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Yoga Poses For Detoxing the Body

Updated on January 12, 2016
Ardha matsendrasana - Half lord of the fishes pose
Ardha matsendrasana - Half lord of the fishes pose | Source

Yoga Poses Help With Detoxification

Our body has its own natural detoxification mechanisms for getting rid of waste products and environmental toxins, but sometimes it's not up to the task of eliminating these toxic materials entirely.

A yoga detoxification practice can help us assist the body in cleansing itself, which will help us feel lighter, healthier, and more energetic again.

We all have excellent built-in systems to detoxify, or get rid of waste products and other toxic materials in our bodies that can otherwise make us sick. But sometimes these systems don't work as well as they should because of stress in our lives, poor diets, or exposure to environmental toxins.

Luckily we can use various methods to assist our bodies in their internal cleansing efforts. One of these methods is the practice of yoga poses.

You might benefit from a yoga detox program if you've been feeling sluggish and out-of-sorts for awhile, or have been experiencing digestion problems, extra aches and pains, or skin problems.

This article gives an overview of how the practice of yoga asanas (postures) can help us detoxify the body to bring us to better health.

Model of human torso showing different systems
Model of human torso showing different systems | Source

Yoga Assists Our Body's Natural Detoxification Processes

"Spring Cleaning" for Our Body!

The body has its own systems that work to eliminate waste products and toxic substances. Three of these systems are the:

1. Circulatory system

Pumps blood throughout the body, delivering oxygen to and carrying waste products away from the cells of the body.

2. Digestive system

Processes food, separates nutrients from waste, and eliminates what the body doesn't need.

3. Lymphatic system

Intracellular fluid is moved throughout the body, transported to lymph nodes where harmful constituents are removed, such as bacteria or other contaminants, before the lymphatic fluid is returned to the bloodstream. Lymph moves around based on how much we move around. The only way to ensure proper lymph circulation is through exercise or massage.

These systems work well on their own in a healthy body, but if we don't eat well, don't get enough exercise, or if we're stressed, then these systems don't work as efficiently. This results in a build-up of toxic material which can leave us feeling physically and mentally sluggish and sick.

The practice of yoga is one of the methods that supports the functioning of these systems.

A well-rounded practice of yoga postures systematically stretches, twists, compresses, and "upends" all parts of the body to help eliminate impurities from different organs and to allow oxygenated and nutrient-rich blood to flow through the organs.

A few of the benefits of this practice over time, include more energy, mental clarity, better sleep, better digestion, clearer skin, fewer aches and pains, and less illness.

Below are a few of the categories of yoga poses, and how they assist the body's natural detoxification systems.

Ardha matsyendrasana
Ardha matsyendrasana | Source

Yoga Twists

"Squeeze and soak" the abdominal organs

One of my yoga teachers would offer a class filled with many different twists on the day after Thanksgiving. This was to help our digestive system deal with the possible excesses we indulged in on the big feast day! I've occasionally continued with this tradition with the classes I teach.

I think Yoga twists are the most important poses to aid the body in detoxification. Yoga twists stimulate digestion and facilitate the elimination of impurities and waste products from the body. Circulation of blood and of lymph is also promoted.

Think what happens when you wring out a sponge -- the dirty water is forced out, and then the sponge can soak up clean water again.

Twists work in a similar way. The abdominal organs are squeezed during twists, stimulating the kidneys and liver, and forcing out blood filled with metabolic by-products and toxins. When the twists are released, then fresh, clean blood enters these organs, bathing the cells in nutrients and oxygen.

Twists have a cleansing, refreshing effect on the abdominal organs and the associated glands.

The Twist Marichyasana 3

This is a nice, relatively simple twist that will help you to stimulate the liver and kidneys.

Twist and Detox Yoga Sequence Video

Watch and practice along to this 20 minute Twist and Detox Yoga Sequence created by Kathryn Budig.

Nationally and internationally known yoga teacher Kathryn Budig teaches on this video while a student demonstrates the yoga postures.

