Monday, October 28, 2013

Practice Safety Yoga

Think back to your sex education class in elementary school and the push for “safe sex.” Well, that’s exactly what I’m advocating here, except we’re talking about yoga. I am adamant about not forcing a yoga pose in my classes. If you’re going to practice yoga, do it mindfully. 

I had a conversation with another yoga teacher recently about how he got injured in yoga years ago. 

At the time, he was really into an intense yoga practice and pushing beyond his limits. He was reaching his arm around his back, his teacher made a slight adjustment with her leg, and then pop. He knew his shoulder was broken.

I had my own experience with injury in a yoga class after attending an advanced master class with a prominent yoga teacher in one famous yoga studio. I tried to keep up with the pace of the class, but...the class was more advanced than I expected. The yoga teacher remarked on my extended side angle pose, saying I was “wasting time.” He twisted me a little further and I heard my back pop and felt a sharp pinch. I walked away from this painful and humiliating experience learning a few hard lessons. Forcing yourself into a yoga pose is never a good thing!!

Yoga is not meant to be practiced that way. It’s about focusing on the correct posture and breathing, and being in acceptance. 

I try to instill this in my yoga students more than obtaining a pose(only position). Challenging yourself is great, but forcing is an entirely different mentality. This is a tangible concept you can incorporate into your everyday life, not just in yoga.

Here are a few tips I’ve come up with for safely practicing yoga:

Find a yoga teacher who uplifts, encourages, and safely guides you into furthering your yoga practice. 
If your teacher spends more time showing off her yoga skills rather than helping, you may want to look around. 
Notice your yoga teacher’s own limitations and how he or she handles them. We all have limitations, but it’s just a matter of how to work through them. Work with a teacher who helps you grow, not go.
Fewer egos are more in yoga.

Focus on the breath. 
I can’t say it enough in my yoga class. If you’re not breathing, then you’re forcing it. It’s our job as yoga teachers to help you breathe. Learning how to breathe in life is going to be a much bigger asset than learning how to stand on your head. Breath is more in yoga.

Be in acceptance and honor your body. 
Work with the limitations you are given and take baby steps towards your goals. We may have injuries, weaknesses, and issues that we have to contend with in our yoga practice. 

Yoga is being in a place of acceptance exactly where we are at right now. It helps to stay positive and envision yourself where you want to be. Remind yourself that you’re exactly where you need to be at this moment. Acceptance is more in yoga.

Yoga is not a competition. 
When you see your yoga neighbor contorting and you feel that tinge of jealousy, hold back. Notice and appreciate how beautiful the pose is and set the intention that you would like to be there someday. Go within and try to live in the space of loving yourself and those around you. You will get there when it is time. You are exactly who you need to be in this moment. You don’t earn medals in yoga.

Be patient with yourself and your yoga practice. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you progress in your practice. Surprisingly, I find that I progress even quicker when I focus on my breath and allow things to happen rather than force. That’s just a life principle that works with the flow of life. Enjoy the journey in yoga.

Yes, injury can happen in yoga just like in anything else. Incorporating a few of these suggestions into your daily life may help you avoid this from happening to you. Things happen, life happens, but yoga continues. Don’t blame the practice; blame the ego. Yoga won’t injure you, but you practicing yoga the way it wasn’t intended just might.

How Safe From the Dangers of Yoga?

If you’ve been practicing yoga – or have been thinking about it, you might have been thinking about what a wonderful, gentle form of exercise it is. Maybe your doctor told you it was a good way to start getting into shape. Or your roommate talked about how much it improved her stress level.

But if you’re looking at yoga from only that perspective, there’s information you’re just not considering.  Are you safe from the dangers inherent in yoga?  

Check this list and see which ones you might need to watch out for.

1. Perfectionism
When you’re working on inner peace and relaxation in yoga, it can seem like a kind of quest for perfection. And as you seek perfection in the “yoga part” of your life, it can start to seep out into other areas of your life as well. 

Don’t get me wrong – improvement is always a good thing. But if you start getting obsessed with the idea of perfection to the point where it prevents you from enjoying the realities and imperfections of life, well, that’s a danger.

2. Yoga clothes
Just say no to Spandex and wardrobe malfunctions.  Now I know you’d never go there, but it can be such a distraction when the person on the mat next to you does.  Or if the combination of sweat and the use of natural deodorants combines to cause an issue with body odor. And so forth. Or maybe it’s your own sweat or wardrobe malfunction that has you embarrassed and afraid.

