Yoga Poses for Physical and Mental Health
Dr. Heather Paulson reminds us that the process of detoxifying is as much an emotional experience as it is physical. Learn how she suggests we use yoga poses for a healthier life, both physically and mentally.
Detoxifying Yoga Pose: Legs Up a Wall
Practicing yoga as a means of detoxification can include active and passive yoga poses. While active poses might engage the muscles to squeeze and compress organs of detoxification, practicing passive poses will allow the body to naturally flow to a state of toxin release.
Releasing toxins is not just a physical exercise, but also a mental exercise. While in Legs Up The Wall pose you can use breathing and meditation techniques to release the mental chatter and emotional toxicity that might have built up consciously or subconsciously.
Physiologically, Legs Up the Wall facilitates detoxification by encouraging the lymph fluid and blood to reverse direction and deposit back into their main channels and filters of purification in the abdominal cavity. By recycling lymph fluid we are releasing cellular toxic material and improving immune cell function. If you tend to get swollen ankles at the end of sitting for long periods of time, Legs Up the Wall can be used to help drain this fluid and provide health back to your lower limbs.
How to do the Pose:
1. Place the long side of a bolster or a blanket folded in thirds along the wall, approximately 6 – 10 inches away from the wall. Allow for enough room to support your hips.
2. Sit with one side of your body against the wall, and swing your legs up until that you are lying on your back and your legs are up against the wall.
3. Support lower back and neck curvature with a rolled towel, blanket, mat, or block as needed.
4. Place your arms out to the side or overhead.
5. Enjoy the sensation of the blood and lymph draining from the legs. It might feel a bit tingly or strange, but just let it be.
6. Release the chest, keeping the sternum lifted towards the ceiling. This allows for greater expansion of the breath, which also facilitates the release of toxins. Keeping a healthy curve allows the thoracic spine to relax and refresh.
7. If you have any lower back pain while in this pose, bend your knees or cross your legs at the ankles.
8. Hold for 5 – 7 minutes.
You should NOT do legs up the wall if you have a hiatal hernia, glaucoma, retinal detachment, or are in the 2nd trimester of pregnancy or later.
What are your favorite detoxifying yoga poses?