Another Good Cleansing Program

The 7-day Detox program from Yoga Journal includes 4 elements:

  • Slowing down: Reduce stress and mental over-activity
  • Detox diet: There's a suggested diet to help purify the body and to improve the digestive system
  • Cleansing yoga: Twists and heat producing poses help to move toxins out of your tissues, then to be eliminated from the body. Then restorative poses to sooth the nervous system and to settle the body.
  • Self-study: Swadyaya, or self-study to observe how you are feeling during this program. What's going on in your own life. Insights from self-study help us to move forward in the direction we want to go.

Forward bend
Forward bend | Source

Forward Bends

Forward bending yoga poses / asanas

Forward bending yoga poses are also good ways to compress the abdominal organs. The kidneys and liver are stimulated and the digestive system is improved, which helps with the elimination process.

Wide Leg Standing Forward Bend

This video gives good, clear instructions for this standing forward bend. Standing forward bends are often more accessible than seated forward bends, especially for beginners.

Sirsasana (head stand)
Sirsasana (head stand) | Source

Yoga Inversions

Upside down poses

Any inverted pose, such as headstand, shoulder stand, or a simple "legs up the wall" pose helps to drain accumulated lymph fluid from the legs and re-circulate it through the body. This benefits the immune system.

Inverted poses also help to soothe the nervous system and reduce stress. When we're not stressed, it's easier for us to choose healthier choices for our bodies (including good diet and exercise) which promote the body's natural detox efforts.

Simple Inversion -- Legs Up the Wall Pose

This is a very easy yoga inversion (legs higher than the heart). Fluids that have accumulated in the legs during the day are re-circulated back to the rest of the body. Also the abdomen is bathed in fresh blood, which stimulates the digestive system.

This is also a wonderful pose to "de-stress" after a long day!

Adho mukha svanasana - downward facing dog pose
Adho mukha svanasana - downward facing dog pose | Source

Downward Facing Dog Pose

Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho mukha svanasana) has elements of forward bends, and of inversions, and is always a good addition to your yoga practice whether or not you're working to detoxify your body.

Downward Facing Dog gets the heart higher than the head, as inverted poses do, but with less strain. It aids in the circulation of blood and lymph throughout the body. And as with other forward bends, it helps to tone the abdominal muscles and organs, which help with better digestion.

This rejuvenating pose is also a good preparatory pose for inversions and for deeper forward bends.

A Well-Rounded Yoga Practice Will Help Detox the Body

A good overall well-rounded yoga practice will include many poses that will help your body cleanse itself. If you're a beginner, I highly recommend that you learn in a yoga class taught by a well-trained teacher.

But if you can't take a class for any reason, there are a number of good beginning level DVDs that will be helpful. If you are in good health, try a DVD such as Yoga for Beginners by Barbara Benagh.

For something a little gentler, try Easy Yoga by Peggy Cappy.

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    • profile image

      PCSPOS 17 months ago

      Excellent lens. Yoga is an excellent way to keep your body and mind healthy.Thanks for sharing.

    • KarenHC profile image
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      Karen 3 years ago from U.S.

      @Tamara14: Isn't it great to see how this practice affects us in such a positive way! I figure there's no great need to do the "upside-down" poses, unless you are working with a teacher who can help you with them, and you don't have any major neck, back, or shoulder issues. But a simple inverted pose is lying on your back with legs up the wall, and that gives many of the same benefits as headstand or shoulderstand, but without the difficulties that some people experience. You can also do "legs up the wall" with a bolster or folded blankets under your hips to get more of an open chest.

    • Tamara14 profile image

      Tamara Kajari 3 years ago from Zagreb, Croatia, Europe

      I've been practicing half an hour morning yoga for some three months now and I feel great, in fact much better than when I used to practice pilates only twice a week. I enjoy the comfort of my own living room (hopefully my balcony when the spring comes) and I must say my body is slowly but significantly improving. I really like twists, but upside down poses are going to have to wait for a while :)

    • KarenHC profile image
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      Karen 3 years ago from U.S.

      @SmartYoga: Ha, yes, yoga affects us on many levels.

