Green juice often steals the spotlight when it comes to detoxing. But yoga can also help. We all stress about work deadlines, eat not-so-healthy foods on the go and occasionally enjoy a few drinks at a party with friends. That's why everyone can benefit from a detox every once in a while. Combining a juice cleanse with a detox yoga program helps clear your mind, reset your body and boost your energy. The following 12 yoga poses will help you do just that, while building strength and flexibility. If you practice daily, you'll start feel healthier, more energetic and stronger. Let's get started!
1. Extended Triangle (Utthita Trikonasana)
This pose stretches your entire body, from your back to your calves, while improving digestion, relieving stress and reducing back pain. HOW TO DO IT: Step your feet apart about four feet. Raise your arms to the side until they are parallel with the floor, palms down. Turn your right foot in a little and your left foot out 90 degrees. Bend to the left from your hip joint so your torso is directly over your left leg. Rest your left hand on your shin, ankle or the floor and stretch your right hand toward the ceiling. If you want more, interlock your fingers and point your index fingers. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute. Repeat the pose on the other side.
Related: 11 Stretches Almost Everyone Can Do
2. Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
Warrior II is an energizing pose. In addition to helping relieve symptoms of sciatica, this pose stimulates the abdominal organs and stretches the whole body. HOW TO DO IT: Step your feet four feet apart. Raise your arms out to the side and parallel to the floor, palms facing down. Turn your right foot slightly to the right and your left foot out 90 degrees. Bend your left knee over your left ankle in a lunge. For a deeper lunge, elevate your left foot on a block or a step. Turn your head to the left and look straight out over your hand. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute. Repeat on the other side.
3. Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)
Warrior III helps improve balance while engaging the body from fingertips to toes. HOW TO DO IT: Begin in Mountain pose (Tadasana) with big toes touching, heels slightly apart. Bend forward over your right leg as you lift your left leg back and up, chest parallel to the floor. Stretch your arms forward so they are parallel with each other and the floor, moving them out to the side in "airplane wings" when you're ready. Lift and open your chest. Be careful when looking forward that you aren't compressing the back of your neck. Hold this pose for 30 to 60 seconds, and then repeat on the other side.
4. Reverse Warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana)
Reverse Warrior increases energy and relieves stress while reducing back pain. HOW TO DO IT: Begin in Warrior II: Step out three-and-a-half to four feet. Raise your arms out to the side and parallel to the floor, palms facing down and shoulder blades wide. Turn your right foot in slightly and your left foot out 90 degrees. Bend your left knee over your left ankle in a lunge. Bring your right hand down the back of your right leg (but not on your knee), palm facing down. Turn the left palm up toward the sky. Be careful to not compress the back of your neck as you look up. Bend into your front knee, keeping the weight evenly distributed over your front foot. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds before repeating on the other side.
5. King Dancer Pose (Natarajasana)
King Dancer Pose not only improves focus and balance, but also strengthens your core and stretches the length of your body. HOW TO DO IT: Begin in Mountain pose (Tadasana), with big toes touching, heels slightly apart. Balancing on your right foot, bend your left knee and reach your left hand back for your left ankle. Stabilize from your core as you tilt forward, lifting your leg up toward the sky. Reach up and back with your right hand, holding on to your left foot (use a strap if you're back isn't flexible enough yet). Hold for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat with the other side.
6. Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose (Utthita Hasta Padangustasana)
This pose can help with osteoporosis, improve balance, strengthen the legs and ankles and provide a great stretch for the back of the legs. HOW TO DO IT: Begin in Mountain pose (Tadasana), with big toes touching, heels slightly apart. Balancing on your right foot, lift your left foot off the floor and bring your left knee toward your belly. Reach down with your left hand and grab your big toe with your thumb and first two fingers. Extend your left leg forward, straightening your knee as much as possible. You can use a strap looped around your left sole to help with the extension. Swing the left leg out to the side. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
7. Extended Side Plank (Vasisthasana)
This pose not only strengthens your core, arms and legs, but it also improves your focus off the mat. HOW TO DO IT: Begin in Plank pose (like the top of a push-up). Engage your core as you roll both your heels to the right so the outside of your right foot is touching the floor. Rest your left foot on top of your right foot and lift your left hand off the ground, extending your arm above you. Raise your left foot a few inches off your right foot. Look up toward your left hand if it's comfortable. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
8. Eight-Angle Pose (Astavakrasana)
The Eight-Angle pose is great for strengthening the arms, wrists and abdomen. HOW TO DO IT: The easiest way to get into this pose is to start sitting on the floor. Take your right leg and loop it over your right shoulder. Place both hands on the floor in front of you and start to shift your weight into them. Reach your right foot out to the left and simultaneously lift your left foot to join it, interlocking at the ankles. Continuing pressing through your hands to lift yourself off the floor. Hold for 30 seconds, and then repeat on the other side. This is an advanced arm balance, so don't stress if it takes you several tries to master.
9. Side Crow (Parsva Bakasana)
Side Crow (also known as Side Crane) improves balance while strengthening your arms, wrists, abdomen and back. HOW TO DO IT: Begin by lowering yourself into a squat, thighs parallel to the floor. Bring both arms to the outside of your right leg. Twist your torso to the right. Lean forward with your torso while you keep your head lifted. Position your legs so that your hips rest on top of your left arm and your knees rest on top of your right arm. Lift your feet off the floor, and if it's comfortable, straighten your legs. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat the pose on the other side.
10. Hummingbird (Maksikanagasana)
Hummingbird (also known as Dragonfly) strengthens your arms, wrists, abdomen and back. It also improves your balance. HOW TO DO IT: Begin by lowering yourself into a squat so that your thighs are parallel to the floor. Move your hands to the front of your right foot. Twist your torso to the right. Keep your elbows close to your body as you place the sole of your left foot high up onto your left upper arm. Rest your right thigh on your upper arm. Bend your torso forward as you lift your right foot off the floor and straighten your right leg. Hold for 30 seconds, rest a few breaths, and then repeat the pose on the other side.
Related: 7 Essential Hip Stretches
11. Standing Extended Spinal Twist (Parivrtta Hasta Padangusthasana)
This pose (also known as Revolved Extended Hand to Foot) improves digestion while also strengthening the legs, abdomen and back. HOW TO DO IT: Begin in Mountain pose (Tadasana) with big toes touching, heels slightly apart. Lift your left foot off the floor, bend your left knee and bring it toward your belly. Reach to the outer edge of your left foot with your right hand. Kick out your left foot to your right as you actively extend your left arm behind you. Look out over your left arm. Hold for 30 seconds then gently bring your foot back to the floor. Take a breath and repeat the pose on your other side.
What Do YOU Think?
Have you ever tried any of these poses? Which are your favorites? What other yoga poses have you tried to help you feel cleansed and detoxified? Have you ever done yoga in conjunction with a cleanse or detox diet? Let us know about your experience in the comments!
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