Incidentally, this is where healthy detachment can be helpful. Rather than getting caught up in which part popped out of a yoga top where and was visible by whom, or who smells bad today, etc., you can just mentally take a step back and acknowledge the current reality and acknowledge when your irritation about it passes.

3. Getting hurt
I know…yoga is supposed to be gentle and healing. Some docs even prescribe it as part of a physical therapy plan.

But if you’re practicing yoga on your own (not in a class setting) where there’s no one to make sure you’re doing your poses correctly, it’s absolutely possible that you’ll hurt yourself. 

Make sure to have your instructor check your poses as well to make sure you’re doing them correctly and not setting yourself up for a back injury.

4. Fear of failure
This unique fear can be the one that blocks your progress more solidly than any other fear, if you can believe it. If you’re afraid of doing something wrong, or of looking dumb or of being out of tune as you chanted the Om, etc., you’re likely to start playing safe when practicing yoga. 

You might decide not to stretch yourself. You might worry about learning something new and just stop trying. And sometimes this fear can affect you in other areas of your life.

Yoga is often associated with promoting strength and flexibility, therapeutic value, and overall personal development. 

This activity is indeed very beneficial. It can be done in a class with other practitioners or therapist. It is also easy enough to be performed by people of all ages. 

However, Yoga can do much more harm than good if not done properly. You can get muscle strain and even injuries in some parts of your body. 

Here is a list of guidelines to keep in mind to stay injury-free while practicing Yoga:
  • Find a reputable Yoga teacher
It is ideal to practice Yoga under the supervision   ofa certified Yoga instructor who can see if you are doing the Yoga Poses correctly and help you when necessary. You also need to tell your instructor if you are pregnant or if you have had any injuries, surgery, or special needs. He or she will be able to modify the poses or suggest other exercises that will meet your needs. Ask your doctor if you can practice Yoga.
  • Practicing Yoga is not a competition.
    If you are practicing Yoga with other people, there is no point in comparing your performance to theirs. Should you get left behind, just do your own thing at your own pace and do not force yourself to keep up with them. Besides, there is no hurry when it comes to Yoga. Carry out each pose gently while breathing slowly and evenly. Start with the basic poses and if your body is up for it, move on to difficult ones.

  • Stay within your limits.
    Prevent injuries by knowing what you can and cannot do. Your Yoga instructor can assist you in determining the poses suitable for your ability level. If you feel something painful, stop doing the pose.

  • Do some Warm-up exercises before a Yoga session.
    Relax your muscles and promote blood circulation prior to a Yoga session by doing some Warm-up exercises. Stretching is a good way to improve flexibility of the muscles.

  • Wear loose clothing that will make you comfortable.
    Being comfortable with what you are wearing can make Yoga a lot more enjoyable to do. This activi
    ty requires a wide range of motion so avoid wearing clothes which can restrict your movement.

Safe Exercise

When people begin a new exercise program, they often push their bodies too far and put themselves at risk for injury. The common notion that exercise must be really hard or painful to be beneficial is simply wrong. Moderation is the key to safe exercise. Safe exercise programs start slowly and gradually build up in intensity, frequency, and duration. 

In addition, if you have an existing health problem, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, a history of heart disease, or are a smoker, you should contact your doctor before beginning any vigorous physical activity. 

Safe Exercise Guideline:

Use Proper Equipment:
Replace your athletic shoes as they wear out. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes that let you move freely and are light enough to release body heat. When exercising in cold weather, dress in removable layers. 

Balanced fitness:
Develop a balanced fitness program that incorporates cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and flexibility. In addition to providing a total body workout, a balanced program will keep you from getting bored and lessen your chances of injury. 

Warm Up:
Warm up to prepare to exercise, even before stretching. Run in place for a few minutes, breathe slowly and deeply, or gently rehearse the motions of the exercise to follow. Warming up increases your heart and blood flow rates and loosens up other muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. 

Begin stretches slowly and carefully until reaching a point of muscle tension. Hold each stretch for 10 to 20 seconds, then slowly and carefully release it. Inhale before each stretch and exhale as you release. Do each stretch only once. Never stretch to the point of pain, always maintain control, and never bounce on a muscle that is fully stretched. 

Take Your Time:
During strength training, move through the full range of motion with each repetition. Breathe regularly to help lower your blood pressure and increase blood supply to the brain. 