    • profile image

      SmartYoga 3 years ago

      Yes! I find that yoga affects me in many ways and really changes my life for the better! I guess a lot of it falls under the very wide umbrella of stress reduction, which in turn affects the nervous system, digestive system and immune system etc. I find that Yoga helps with my asthma and makes me prettier on several levels:-)

    • KarenHC profile image
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      Karen 3 years ago from U.S.

      @pjsart: I'm a grandmother -- will be quite awhile before I'm a great-grandmother :-) But in my late 50s, I can do a lot more physically than many people younger than me, from my many years of practicing Iyengar Yoga.

    • pjsart profile image

      pjsart 3 years ago

      I am old school sixties great grandma and I find this a wonderful approach to a way of sharing yoga. There are so many great classes and teachers, but we can always use more...I set up a lens in hopes more people would be inspired to teach. It is a great way to deepen ones own practice. I hope you will visit https://hubpages.com/health/teaching-yoga-and-medi...

    • KarenHC profile image
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      Karen 4 years ago from U.S.

      @SheGetsCreative: I bet you'd enjoy yoga if you found a good class or DVD to follow :-) And Downward Facing Dog pose is such a great pose to stretch and strengthen the whole body. Try it...you'll LIKE it :-)

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I'm another one who WANTS to do yoga -- in my mind, but thinks she can never get past any pose named 'downward facing dog'! *sigh* really informative lens... think I'll start with abdominal squeezes.

    • kaseyrivenburgh profile image

      kaseyrivenburgh 4 years ago

      Very informative and very helpful.

    • profile image

      Echo Phoenix 4 years ago

      I have tried a few times to incorporate Yoga routinely in my life and sad to say I still have not:( yet I also had not realized all the detox benefits that would come with it so this inspiration may be just what I needed:) and better late than never... thanks for the info & the inspiration!

    • KarenHC profile image
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      Karen 4 years ago from U.S.

      @Echo Phoenix: At some point you might find it easier to settle into a routine for a yoga practice. If you haven't tried yoga classes, I've found that it's easier for people to stay in a routine if they have a class to go to. And if there are a variety of poses taught in the class, you get the "detox" benefit from that :-)

    • SuzieJames profile image

      SuzieJames 4 years ago

      Great info to add to my quest to get fit and healthy this new year.!

    • Klockridge profile image

      Klockridge 4 years ago

      I have been doing yoga off and on for about 5 years now ...I have noticed that when I do yoga afterwards I am in a calmer mood and also I sleep better!

    • profile image

      mecheshier 4 years ago

      Very interesting Lens. Great info.Well articulated and wonderful format. Not to often do I find particular exercises for cleansing! Double Kudos! :-)

    • elliefraser profile image

      elliefraser 4 years ago

      I came to yoga quite late in life but I found these detoxifying poses particularly useful. I think I was quite sceptical but was very quickly converted,

    • profile image

      appelonia 4 years ago

      What a great lens! I really enjoyed going through it. You included such valuable reading information and videos. Thanks.

    • Rowangaia profile image

      Rowangaia 5 years ago

      Very informative lens: thank you so much.

    • Camden1 profile image

      Camden1 5 years ago

      I know that yoga improves your health in many ways, but I didn't know it could help you detox your body - amazing!

    • YogaAngel profile image

      YogaAngel 5 years ago

      I love your lenses!

    • Mandy Stradley profile image

      Mandy Stradley 5 years ago

      Great lens! Thank you for the information!

    • profile image

      debra-kupchok 5 years ago

      Doing Yoga during a detox program just makes sense. Great lens to inspire my Yoga practice and get me thinking about a summer detox.

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Most definitely - very informative! Blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • nuestraherencia profile image

      nuestraherencia 5 years ago

      Great lens. For so many years I practiced many of these poses at home. Unfortunately, once I had a child and all the running around that having kids, a job, etc. do to us I stopped. I have only been back for about a month and I cannot tell you how amazing I am starting to feel. Of course eating healthy and all the other things are important, but sadly, not everyone has the time to prepare the healthiest meals nowadays. My legs were always falling asleep, I used to get back spasms, etc...ever since I started my yoga class, my body feels 100% better than it did. Thanks for this. I'll be checking out more of your lenses.

