As the warming rays of the sun gently saturate the earth, many of the early spring flowers of the Northeastern United States are beginning to unfurl and grace us with their beauty. With the coming of the springtime, many of us feel the natural urge to do some deep spring-cleaning, both of our external living spaces and our own bodies. Within the context of the rhythms of the year, the springtime naturally lends itself to detoxification and cleansing regimes, including detoxifying Yoga classes.
In Ayurveda, the ancient healing system of India, detoxifying periodically throughout the course of the year is a very important aspect of maintaining one’s overall health and well-being. These detoxifying practices can take the form of juice fasts, cleansing diets, hydrotherapy, heat therapy, and warming oil massages, in addition to other purifying techniques. When you are teaching a Yoga class, incorporating detoxifying asanas will support your students in the release of ama, or the heavy toxicity according to Ayurveda, which can build up in our systems over time.
Ama can build in the body and mind from undigested food, toxic chemicals and unresolved emotional experiences. Detoxifying Yoga postures also help to encourage the physical removal of waste products through the lymphatic system, which is one of the primary ways that the body has of cleansing itself. Of course, a balanced, regular practice of Yoga postures and cleansing pranayama exercises helps to detoxify both the body and the mind. By including specific twisting asanas into the sequence of postures that you are teaching in your Yoga class, you will further increase the beneficial detoxifying benefits of the practice.
Some of the most beneficial twisting poses that are accessible to most Yoga students are Twisted Triangle Pose, Seated Spinal Twist and Twisted Standing Leg Extension. If a student is particularly tight in the outer hips, outer legs or hamstrings, all of these Yoga postures can be performed with the assistance of props, which will make the poses easier for your students to practice safely and effectively. Depending on the posture that you are teaching, the props needed are a Yoga block, belt and/or a chair. Twisted Standing Leg Extension may also be practiced with a chair and against a wall for further support.
* Twisted Standing Leg Extension
Twisted Standing Leg Extension is a powerfully effective Yoga posture for elongating the outer leg, hip and hamstring muscles. This posture also expands the neck, throat, upper shoulder, and chest areas. In addition, Twisted Standing Leg Extension helps to improve balance, coordination and strengthens the legs. This posture is usually practiced after series of warming Sun Salutations and some of the classical standing Yoga poses, such as Triangle Pose and Side Angle Pose.
When you are ready to lead your students through the practice of Twisted Standing Leg Extension, ask your students to come to the top of their Yoga mats and ground for a moment in Tadasana. With their next inhale, instruct your students to shift the weight of their body onto their left foot, as they grasp the outside of their right foot with their left hand. With their next exhale, ask your Yoga students to fully extend their right leg, by pressing gently against their left hand.
As your students extend their right leg, instruct them to extend their right arm away from their body, in line with their shoulders with their palm facing the front of the Yoga studio. This action will expand the heart area and release tension throughout their upper torso, including the neck and the shoulders. Ask your students to hold Twisted Standing Leg Extension for five complete breaths, and then release the posture and come back to Mountain Pose at the top of their Yoga mats. When your students are ready, repeat Twisted Standing Leg Extension on the left hand side.
Virginia Iversen, M.Ed, has been practicing and studying the art of Yoga for over twenty years. She lives in Woodstock, New York; where she specializes in writing customized, search engine-optimized articles that are 100% unique. She is currently accepting yoga and health-related writing orders and may be contacted at: [email protected].
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