Drink Water:
Drink enough water to prevent dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Drink 1 pint of water 15 minutes before you start exercising and another pint after you cool down. Have a drink of water every 20 minutes or so while you exercise. 

Cool Down:
Make cooling down the final phase of your exercise routine. It should take twice as long as your warm up. Slow your motions and lessen the intensity of your movements for at least 10 minutes before you stop completely. This phase of a safe exercise program should conclude when your skin is dry and you have cooled down. 

Schedule regular days off from exercise and rest when tired. Fatigue and pain are good reasons to not exercise. 

Common Sports Injuries 

Overuse Injuries 
Exercise puts repetitive stress on many parts of the body such as muscles, tendons, bursae, cartilage, bones, and nerves. Repetitive stress can leads to microtraumas — minor injuries that would typically heal with enough rest. When you exercise too frequently, your body never has a chance to repair these microtraumas. As microtraumas build up over time, you become prone to overuse injuries, such as:
  • Damage to elbow cartilage in athletes who throw
  • Heel bursitis and stress fractures in runners
  • Nerve entrapment in rowers
  • Kneecap (patellar) tendinitis in volleyball players
Traumatic Injuries  
To build strength and endurance from exercise, you must slowly and gradually push your body beyond its limits. When you push too far too fast, the body is prone to traumatic injuries such as sprains and fractures. 

Many seasonal sports injuries happen when athletes rush their reconditioning and do too much too soon with bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles they ignored in the off-season. 
Risk Factors 
There are many risk factors that make injury during exercise more likely.
  • The duration, intensity or frequency of an exercise is excessive or rapidly increasing.
  • The terrain or weather conditions are extreme or irregular.
  • You use incorrect equipment, such as athletic shoes that are not designed for your activity.
  • You have been injured in the past.
  • You smoke or have led a sedentary lifestyle.
  • You have low aerobic or muscle endurance, low or imbalanced strength, or abnormal or imbalanced flexibility.
  • You have underlying musculoskeletal conditions that predispose you to injury, such as bowed legs or high arches in your feet.
First Aid
Accidents can happen despite safe exercise precautions. If you pull a muscle (or worse) during exercise, apply a protective device such as a sling, splint, or brace. Then use the first aid standard for musculoskeletal injures: rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). 
  • Rest the injury.
  • Ice it to lessen swelling, bleeding, and inflammation.
  • Apply a compression bandage to limit swelling.
  • Elevate the injury above heart level to reduce swelling.
You may use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen for pain. See your doctor if you have severe pain, cannot move the injured body part, or if symptoms persist. 

Supplements Vitamin not help bone health?!

Bad news for osteoporosis sufferers: Vitamin D supplements "do not help bone health"

The Independent warns,the claim comes after the publication of a major study into the effects of vitamin D supplements on bone density.

Bone density weakens as we get older with Post-menopausal women being at particular risk due to the effects that changes in hormone levels can have on bone density. This can increase the risk of fractures, such as hip fractures.

Vitamin D supplements – which are estimated to generate millions of pounds of profit for the dietary supplements industry – have been marketed as a way of preventing bone weakening. But the study in question throws doubt on this claim.

The study pooled the findings of 23 published studies. The results showed that vitamin D increased bone density by a small amount in just one site (femoral neck) of five sites tested. The effect was very small, and was reported to be unlikely to be clinically significant for preventing osteoporosis or fracture.

The conclusion that taking vitamin D does not appear to increase bone density on its own seems credible. Although the study didn’t directly test a link to bone fracture it did point to other research that showed that vitamin D might also be ineffective in this scenario.

The UK guidance on vitamin D supplementation is being reviewed and will take into account the best available evidence to inform its recommendations.

Where did the story come from?
The study was carried out by researchers from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and was funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand.
The study was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet.

The media reporting was broadly accurate with some media outlets focusing on the science while other stories focused more on the cost implications of potentially wasteful use of vitamin D supplements in the NHS in England. 

The Daily Telegraph reports that “the NHS currently spends more than £80m per year on prescriptions for vitamin D-based medicines”. However, this figure also includes treatment costs for people with diagnosed vitamin D deficiency, so the £80m figure is inaccurate.

Who should take vitamin D supplements? The Department of Health recommends that the following groups should take vitamin D supplements:
  • pregnant women
  • breastfeeding women
  • babies and children between the ages of six months and five years
  • older adults aged 65 or over
People who have limited exposure to sunlight, such as the housebound, or those who wear a veil for religious reasons, may also require supplements.
For more detailed information on the recommended dosages for each group read the Behind the Headline’s special report on vitamin D.