    • KarenHC profile image
      Author

      Karen 5 years ago from U.S.

      @seemarahate: We have plenty of yoga teachers here too, but it's not possible to make a handsome living teaching yoga. As I say here in this article, yoga assists the body's natural detoxification process. The body can do it all by itself if we eat a healthy diet, and breathe clean air, but sometimes (or many times, depending on the person), the body needs extra help. Yoga poses help this process. Thanks for your comment!

    • profile image

      seemarahate 5 years ago

      When I was YEARS younger healthy body and mind meant healthy life style like eating right amount and kind of foodand doing NORMAL things. As we profess that YOGA is the way to good life detox and whatever, I laugh. Evn in India Yoga became a bye-word of the masses only over the ast decade, and EVEN THEN it is NOT so common as the writer makes it sound.I live in a small town and to follow his advise I have to go to a BIG city, where you have joga and Yogis a dome to a dozen, making QUIET a handsome living.But I prefer to keep my wants and need as NORMAL as possible and have NO NEED to detox etc.

    • stayathomegeek profile image

      stayathomegeek 5 years ago

      For me, yoga has helped me learn to slow down and be body-aware.

    • DeannaDiaz profile image

      DeannaDiaz 5 years ago

      Very informative! Thank you!

    • seanpro profile image

      seanpro 5 years ago

      "High Five"! Very nice information about detoxing through yoga poses. I'll definitely give them a try.

    • profile image

      bine58 5 years ago

      I love doing Yoga.

    • wheresthekarma profile image

      wheresthekarma 5 years ago

      Great lens, gonna facebook and pin it to my lyme support facebook group! We could all use some detoxing for sure.

    • Bonfire Designs profile image

      Bonfire Designs 5 years ago

      I love yoga and found relief when my lower back went out. It was then I discovered that it's great not only for "detox" belly issues but also for respiratory. It's amazing how much it clears your system. I only do about 10 mins a day and its awesome!

    • Spiderlily321 profile image

      Spiderlily321 5 years ago

      This is a very good lens! I love yoga so much. There are so many benefits and I think more people should really try it.

    • profile image

      athena2011 5 years ago

      I never associated Yoga with detoxification before reading your lens. Squidliked.

    • nuestraherencia profile image

      nuestraherencia 5 years ago

      Great information especially on the lymphatic system. For about a year I have had some issues with that, so I am looking forward to practicing some of these poses as well. Thank you.

    • Phillyfreeze profile image

      Ronald Tucker 5 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      Very comprehensive lens with excellent resources and links for learning the health benefits of practicing Yoga. I will incorporate "Yoga for Seniors-Aging well with Yoga" in to my exercise routine.

    • profile image

      Ladyeaglefeather 5 years ago

      I love this lens. I am going try some of the moves here. Thanks

    • profile image

      SoundsOfBliss 5 years ago

      Wonderful... just reminds me I should be doing more Yoga. Especially when I see the benefits to the lymphatic system. Very interesting lens.

    • Bobbala profile image

      Bobbala 5 years ago

      Love your lens. Thank you. Best wishes for 2012.

    • Tom Maybrier profile image

      Tom Maybrier 5 years ago

      Love this lens! I'll have to incorporate some of these asanas into my practice! Namaste =]

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 5 years ago

      I have only been doing yoga for 5 or 6 months. I enjoy these stretches but did not know they help to detox the body. Good information. Stopping by to give Christmas cheer and a blessing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Sjoe, I will definitely be back after the Christmas holidays, I will need to do as much detoxing as possible after all the junk I know I am going to eat! Thanks for the videos!

    • vkumar05 profile image

      vkumar05 5 years ago

      Very informative. I look forward to more Yoga lens from you. Thanks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      This is something I would love to try, wonderful lens, you have really inspired me :) Blessed by an Angel*

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      love this lens

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 6 years ago

      very little experience but i'm thinking i need to start doing yoga.

