By Jill Lawson for DietsInReview.com
Toxins come in many forms, from harsh and deadly organisms such as snake venom, to man-made environmental agents like asbestos. While some toxins can be fatal, others do more than cause mild annoyances like headaches, nausea or irritability.
You can use yoga to detox, and help your body remove the non-life-threatening toxins, such as those consumed when eating chemical laden junk food, drinking alcohol, or being exposed to air pollution. While toxins are an often-unavoidable part of life, our bodies are, thankfully, equipped to deal with them, and yoga can help.
The liver is the primary organ responsible for filtering the blood for the processing and removal of toxins. When the liver is healthy, toxins are more readily released from your body in the form of sweat, urine, and excrement, via the liver’s metabolic functions.
There are yoga poses that massage and stimulate the liver by flushing it with fresh blood and oxygen, in an effort to support its task as the body’s housekeeper. The following is an explanation of how and why certain poses help liver function.
All twisting poses affect the liver simply because of the liver’s anatomical position in relationship to the twisting motion. When the ribcage twists, a gentle force is exerted on the organs near it, thus creating a squeezing action to release stagnation and usher in fresh, nutrient laden blood through these organs. Since the liver is positioned below the lower ribs on the right side, intentional and accurate twisting of the ribs has a direct influence.
Seated- or standing-forward bends will massage the liver. When the ribcage moves forward over the legs, the space around the liver is decreased, thus causing it to be pushed and kneaded. Just as it’s important to drink a lot of water after getting a massage to flush the toxins, it is just as important to do so after yoga for detoxification.
In both twisting and forward bending poses, the key factor in stimulating and massaging toxins out of the liver is deep breathing. Once again, it’s due to the liver’s positioning in relationship to the diaphragm, the primary muscle of inspiration. When we take a deep inhalation, the diaphragm descends, applying gentle pressure on the liver. Combine this with twisting and bending poses and we have a very safe and effective combination to assist healthy liver function.