If you live in America, cocktails and barbecue are a necessary part of the summer experience. Bloating, gas and the feeling of all-around sluggishness, unfortunately, goes along with it.
While splurging at a party is OK, feeling crappy afterward is not. April Martucci — yoga instructor and creator of FireDragonYoga in New York City — says that yoga is a great way to help stimulate the circulatory, digestive and lymphatic systems and work at getting rid of impurities and toxic buildup that leaves us feeling heavy and sluggish.
She provided us with the following four yoga poses that will aid in the elimination process:
Start seated on the floor with legs extended in front. Both sits bones are grounded. Bend the right knee into the chest and place the foot flat on the floor on the outside of the left knee. Stretch the left arm into the air toward the ceiling, lengthening the left side. Twist entire left shoulder and left side to the outside of the bent right knee. Place right hand close to the sits bones on the floor behind, while the left elbow pushes into the right leg. Keep the spine straight. The left elbow assists you in getting into the twist further.
* The full expression of this would be with the bottom leg not extended but bent and curled under the right leg.
Improves digestion, stimulates the ascending colon when twisting to the right, descending when twisting to the left
Increases flexibility in each vertebrae of the spine, from the base of the spine through the neck
Stretches the back muscles and hips
Massages the abdominal organs, which helps to relieve constipation
Brings more blood flow to the spine
Start on the hands and knees, all fours position. Press back the buttocks to the heels, folding over the legs, resting the forehead on the floor. Stretch the arms out in front toward the top of the mat or place the hands back by the feet or stack them under the forehead as a little pillow. Deeply inflate the lower belly against the upper thighs with each breath. Stay for as long as needed, but at least five to 10 breaths. On the last inhale, take hands to the floor beneath the shoulders and, on your exhale, press up.
Compresses the abdomen and massages the internal organs
Stimulates the digestive system
Releases hormones in your body that aid in digestion and elimination
Provides blood flow to your stomach — key to good digestion
Calming to the nervous system and helps quiet the mind, too!
Start seated with both sits bones on the mat, legs extended. Bend right knee into the chest, place right foot against the left inner thigh as high as possible. Twist toward left leg with back straight; bring trunk in line with left leg. Reach with both hands for the left foot or use a strap — or hands can rest on either side of the extended leg. This is a forward bend and a twist in one. Five breaths. Switch sides.
Relieves stress, anxiety and menstrual discomfort
Stimulates the kidneys and liver
Stretches the shoulders, spine, groins and hamstrings
Lie on your back, bringing your thighs toward your chest. Take your knees apart, reaching your hands outside or inside the legs, so you can gently grab your ankles or the arches of your feet. Knees stay bent and positioned toward your chest — you gently pull the knees down toward the chest. Rocking a bit from side to side is an option as you enjoy the pose. Hold for 10 breaths.
Can relieve pressure from irritable bowel syndrome or other intestinal issues
Helps to alleviate bloat and gas, and massages the kidneys
Loosens up a stiff lower back, and opens the hips as well
Now that you're detoxed, check out these 10 summer cocktails and start the cycle all over again!