can feel this if you are focusing your concentration and breathing quietly. Inversions, of course, stimulate circulation, a basic health necessity, and balance poses are the first step towards concentration from which grows our meditation. The forward bends that we include in this detox yoga sequence can provide a massage of digestive system but they also promote withdrawal from the external world and for that alone are hugely beneficial.
The poses are listed below with brief instructions and elaborations. Pop over to see my video class on YouTube which I will be releasing soon. (I will update with a link when I do.)
Our Detox Yoga Flow
1. Begin in a kneeing position in the center of your mat. Start your practice with 5 soft nasal breaths.
2. Press back into Downward Dog. Feel free to keep your knees as bent as necessary. Hold for 5 breaths. Downward Dog is a basic inversion pose and can help to stimulate the circulation system.
3. Drop down onto your hands and knees and expel the breath forcefully through the mouth. Push back into Downward Dog through child. Repeat this action three times. This is a lion’s breath exercise which is also known as Simhasana Pranayama. It stimulates the throat chakra which is associated with the thyroid gland and our metabolism.
4. Come back to your knees for 5 soft nasal breaths again. Press back into Downward Dog and hold for 5 breaths.
5. Extend one leg to the ceiling for a one-legged extended Downward Dog. This pose helps us to focus and accentuates the effects of Downward Dog on our circulation system. Repeat on the other side.
6. Walk your feet up to behind your hands. Relax into a forward bend here. Keep it soft and continue to feel the reversal of your circulation system and the lengthening of the spine and hamstrings.
7. Walk your feet back to Downward Dog then drop into child to allow the circulation system to normalise.
8. From child walk your hands to one side and stretch through the side body. Hold for 5 breaths and then repeat on the other side.
9. Push back into Downward Dog and then step your right foot forward into a yoga lunge position. Hold for 5 breaths and then repeat on the other side. This is the heating part of the practice. You can accentuate the heating action by adding vinyasas between poses or by adding additional standing positions.
10. From Downward Dog step your right foot forward again. Drop your back knee, square the hips then twist over the front knee. Hold for 5 breaths then try to move deeper into the pose and hold for another 5 breaths. Repeat on the other side. Finish this small sequence by pushing back into Downward Dog.
11. From Downward Dog walk your feet up towards your hands and come to standing. Balance in tree pose. To make this pose more challenging you can balance in half lotus tree or use the more familiar tree pose. Hold for 5 breaths on each side then repeat holding for 10 breaths on each side.
12. Vinyasa to the floor.
13. Take a variation of seated forward bend. Breathe. As above the point of this pose is not to go deep into a stretch though that can feel good but to withdraw the senses from the outside world.
Optional vinyasa to keep building heat.
14. From seated forward bend take Janu Sirasana or Half lotus forward bend.
15. At this point in the class, we want to start working on seated twists. There are many options for this moving from simple twists to more complicated ones. I recommend that you choose a comfortable seated twist and then hold it for an extended period breathing softly.
16. Come to a lying down position and draw one knee into your chest using this to compress the abdominal region. Repeat on the other side. Repeat pulling both knees in.
17. Having completed the main part of the class we recommend the following to prepare for relaxation.
Legs up the wall. Hold for 3 minutes
18. Reclined twist. Hold for 3 mins on each side
Stomach massage. (Highly Optional) This can be done lying on your back and just using your hands to massage the belly. To intensify the experience you can roll over and lie on top of a small ball and roll back and forth.
We hope these suggestions for detox yoga are helpful to you. Please feel free to comment below or send us questions and as above a YouTube video of our Detox yoga flow will be posted shortly.