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5 Best Yoga Asanas for a Healthy Liver

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Specialty: Yoga

Anirudh is a Certified Yoga Instructor RYT 200 Yoga Alliance from Yoga Vedanta Centre. His teaching style incorporates the therapeutic principles of healing into the asanas and leaves one refreshed and energized. He teaches in and a... more

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We all know liver is one of the most important organs in our body. So, it is indeed necessary to keep it functioning well, right? But is there a simple and effective way to do it?

Yes, there is. It is yoga we are talking about. There are certain yoga exercises that can enhance the health of your liver! Would you like to know what they are? Do read!

1. Kapalbhati Pranayama

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Pranayama is a breathing exercise that is known for boosting the liver health of those who suffer from liver cirrhosis, jaundice, hepatitis and other diseases. Kapalbhati Pranayama, also known as the Yoga Skull Shining Breathing Exercise, is a yoga exercise that aids in liver stimulation and treats a variety of liver problems effectively (1). It also helps in the functionality of the spleen.

  1. This exercise works best when you sit cross-legged on an even surface.
  2. You need to inhale deeply and breathe out forcefully through your nostrils.
  3. Your focus should be on exhalation.
  4. For the exercise to work, you need to practice it every day for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Make sure that you are able to isolate the abdominals for this kriya.

2. Ardha Matsyendrasana

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This is a pose that is also known as the King of the Fish Pose. It is known to be highly beneficial for the liver. It helps in putting pressure on the liver, which in turn strengthens and stimulates the liver that is damaged by fibrosis, apoptosis, inflammation and stress. if there is already a medical intervention underway (banding due to portal hypertension), you should avoid putting any undue pressure or twists to the abdomen.

  1. This asana is performed by sitting cross-legged and crossing your left foot over the right one.
  2. Your knees should be raised above the surface and pointing upwards.
  3. Move your right hand over your left leg and hold your left foot. Next, press your left leg gently against your abdomen, turning your head to the right side at the same time.

5. Naukasana

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This is another pose that is known as the Boat Pose, and it is a simple yet effective asana for helping treat liver conditions. By performing this exercise, you help in the stimulation and strengthening of your liver, allowing it to clean all the harmful toxins out of your body.

  1. You can perform this asana by lying on your back.
  2. Raise both the upper and lower portions of your body, making your body rest on your buttocks.
  3. Remain in this pose for as long as possible.
  4. Return to the resting position and repeat it.
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Other yoga poses that you can practice to help your liver include:

  • MeruWakrasana- Spinal Twist
  • BhuNamanasana- Spinal Twist Prostration Pose
  • Utthita Hasta Merudandasana- Raised Hand and Spine Pose
  • Merudandasana- Spinal Column Pose
  • ArdhaMatsyendrasana Half Spinal Twist
  • Bhujangasana- Cobra Pose
  • SuptaMatsyendrasana- Supine Spinal Twist
  • Padangusthasana- Hand to Toe Pose

Points To Remember:

By practicing different yoga exercises or poses, you can improve and maintain your liver so that it functions properly and stays healthy. Yoga is a superb way to stimulate this important organ and vitalize it. When you are practicing yoga exercises to help your liver, remember always to focus on your breathing. You should also drink plenty of water after the exercises to flush out all the impurities from your body.

Apart from performing yoga exercises, you need a healthy, well-balanced diet. Here are a few diet tips to benefit your liver:

  1. Avoid alcohol.
  2. Avoid beverages like tea and coffee.
  3. Avoid fried foods or foods that are oily.
  4. Avoid sugars that are refined, such as jams, artificial sweeteners, etc.
  5. Increase your use of fennel, cumin, caraway, laurel leaves and ginger in the dishes you prepare.
  6. Eat more lemons, pomegranates, figs, and plums.
  7. Drink 8 glasses of water daily, in-between meals.
  8. Do not eat unless you are hungry.
  9. Always eat food that is freshly cooked.
  10. Increase your intake of Vitamin C as it is a potent antioxidant that helps the liver and lowers damage from toxins in liver cells.
  11. Drink a few cups of dandelion and green tea every day.

Yoga may help improve liver health, and all you need to do is follow the five asanas discussed in the article. These poses help stimulate, stretch, and strengthen the liver and prevent conditions like fatty acid liver disease, cirrhosis, etc. However, apart from practicing these yoga asanas, you need to adopt a healthy lifestyle, follow a proper diet, and drink plenty of water (at least eight glasses) to flush out toxins. Also, avoid alcohol, junk and processed foods, sugars, artificial sweeteners, and consume freshly cooked food. A holistic lifestyle is the only way to keep your body and organs healthy.

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