    • awakeningwellness profile image

      awakeningwellness 6 years ago

      Very interesting, I knew yoga was good for many things but didn't know detoxing was one of them!

    • PopArtGirl profile image

      PopArtGirl 6 years ago

      Fantastic lens! Never knew yoga twists were so important - I'll definitely be doing those more often now!

    • JoeLaBarbera LM profile image

      JoeLaBarbera LM 6 years ago

      Excellent lens. Helpful information. Yoga is an ecxellent way to keep your body and mind healthy.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Nice site. It is very accessible and great information. Thanks.

    • greenlife17 profile image

      greenlife17 6 years ago

      yes, very much. thank you,

    • LTPParents profile image

      Tracy Gibb 6 years ago

      This is an awesome lense! I just bookmarked it!

    • profile image

      unqedomain 6 years ago

      Thank you so much for the information, I learned a lot. Thank you so much for hard work !!!

    • KarenHC profile image
      Author

      Karen 6 years ago from U.S.

      @lortiz59 lm: I'm glad you found the lens useful! Yes, doing a quiet yoga practice in the evening often helps people to sleep better.

    • lortiz59 lm profile image

      lortiz59 lm 6 years ago

      You have a great lens here with lots of information on yoga. Though I haven't done yoga in along time, you have renewed my interest in it. I have trouble sleeping and I heard that doing yoga in the evening will help me relax.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      The detailed information about the yoga poses and the videos of the yoga are very helpful. Thanks for sharing the nice lens.

    • Gerald McConway profile image

      Gerald McConway 6 years ago

      Thanks for another great yoga lens, well done!

    • profile image

      Runnn 6 years ago

      I'm planning to do some yoga in July when I completed my oversea assignment. Thanks for sharing.

    • smithlights profile image

      smithlights 6 years ago

      Thanks for the tips and videos!

    • profile image

      puremystery 6 years ago

      I love yoga, it's relaxing and satisfying to stretch out the muscles. This page serves as a good, informative reminder of how it heals and takes out the toxins. great lens.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 6 years ago from Canada

      Yoga is indeed a major healer. It is a therapy program which people of most skill levels can use even with reduced mobility levels. You have many excellent yoga lenses which will be of great benefit to people. Best wishes.

    • dogface lm profile image

      dogface lm 6 years ago

      This is really interesting. Thanks for sharing!

    • StLphotogirl profile image

      StLphotogirl 6 years ago

      I knew that yoga is supposed to be good you but I never realized that it was actually a detoxing tool too.

    • profile image

      maryctucker 6 years ago

      Good collection of video.Such a yoga is helpful exercise.

    • howtocurecancer profile image

      howtocurecancer 6 years ago

      Blessed by a SquidAngel.

    • meisgood132 profile image

      meisgood132 6 years ago

      Yoga is more than just being flexible then. This lens has been a real eye opener.

    • sheriangell profile image

      sheriangell 6 years ago

      stopping back to drop off a richly deserved Angel Blessing.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 6 years ago

      I'm going to give yoga a try.

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 6 years ago

      I don't really know much about Yoga; but what you say about it's benefits sounds very logical. Excellent information.

    • profile image

      MorningBlessings 6 years ago

      I love yoga too! Thanks for this lens, it has some good information and resources....

    • profile image

      WorldVisionary 6 years ago

      Nice resources here!

    • natashaely profile image

      natashaely 6 years ago

      Lots of ideas and a great lens! I love yoga and the way it makes me feel, more relaxed and in tune with myself. I recently took it up again so I am taking all the advic I can get! :)

    • natashaely profile image

      natashaely 6 years ago

      Lots of ideas and a great lens! I love yoga and the way it makes me feel, more relaxed and in tune with myself. I recently took it up again so I am taking all the advic I can get! :)

    • jackieb99 profile image

      jackieb99 6 years ago

      I'm going to try some of these out, thank you.

    • Dustbunnyodoom profile image

      Dustbunnyodoom 6 years ago

      I started getting back into a yoga routine again after 4 years, I feel I need something to balance out all the stress that has been coming into my life.

