Physically, there are many symptoms of liver imbalance from the obvious to the very subtle, such as feeling a lump in the throat, or problems with tendons or eyes. One of the first signs is related to your emotions, specifically your temper: are you suffering from anger, stubbornness, aggression or irritation? When you’re thinking about a detox for your liver, you need to consider your general constitution. Some people are still physically strong, despite needing a liver detox, while some show signs of physical weakness. Another effect can show in your digestion – are you constipated, or the opposite? Do you suffer from colitis or IBS?
With an appropriate diet and a sensitive yoga routine you can have a massive effect on your physical and emotional state, especially after a period of excess like Christmas and New Year! So make a note of your emotional and physical states, however unconnected they might seem, before you start and check how you feel as they days progress.
Some general rules for your Diet:
- Eat primarily vegetarian food, including raw foods and sprouted grains, seeds and beans every day.
- Take the biggest meal of the day at lunchtime, eat early and sparingly in the evening. Avoid late meals to allow the liver and gall bladder time to prepare for their regeneration cycle during the night.
- For signs of weakness: drink organic apple cider vinegar and honey with warm water – useful for liver imbalance resulting in depression & irritability.
- For signs of heat/strength: choose bitter foods such as lemon, lime, grapefruit, rye, asparagus, Milk Thistle Tincture – all these help when anger, aggression, shouting, or splitting headaches are the symptoms.
- Once you have spent a few days on this regime, add in some foods for liver regeneration. The chlorophyll-rich foods such as wheat/barley grass, and the micro-algae spirulina or chlorella – all these are useful taken regularly to support balanced liver function. (New post about micro-algae coming soon.)
Yoga for the Liver:
How to access the liver? First and foremost, use your arms. Couple this with standing forward bends, abdominal work and some gentle twists and you’ll have a routine of benefit to the liver.
1. Half Uttanasana (wide feet) with hands on a ledge/windowsill.
2. Uttanasana – feet hip width, hands to the floor or legs, keep the legs strong and release the spine down.
3. Padangusthasana – really pull on your toes to look up, then bend the elbows wide to draw yourself towards your legs. (Have a read of this first: https://iyengarhomepractice.wordpress.com/tag/padangusthasana/
4. Adho Mukha Svanasana into Urdhva Mukha Svanasana, first using a chair and then from the floor if you are able.
5. Finish this section with Adho Mukha Virasana. (As you are in this pose, do you notice the feeling of ‘freshness’ coming through?)
6 & 7. Tadasana and Urdhva Hastasana X 2, then maintaining Tadasana: Extend your arms behind – lift your chest and open those armpits! X 2
8. Ghomukhasana X2
9. Navasana – use support if needed, and LIFT your sacrum and chest.
11. Jatthara Parivatanasana – bent legs, draw knees close to opposite elbow.
12. Passive backbend – get the support right under your shoulderblades, not your waist, so your arms must be high. Breathe into the rib cage/diaphragm area, especially areas where you feel tightness. Let the breath open and extend those areas.
13. Supta Baddakonasana.
After a few days, if you’re feeling better and suddenly find you have bundles of energy, Surya Namaskar is the best way to start your day. You can slow it down and step rather than jump if you prefer. http://bobbyclennell.com/MYoga.html (Please observe the restrictions at the bottom of the page.)