The organ body

The organ body is housed in the main trunk of the body and consist of the lungs, heart, liver, kidneys and digestive system. Each organ has a specific job with one thing in common – removal of waste products from the body. The body is cleverer than we give it credit for. We don’t need a strict regime of green smoothies and colonic irrigations for the body to detox. It is constantly working on moving unwanted byproduct out of the systems. What yoga can do is works from the inside to optimise conditions for the organs to do this important job. Contrary to what you might hear in class yoga doesn’t wring out the organs (apart from the gut which enjoys a good twist). Twists and backbends stimulate cellular activity and circulation in the organs, this helps the organs work more efficiently to remove waste. In our practice we twist to the right first to press the ascending colon, and then to the left to the descending colon. Gently moving things along in the right direction for optimum elimination. You might remember, if you ever did baby massage, there was a very specific direction you had to massage the babies stomach to help with wind. Yoga follows the same principles.

The organs work in symbiosis with the skeletal and muscular systems – both supporting and protecting each other. The heart and lungs fill and support the ribcage, and the ribcage protect these organs – the stomach and liver work with the mid torso; the gut with the spine; and the kidneys with the lower back body. Feeling into these spaces in your practice can be easier for some organs than others. We can feel the oscillation of the breath and the constant pulse of the heart, but the liver, kidneys and gut can be harder to sense. Moving from the inside and visualising where these area are will help you feel into the spaces that these organs occupy.

We often blame our muscles or our anatomy for restrictions in poses, but often it can the organs restricting movement. Think of taking a twist with a full stomach, apart from being quite uncomfortable, you will notice you can’t take a very deep twist. We forget sometimes we are more than just our bones and muscles and that our organs occupy and the core of what we are trying to move.

Throughout this sequence see can you initiate the movement from the inside and try to soften your attachment to how your pose looks from the outside.

  • Start in a comfortable cross legged position. Take five deep breaths and feel for the space where the heart (hand over top left chest region), lungs (both hands over chest region), liver and stomach (both hands just under your bottom rib), intestines (both hands over belly) and kidneys (both hands either side of lower back) are.

  • When you come into Warrior II expand and dilate the lungs and heart centre. Let your arms extend from this boyante area. Now allow your chest to collapse and and notice what effect this has. The expanded heart and open lungs supports the extended arms.

  • Before you take a twist ot backbend lengthen up through the whole spine to get space between the vertebrae to move into.

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Ruth Delahunty Yogaru