What kind of research was this?

This was a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials looking at whether vitamin D affects bone mineral density.
Vitamin D has several important functions including helping to regulate the amount of calcium in the body. This makes it biologically important in the formation and density of bones.

A meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials is a common method of trying systematically to identify all known research on a topic and to summarise it into a single conclusion. There have been a lot of research studies published on the effect of vitamin D on bone density, so this approach is an appropriate way of pooling the findings into an overall measure of effectiveness.  

Vitamin D supplements are sometimes given alongside calcium to prevent and treat osteoporosis, a condition where the bones become less dense (they lose bone mineral density), becoming more frail and likely to break. Fracture, especially hip fracture, can cause hospitalisation and is linked, particularly in the elderly, to an increased risk of dying from subsequent complications while in hospital. 

However, the study authors reported that a number of recent research studies have questioned the effectiveness of vitamin D supplements alone for increasing bone density, preventing bone breaks and preventing osteoporosis. So the researchers aimed to review all the literature on the subject to see whether vitamin D supplementation affects bone mineral density.

What were the basic results?
The literature search identified 23 studies that were relevant to the topic and were analysed in the meta-analysis. The studies included 4,082 participants, 92% of whom were women, with an average age of 59 years and the vitamin D interventions lasted an average of 23.5 months (just under two years). Nineteen studies had mainly white participants. 

Bone mineral density was measured at one of five sites:
  • lumbar spine (the bottom section of the spine in the lower back)
  • femoral neck (the top of the femur near the hip joint and commonly the place where a hip fracture occurs)
  • total hip
  • trochanter (another part of the femur near the top)
  • forearm
An overall total body bone density was also calculated.
The baseline levels of vitamin D varied a lot between the studies – the average level ranged from 30 nanomole (nmol) per litre to more than 75nmol per litre.
In 12 studies calcium supplements were also given to participants in both arms of the trial, balancing out any effect due to calcium.
Out of the 23 studies:
  • Six found a statistically significant benefit of vitamin D on bone density at one specific site – the femoral neck. Only one study showed benefit at more than one site.
  • Two found a statistically significant detrimental effect of vitamin D on bone density.
  • The rest, the majority, found no significant differences in bone density.
When they were pooled in a meta-analysis the results showed a small (0.8%) increase in bone density using vitamin D measured at the femoral neck only (weighted mean difference 0.8%, 95% CI 0.2–1.4). 

However, the characteristics of the underlying studies feeding into this result differed significantly (this is known as significant heterogeneity). For example, participants in the various studies were of different ages, ethnic groups or had different underlying conditions. This means that pooling the results may not be the most appropriate thing to do. No statistically significant effect at any other site was reported, including the total hip. 

The authors noted that there was positive publication bias for femoral neck and total hip. This means that studies finding that vitamin D was effective were more likely to be published, and those that found no effect were less likely to be published. As a result there wasn’t an accurate balance of findings in the published literature – it was biased towards positive results.

The researchers used a range of statistical models to take into account the possible influences (confounders) on bone density.

 These included:
  • age
  • study duration
  • number of participants
  • sex
  • vitamin D concentration/dosage
  • weight
  • baseline bone mineral density
Even after taking these confounders into account no significant beneficial effects of vitamin D on bone density were seen, aside from the small increase in femoral neck (which, as mentioned, may have been a distorted result due to publication bias).

How did the researchers interpret the results?

The authors’ central conclusion was that “continuing widespread use of vitamin D for osteoporosis prevention in community-dwelling adults without specific risk factors for vitamin D deficiency seems to be inappropriate”.
They are quoted in The Independent as saying “our data suggest that the targeting of low-dose vitamin D supplements only to individuals who are likely to be deficient could free up substantial resources that could be better used elsewhere in healthcare”.


This meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials found that there was a statistically significant increase in bone mineral density at only one site (femoral neck) through giving vitamin D. 

This effect was very small, and was reported to be unlikely to be clinically significant at preventing osteoporosis or fracture. 

This, the media and study authors suggest, calls into question the reportedly widely held belief that vitamin D supplementation is beneficial for preventing and treating osteoporosis and preventing bone fracture.
So does this contradict the current UK government recommendation that over-65s take a daily supplement?

Well, it is important to point out that preventing hip fracture is not the only reason people are advised to take vitamin D supplementation. The supplements have a variety of other important roles in the body and may be beneficial for other reasons, for example treating vitamin D deficiency due to an underlying condition such as Crohn's disease.

