Oh boy… we are heading into the glutinous season starting with a week full of turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, cornbread, cheese, pumpkin pie and, of course stuffing… and if you are anything like me, I feel ‘stuffed’ even thinking about it. So I make sure to increase my detoxifying yoga poses. Because the great thing is whether you are detoxing from chemo, getting rid of rogue cancer cells or just too much holiday food, these poses improve your bodies ability to digest, circulate and function. Also these poses can improve the relaxation response which is much needed after a house full of family and friends. So in honor of that, the Pose of the Week is the Turkey Detox and consists of two poses: Legs Up the Wall and Knee Up Seated Twist both featured in the detox sequence in my new book – Yoga for Cancer.
Knee Up Seated Twist
Sit cross-legged with your right leg in front. Place your right foot on the floor, your right knee pointing up, thigh close to your belly. Hold your right shin firmly with both hands.
INHALE: Sit fully upright, chest broad, crown of your head lifted.
EXHALE: Twist your belly and chest to the right. Place your left hand on your right shin and right hand to the floor or a block behind you. Turn your head to look past your right shoulder.
INHALE: Sit taller and slowly turn your head to look past your left shoulder.
EXHALE: Slowly turn your head back into the twist, gazing past your right shoulder.
Repeat five times. Then repeat the sequence five times on the second side, twisting to the left.
Modifications: If your hips are tight it may be difficult to sit upright. Try sitting on a higher support and bending your lifted knee a little less deeply so the foot that is on the floor is further away from your hip. If you experience any neck pain, do not turn your head as far into the twist.
Benefits: Stimulates lymphatic system in hips and torso to aide detoxification, hip stretch, spine flexibility and releases neck tension.
Legs Up the Wall
Pull the short end of your yoga mat up to a wall. Place a folded blanket on either side of the middle of your mat.
Sit facing the long side of the mat with your left shoulder against the wall, knees bent. Using your right arm for support, lie down on your right side and as you roll onto your back, extend both legs up the wall. Keep your hips several inches away from the wall.
Rest your arms on the folded blankets in a cactus shape. Close your eyes. Rest for at least five minutes.
Modifications: If your neck feels strained, a folded blanket or low pillow under the head can offer additional support. If your hamstrings are tight, having your legs up the wall may feel like a stretch, and the back of your hips may not be flat to the floor. Move your hips further away from the wall until they rest fully on the mat. This will also release tension in the backs of the legs. Limited mobility in your shoulders or chest may require additional blankets under your cactus arms. Ensure that your hands, wrist, forearms, and elbows are all supported. As always, support both arms at the same height to maintain body symmetry. Optionally, put a bolster (with long end parallel to the wall) or cushion under your hips. A yoga strap can be belted around your thighs to hold your legs in place and allow the legs to more fully relax.
Benefits: Lymphatic drainage from legs; increases venous return from the lower body; activates the parasympathetic nervous system promoting physical relaxation, calm, and stress reduction. And feels glorious.
This is an excerpt from Tari’ book – Yoga for Cancer – now on sale at major retails. Click here to buy your copy today.