Liver is one of the most important organs in the body. It sits just beneath your rib cage on the right side and has over 500 jobs within the body including digestion, protein synthesis, hormone production and detox therefore it’s important to take care of it. As per Ayurveda, the liver is a Pitta organ with fiery, hot qualities. So while it supports transformation and Agni within the body, it is also said to be the seat of emotions like anger, hate, irritability, judgement, resentment, envy, and impatience.
The problem is, as a result of our modern lifestyle, our livers are overburdened and can’t properly remove toxins from the blood, which allows them to accumulate and re-circulate throughout the body. If this happens for long enough, these toxins can (among other things) reach the brain and impact everything from cognitive functioning and memory to brain fog, anxiety and depression. (Also read: Diet plan for liver health: 10 foods that can work wonders for your liver )
Mel Singh, Yoga and Ayurveda Practitioner, Life Coach and Founder of Yogi Fuel suggested 4 practices from Yoga and Ayurveda to support your liver, and as a result physical and mental health in her Instagram post.
1. Asana and Movement
While certain postures have a specific effect on the liver and liver meridian, the right movement will support the liver in some way. Right movement is the movement done without too much force (which can negatively impact the liver) and supports the liver through gentle stimulation of the organ itself. You can also think of embodying cooling, calming, gentle energy as you move which will calm pitta and as a result, support your liver.
Pranayama supports the liver not only through gentle stimulation of the liver when the diaphragm moves up and down but in regulating and calming the prana and Pitta Dosha. The liver is aggravated by pitta-type emotions like anger and irritation. Calming and soothing pranayama such as shitali, or basic yogic breathing can help calm the nervous system, and smooth our sharp emotions, therefore supporting liver health.
3. Herbs and food
Certain herbs and foods have a specific action on the liver. Bitter and astringent foods and herbs have liver cleansing and pitta pacifying properties. Incorporating foods such as beets, karela, bitter greens and herbs such as Bhumyamalaki, turmeric and even triphala is very supportive for liver health and healing.
Adopting a pitta-pacifying lifestyle is also helpful. This means being gentle with yourself, witnessing when you’re pushing yourself too hard and trying to do it all on your own. Noticing anger, judgement, irritability, and giving yourself space to release those emotions, embodying cool, calm, and loving ones instead.