Digestion Suggestion

This pose – Adho Mukha Savasana – is an excellent pose for eliminating stagnation *passively*

Last week I was (happily!) surprised by Anna, Studio Manager of Unity Yoga in Brighton, who asked me to demonstrate a yoga asana for their Instagram feed.

As I was teaching a class on Detoxing (read: yoga for hangovers, jet-lag or both!), I settled on the following pose which is super-simple yet a great way to massage your pelvic lymph nodes and colon, get your digestion moving, and increase circulation in order to improve detoxification. Bonus point: it can even help with period cramps.

If you haven’t got a block, then lying on a rolled-up blanket is absolutely fine – perhaps even better if the block doesn’t quite feel enough (as it wasn’t for some of my students last week). If it feels like overstimulation, then please unroll the blanket a little to decrease the intensity. As always, do come out of the pose whenever you need to.

As the video on Instagram is short and unscripted, I didn’t get the chance to explain the importance of deep conscious breaths to help stimulate your belly. Likewise, arm position: so, if you’re able, reach your arms over your head to the floor in front of you and rest your forehead either on the mat or on crossed arms. You can also lie your cheek to one side. Just remember to change the cheek or arm-cross midway through to get a nice equal stretch on each side. And like renowned Kundalini Kriya teacher Leslie Kazadi below, feel welcome to add a bolster under your feet if you feel like being really spoiled…

Adho Mukha Savasana - forward facing rest by Leslie Kazadi - yoga kundalini by James Wvinner
Image of Leslie courtesy of James Wvinner at Yoga Journal

This is an excellent pose for eliminating stagnation passively. So, if you’re someone like me who’s disabled half the time, it’s wonderful having the opportunity to get things moving internally, even when your mobility’s compromised and you can’t move much externally. Hooray for yoga!

Finally, with a little extra internet digging I discovered that this pose has an official sanskrit name: Adho Mukha Savasana or Downward-facing Rest. It’s always so obvious when you know how!

The Ultimate Yoga Glow

When teaching a Restorative Yin yoga class, there is nothing as rewarding as the moment at the end of the last, lovely long Savasana, when your students roll to one side and, after resting there a moment, slowly push themselves up to a seated position.

Rather than the pressures of daily life they inadvertently brought with them to the studio at the start of the session, little by little, asana by asana, the students have released the tension stored in their body.

The yogis in the class sit bleary-eyed and unfocussed, their skin shining, the lines on their face softened, looking newer somehow, and more fresh.

Shoulders once hunched up in desk-stress are now gently loosened and lowered. Body language speaks quietly of ultimate relaxation, of grounding and reconnection with the self.

At least that’s my experience of a successful Restorative Yin class from where I’m sitting. What’s yours?