In today’s fast-paced world, people of all age groups face hectic schedules, be it at work, school or home. This invariably hampers physical and mental health, with heightened stress levels, diabetes mellitus, cardiac ailments being reported on a large scale worldwide. And besides the heart, brain, lungs, digestive system and kidneys, a key internal organ that also undergoes a decline in functions is the liver. A large reddish-brown organ situated on the right side of the abdomen, the liver carries out numerous vital functions including filtering blood from the digestive system, metabolizing drugs, breaking down fats for lipid metabolism, synthesizing proteins for transport of fatty acids and detoxifying the system of harmful wastes.
When the liver undergoes impairment, the hepatic cells can no longer perform these crucial bodily operations, leading to several maladies such as fatty liver disease, jaundice, hepatic cirrhosis, fibrosis, hepatitis, liver failure and liver cancer. It is hence pivotal to maintain optimal liver health to ensure that toxic substances are removed from the body and prevent any hepatic illnesses.
Apart from a balanced diet, ample hydration and healthy sleeping patterns, the traditional practice of Yoga that originated in India thousands of years ago confers outstanding incentives for liver wellness. Yoga encompasses various asanas or exercises that involve stretching and bending the body, focusing on breathing deeply as well as flexing the muscles, which lessen stress, inflammation in the liver, accelerate fat conversion for energy needs of the body and also facilitate detoxifying processes and improve blood circulation to and from hepatic tissues, for augmented liver functions.
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Proven Yoga Exercises To Safeguard Liver Wellness:
Balasana (Child Pose)
Get down on your knees, keeping the spine straight. Now slowly bend forwards such that both the thighs touch the chest. Keep bending forwards until your head is beyond the knee and touches the ground. Straighten both the arms backward on either side of your legs with your palms, downwards facing the floor. Be in this position for 20-25 seconds, take few seconds of break and again repeat 2-3 times.
Anulom Vilom Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
Be seated on the ground in a cross-legged stance or if possible, in padmasana or artha padmasana. Place both hands on the respective knees. Hold the right nostril with the right thumb tightly, then inhale through the left nostril. After 5 – 10 seconds, release the thumb from the right nostril and exhale through it, whilst tightly enclosing the left nostril with the middle finger. Do this again, this time inhaling via the right nostril and exhaling through the left nostril. Repeat this sequence for 10 – 15 minutes.
Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)
Lay down on the ground, with your stomach touching the floor, feet spread apart a little and arms along the side of the body. Lift your lower legs, keeping them steady by holding on to your ankles with your hands. Raise your chest and legs off the surface while taking in a deep breath. Stay in this manner for as many seconds as possible, then gradually bring your upper body and legs back to the floor.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)
Balance yourself on all four limbs, placing your arms down straight, with your head facing front, bending your knees and stretching your lower legs outwards on the ground, resembling a table. Slowly lift your hips while breathing out, straightening your arms, elbows, to form a V-shaped structure. Extend your arms, further elevating your body, hold the pose for a few minutes, then gently relax and come back to the table position.
Naukasana (Boat Pose)
Start by lying down flat on the ground, with the back facing downwards. Place both arms by the sides of the body. Slowly inhale and exhale for a few cycles to regulate breathing patterns. Then simultaneously raise your upper body off the ground, while lifting both feet above. Place both hands directly forward, stretched out between the body and knees. Stay in this position resembling a boat for at least 5 minutes to attain improved muscle flexibility and balance. Exhale and relax the body, gradually bring it back to the ground.