Ask the Expert: Do Twists Really Wring Out Toxins?

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Nov 14 Yogapedia Squat with Twist

Answers to your questions about detoxifying yoga, back pain, digestive distress, and more.

My teacher always describes certain poses, especially twists, as detoxifying. Can you actually wring toxins out of your body?

Not exactly. Your liver and lymphatic system constantly flush harmful toxins out of your body on their own. And although twists have benefits ranging from increased flexibility to stimulated appetite, there's no scientific research that proves twisting asanas improve liver and lymphatic-system function. Practicing deep yogic breathing, however, will assists your organs in the detoxification process. You can also decrease the toxic load on your body by reducing the amount of toxins you put into it. Try to replace packaged foods (which can be loaded with undesirable processed flour, sugar, and preservatives) with nutrient-dense whole foods like nuts, fruits, vegetables, ancient grains (such as quinoa, farro, and spelt), and seeds. And swap out chemical-based personal-care products for natural, plant-based alternatives.

--Eric Grasser, MD, CAy
Functional-medicine and Ayurvedic doctor and founder of Unity Medicine, Santa Fe, New Mexico

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