Many yogis say yes, and the idea is supported by such high-profile physicians as Frank Lipman, MD, author of Revive: Stop Feeling Spent and Start Living Again. “I recommend it to my patients all the time,” he says.
Why? “Twisting poses assist detoxification in several ways,” says Tiffany Cruikshank, yoga teacher and author of Optimal Health for a Vibrant Life: A 30-Day Program to Detoxify and Replenish Body and Mind. “The first is the mechanical stimulation of the twisting motion, which encourages the removal of waste in the intestines. The second is the compression of the blood vessels around the digestive organs in the abdomen, as well as the kidneys, which stimulates blood flow to the organs and increases absorption of nutrients and the release of toxins through the blood. This also brings in nutrients to keep the tissues of the digestive tract and kidneys healthy and thriving. Lastly, simply relaxing into the pose can help stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (which controls ‘rest-and-digest’ activities), encouraging your internal organs to digest and eliminate toxins.”
The extent to which all these benefits accrue during a particular asana or yoga session isn’t clear, but there’s one way to find out: Try it for yourself.