Similarly, osteoporosis is known to have many influencing factors such as genetics, diet and the environment, which are not accounted for in this study. So vitamin D is just one of the potentially influential factors on osteoporosis risk.

The study authors acknowledge that their research was limited by restrictions common to the individual studies included. Some were unblinded, short-term or used low doses of vitamin D, and most participants had adequate calcium intakes. They also highlighted strengths, including the fact that the total number of participants was large, most individual studies were well powered and there were wide ranges of baseline vitamin D concentrations, vitamin D doses and dosing regimens covered. 
Overall, the study findings appear to be relatively reliable.

The implication of the research was that giving vitamin D supplements to healthy individuals was a wasteful and inefficient use of healthcare resources and that “targeting of low-dose vitamin D supplements only to individuals who are likely to be deficient could free up substantial resources that could be better used elsewhere in health care”. 

The UK guidance on vitamin D supplementation is under review and it would be highly surprising if this new evidence were not considered.
The bottom line is that this evidence suggests that vitamin D supplements alone may not be effective at increasing bone density in healthy people. Any changes to your medications should be discussed with your GP.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


The shoulder should be the most mobile joint in the body, but when movement is limited athletes may end up compensating by using the low back rather than the upper back to increase extension in the lift. Here are three poses to help restore the proper range of motion:

Down Dog at the Wall

Benefit: Stretches the pectoral muscles and chest. Increases overhead range of motion without putting weight on the shoulders.

1. Facing a wall, step your feet back until you have to 
    lean forward in order to touch the wall. Make sure 
    your feet are hips width distance apart with the 
    second toes turned forward. 
2. Lean forward to place your hands flat on the wall, 
    shoulder height. The hands should be as wide as 
    the width of your outer shoulders.  
3. Keeping the hands shoulder height with the fingers 
    spread wide, release the chest down between the 
    biceps as much as possible. 
4. Hold for 2-5 minutes or as long as tolerable.

Bend the knees as much as you need. Turn the hands out slightly if shoulders are very tight. You may take the hands wider than shoulder width if you have severe limitations.

Stretches at the Wall

Benefit: Stretches the fronts of the shoulders and undersides of the arms, and brings awareness to mobility limitations.

1.Turn sideways with the right hip at the wall. 

2.Step the left foot back so you are in a lunge on the 
   ball of your left foot, feet hips width distance apart.

3.Ensure the right knee is just over the ankle. 

4.Keeping the chest and hips squared forward, begin to reach the right arm forward with the palm facing the wall. 

5.Like you are playing the piano, use the fingertips to slowly walk the right hand all the way up to vertical. 
Continue to walk the hand back behind you only as far as you can go without twisting the chest toward the wall. 

6.Hold for 5-10 breaths. 

7.Walk the hand slowly back to neutral. 

8.Repeat 3 times, then repeat on left side

Wide Leg Forward Bend With Shoulder Stretch
downward dog at the wall, shoulder stretches, upper body stretches, yoga
Benefit: Light hamstring stretch with a deep opening in the front of the shoulders.

1.Take a wide stance on your mat or on the ground. 
    When you reach your arms wide, the ankles should 
    be under your wrists with feet facing straight 
    forward or turned lightly in. 

2.Bring your hands behind you to the low back. 
    Interlace the fingers or, if that is too much, use a 
    strap or band to clasp the hands behind the back. 

3.Inhale to lift the ribs up and away from the hips, 
    opening the chest toward the sky. 

4.Exhale to fold forward. Bend the knees as much as 
   you need to. Shift the weight to the fronts of the 
   feet. Allow the hands to rise up off the lower back as    much as possible, as if you are lifting them over 
   your head and toward the front of your body. 

5.If it is too easy, try clasping the palms all the way 
   together with straight arms. If it is too hard, allow 
   the elbows to bend. 

6. Hold for one minute, then rise up, change the 
    interlacing of your fingers so the other thumb is on 
    top and repeat.

 downward dog at the wall, shoulder stretches, upper body stretches, yoga
When performing these exercises, it is important not to go beyond a position that is bearable, albeit slightly uncomfortable, for your body. 

If you feel you are straining your breath or experiencing a sudden, strong sensation, then back off. The stretch should slowly build in intensity in order to increase your mobility. For you overhead lifters who have challenges reaching the arms up with the biceps behind the ears, these stretches are great for you!


