Coming off a weekend of presenting at a conference and running around to get things done, I was ready for a practice that rejuvenated.
I quickly picked a recent video from Adriene and got on my mat.
I saw the word “detoxify” and “balance the liver energy meridian" in the description and that intrigued me. Maybe this was the practice for me?!
As I began, I was led in to a brief discussion on the liver. As someone who works in primary healthcare, I am always intrigued to learn how yoga influences the body.
My educated guess to how yoga would make its' mark was to focus on twists.
Correct I was!
Yet, beyond that - there was a great gift in store.
But let me back up for now...let's talk liver first.
In the past six months, the idea of detox has been floating around in my world. Working to help people live healthier lives, this comes up fairly often. They say things like “I’m on X detox” or I did “this detox” which gave me [name the benefit here] for my overall health. Now, to be honest, I am fairly critical of detoxes. I’ve read Timothy Caulfield’s book, Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: How the Famous Sell Us Elixirs of Health, Beauty & Happiness, and respect his vigour for analysis and critical thinking. So when I read his chapter on detox and learned that there is NO significant health benefit to detoxes, I was on board.
Now - in comes yoga - and the various recommendations of poses to help with the liver. I’m no expert but I’m a bit leery believing yoga’s role in detoxifying the liver. And many others are too.
But, is my headspace the result of Western medicine? Probably. Can I corner yoga into that perspective? Probably not. This is where ayurvedic medicine plays its card. I humbling admit, I know very little about this type of medicine. So, as with all things, I’m ready to learn more about ayurvedic medicine and the various ways it intertwines with yoga…but for another post.
Logic does tell me though, that it is quite possible that yoga poses could help the liver by releasing the associated muscles and fascia surrounding the liver and thus, help with its function. Just sayin’.
Okay - Now, back to my gift.
Practice was just about to the end and I landed in a prone face down position. I wondered what was next that involved a twist. But how will I twist in this position?
Low and behold, Adriene delivered the best twist of the day! From the prone position, I came up into cobra. Stretching one arm out to the side, palm down, I shifted my chest away from the mat whereby lifting the top leg over to open up the body out to face the side. With my searching this week, I couldn’t find a reference or name to this pose but that doesn’t matter as it was glorious! Not only as a twist but also an awesome hip and chest opener like no other.
And of course, I sought the connection to my weekend. I was presenting on overactive and shortened muscles to a group of AFLCA leaders. THIS stretch was the ultimate in connecting to those overactive muscles.
In the end, my sunny east window glowed and I was rejuvenated in my savasana. Liver detox or not.
Aspiring Yoga Teacher
I've practiced yoga since I was a pre-teen and have always found it to keep me centered. I will be a teacher one day and this is my journey to discover teaching and practice.