    • profile image

      Josie10 6 years ago

      I've been thinking about yoga. It's a new year maybe it's time to start a great new adventure. Thanks for the information.

    • MoonandMagic profile image

      MoonandMagic 6 years ago

      I didn't realise Yoga was a form of detoxing, I had planned to do a bit more in the new year so this has been really inspiring. Thank you

    • profile image

      jameswill2010 6 years ago

      Yoga is said to be the best tool for detoxification.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      This is really a neat lens. I already like yoga, and I didn't know it could be used for detoxing! Very cool.

    • mannasugar profile image

      mannasugar 6 years ago

      This is a very well thought out and planned Lens...

    • profile image

      termit_bronx 6 years ago

      Everybody should detox their bodies. Not only with yoga, but with natural food too.

    • profile image

      SidingSeattle 6 years ago

      I've always thought yoga to be a great thing to do for your mind and body but had no idea it also helped in detoxification. Very interesting lens. Need to find more time for yoga!

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 6 years ago

      It's been very helpful info about detoxifying the body with yoga poses. Thanks! Angel blessed, and I've listed some of your yoga lenses on November Blessings for mental health under improving mental health with exercise.

    • Board-Game-Brooke profile image

      C A Chancellor 6 years ago from US/TN

      Wow, this is really interesting! I just got a yoga DVD that says it's supposed to help detox but it doesn't explain any of the science of why it works. Thanks for sharing!

    • teemu profile image

      teemu 6 years ago

      When I first read the title I thought, "How does yoga do that?" Then I read the part about your body's natural detox system. Yoga just aids in it. Then I understood. Great lens!

    • SmBizGuru LM profile image

      SmBizGuru LM 6 years ago

      I never knew you could detox with Yoga. I'll have to try this. My daughter learned how to do a head stand in cheerleading. I think I'll have her teach me. I know that I need a good detox. This sounds like a simple process using yoga.

    • profile image

      SofiaMann 6 years ago

      Very interesting info. Thanks.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I just love to check out on poses here to refresh my memory. I find the detox explanation very useful.

    • Tamara14 profile image

      Tamara Kajari 6 years ago from Zagreb, Croatia, Europe

      I love this lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      For comfort when practicing yoga at check out some Low Priced, High QualityYoga Pants with most outfits (Top & Foldover yoga pants) UNDER $20

    • sheriangell profile image

      sheriangell 7 years ago

      Hi - I never associated Yoga with detoxing before, but it certainly does make sense. This encourages me to practice more, thanks!

    • toriphile81 profile image

      toriphile81 7 years ago

      I'm always looking for great detox tools, plus, love yoga, so great combo!

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 7 years ago from Canada

      Great videos and an overall fantastic lens on yoga. Wonderful :)

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Have tried some of the poses you've put here. I have learned yoga and practiced a bit but am not very regular. Will try to be. Thanks for the pictures. Can go back to it once in a while.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Have tried some of the poses you've put here. I have learned yoga and practiced a bit but am not very regular. Will try to be. Thanks for the pictures. Can go back to it once in a while.

    • KarenHC profile image
      Author

      Karen 7 years ago from U.S.

      @geoffmccabe: Hi Geoff -- I checked out your Anamaya Resort website, and it looks wonderful! Thanks for your comment.

    • profile image

      geoffmccabe 7 years ago

      Thanks, this is a very helpful article. I recently opened a yoga retreat center (http://www.anamayaresort.com) and because we are so health oriented with the rest of the resort, we have been discussing how to shift our yoga practice to be even more focussed on health and detox.

    • Jmel37 profile image

      Jmel37 7 years ago

      I think I just may go try an inverted pose now! I didn't realize all of the effects that twisting has, I just thought it was a good stretch for your back - good to know :)

    • Kyecerulian profile image

      Kyecerulian 7 years ago

      @KarenHC: Thanks for the tip!

    • KarenHC profile image
      Author

      Karen 7 years ago from U.S.

      @Kyecerulian: And the legs up the wall pose is a great way to rest the legs and back after a long day's work. A simple variation is to place a folded blanket or two underneath the sacrum to get more of an open chest.