Yoga poses have the potential to be powerfully stimulating and cleansing for the body. This week we have all enjoyed a fun class designed to open the heart and detox the organs and skin. My inspiration came from a marvellous little book called The Yoga Face that I have been using for a few years. My students are used to “making faces” poking out their tongues, practising tongue twisters, pulling their ears, aaahhing and mmmmming loudly, and massaging their heads and faces. All this is very relaxing and revitalising for the face and scalp, leaving a tingling a warm glow, and sense of release in the throat and chest.
With winter weather here in the southern hemisphere we have the usual round of bugs affecting our community. I felt a strong cleansing class would help boost immunity by ridding the body of wastes, making space for fresh vital prana to flood the tissues. So we concentrated on twists and back bends, on sounding, massage and movement. There were no standing poses. After limbering we worked up to Bridge pose, doing a supported version using a strap, which even the most flexible enjoyed.
Then a floor twist, so that opening was followed by squeezing. To that I added a rolling situp, stirring the body fluids with vigorous back and forth rocking, and lots of fun! After lying flat to settle, we sat on our bolsters for shoulder, neck and face yoga, then returned to squeezing and invigorating with Stir the Pot. Another back bend, Camel pose, with knees on a folded blanket and a bolster across the ankles to add height, opening the chest, lifting the heart, and stimulating the kidneys and adrenals.
This was followed by two sitting twists, as taught by Judith Hanson Lasater, twists where the pelvis is free to move, avoiding SI joint injury, but the organs and tissues are strongly squeezed. We all felt the heat as wastes were released!
Into this marvellous mix we added a Lion pose to clear the throat, and Parighasana (Gate pose) to stimulate the organs of elimination.
Finally after some restoratives and gentle head and face massage, we sat for Brahma mudra pranayama, revitalizing the whole body, and then rested deeply in relaxation.
Mmmmmm, lets do it again!