Reason number one on my list of 50 reasons to do yoga this year, is that yoga can help with organ function. There is no order of importance to this list, it’s just a random list of benefits that happens to start with organ function.
I am no doctor, and none of this info is meant to be taken as medical advice, it’s just some general insight into why yoga can be good for you, and why you should try it (and do it on a daily basis).
From my training as a hatha yoga instructor I learned that yoga is primary based around the spine, and the six movements of the spine. The purpose of these six movements is to help maintain the natural integrity and youth of the spine. So it helps keep it flexible, strong and healthy.
What we often overlook (and I find the most interesting) is how the organs of the body all align to the spine. This means every time you move the spine, the organs are gaining stretch and movement as well. In back-bends we create space for the organs, in forward-bends the organs get a gentle squeeze, in side stretches we get space on one side of the body (these are great for prenatal yoga) while giving the kidneys a squeeze on the opposite side, and most important for the organ body are spinal twists. A twist can literally detoxify the organ body, squeezing out toxins and flushing the organs with fresh blood and oxygen.
I often remind my students that our organs work for us every single second of our life. They never get a break. We need to take care of, and nurture, our organ body. As much as stretching can help release toxins from our system, rest is just as important. Sivasana (relaxation at the end of yoga class) or yoga nidra (yogic sleep) are both excellent ways to give the organs a conscious rest and allow them to rebalance and rejuvenate.
Doing a seasonal cleanse, quitting sugar, smoking and cutting out processed foods and alcohol consumption are all ways you can give the organs a break, and yoga will help optimize their function as well as speed up the detoxification/healing process.
Our organ body is our filter, our lungs and heart/bloodstream, kidneys, liver and bowels all work to remove what is harmful or not useful to us. The cleaner we eat, the fresher our air we breathe, and the more we incorporate yoga, the more improved our organ function will be.
Has yoga helped you? If you could share one thing about yoga with a beginner, what would it be?
Next weeks blog will about how yoga helps improve our breathing!