Liver problems are quite a serious concern as the liver plays a crucial role in our health and the normal functioning of our bodies. 

Liver disease and damage can even lead to death in severe cases. Liver damage or liver problems can occur because of a variety of reasons. In some cases the damage may be due to a specific disease like hepatitis, where jaundice is a symptom, or it could be liver damage due to lifestyle itself – excessive drinking or unhealthy food habits. Whatever the cause its important that you take care of and strengthen the liver to minimize damage and reduce the risk of deterioration. While certain illnesses are curable, some are not and lifelong care is necessary.

The use of yoga for the liver can help overcome and live with liver conditions. While the relationship between exercise and physical fitness is very evident the relation ship between exercise and liver health is not so clear. 

The idea of yoga for liver problems may in fact leave most of you baffled, or questioning the seeming absurdity of this declaration. But yes, yoga for liver problems is an effective way of maintaining and enhancing the health of this vital organ. 

Yoga’s approach to fitness differs from other exercise regimens, in that it does not merely focus on visible physical health, but on the body as a whole. This means that it takes into account the relationship between physical, mental and emotional health and the need to maintain balance. Yoga therefore acts as a balancing force, through its combination of physical postures, breath techniques and meditation.

In the context of internal organs, when we say exercise for liver problems for that matter, we are not referring to routines that exercise your liver, but rather to exercises or activities that stimulate, regulate and enhance the function. 

The strange contortions that make up the asanas or physical poses of yoga offer some of these direct benefits. Many of them put gentle pressure or act as a massage on the organ, stimulating it. Other asanas improve circulation, some improve nervous system function, breath exercises improve circulation and cleanse the system, and so on. Thus they indirectly improve liver function by balancing the various functions that do have an effect on liver function.

Exercise caution when practicing yoga however, as failure to follow rules or misinterpreting them can often result in injury. For this reason it is best to learn under the guidance of an experienced instructor. Certain yoga poses for liver problems are recommended such as the Spinal Pose, the cat & cow Pose, the bridge Pose, the cobra pose, and the Standing Forward Bend to name a few. Keep in mind that in addition to the physical practices it is necessary to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes diet and general routines. 

Practice different yoga poses to improve and maintain proper functioning and well-being of the liver. Use yoga to massage and vitalize this internal organ. Breathe throughout the exercises and drink water to flush toxins out after the poses.

Spinal Twist

This pose helps revitalize the liver by fighting abdominal bloating and fatigue. Sit on a mat with legs extended out in front of you. Tighten your core and sit up straight. Bend your left knee and place your left foot outside of your right knee. Place your right hand on the ground next to the right side of your butt, fingers facing away from your body. Place your left arm on the inside of your left knee. Gently rotate your torso to the right. To deepen the twist, walk your right fingers out behind your body. Stop when you can't twist any further and hold for 30 seconds and then switch sides.

Cat Pose

The liver is located in the abdomen; the cat stretch massages the stomach and the spine, both areas that protect the liver. Kneel on all fours. Place your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Relax your neck and head to the ground. Start with a straight back. Slowly round your back and curve it towards the ceiling. Lower to the start position and repeat the pose 10 times.

Cow Pose

A relaxed and loose back will enable proper functioning and detoxification of the liver. Cow pose stretches and heats up the spine. It also allows the stomach muscles around the kidneys to relax during the pose. Stay on your hands and knees and start with a straight back. Relax your head and look at the ground. Lift your hips, tailbone and chest towards the ceiling, while letting your stomach relax towards the ground. While you lift your body, lift your head and look straight ahead of you. Return to the start position and repeat 10 times.

Bridge Pose

Bridge pose strengthens the core muscles that protect the liver. Lie on your back with your legs bent and your feet close to your bottom. Rest your arms next to your legs, palms on the mat. Clench your glutes, push up through your heels and lift your hips and lower back. Stop when you form a straight line from your knees to you shoulders. Maintain a straight back throughout the lift. Lift your arms overhead and hold the position for 30 seconds to one minute.

Cobra Pose

The liver is at the top of the abdomen, directly under the chest region. This stretch opens up the chest and stretches the abdominal muscles that lie over the kidneys. Lie face down on a mat. Move your legs together and keep them this way throughout the pose. Place your right palm next to your right shoulder and your left palm next to your left shoulder. Keep your weight on your upper body throughout the pose; do not shift weight to your hands. Slowly lift your chest towards the ceiling. Use your lower back to lift your body. Relax your head and neck back as you move into the stretch.