Why Detox? Why Yoga?

The word “detox” alone can strike fear into the masses: strange coloured juices and long scrolls of blacklisted foods. But take a moment to picture this: make-up free rosy cheeks, an even-keeled mood throughout the day, and less physical pain. While we may not ever look like that yogi on a serene plateau doing a handstand, what about just feeling better than you normally do?  Wouldn’t that be reward enough?

Sri Dharma Mittra

Sri Dharma Mittra

It is widely acknowledged that one of the best ways to keep the body looking young and toxic free is a yoga practice, be that daily or weekly.  For some inspiration, take a look at Sri Dharma Mittra, who is approaching 75.  While the picture can only illustrate the physical benefits of yoga, his mind is just as sharp, his words resonate with students worldwide who are fortunate enough to participate in one of his fully booked workshops.

Spinal Twist

Spinal Twist

Spinal twists and inversions are the two types of postures that increase the body’s natural capacity for detoxifying, which you can do from the comfort of your own living space.  A spinal twist is just that: twisting the body around the spine.  This action squeezes the liver and spleen and massages abdominal organs.  Inversions, such as headstand and shoulder-stand, turn the body upside down.  This is like a pushing the fast-forward button on how blood flows to the heart.  Here, blood is purified,  this triggers a rush of blood to the face, aiding complexion and yielding a youthful glow. Any posture that holds the hips higher than the heart is considered an inversion.  The basic yoga pose, “downward dog,” has detoxing benefits, for example.

Downward Dog

Downward Dog

Just like beginning a new exercise regime, a substantial detox can be challenging and difficult particularly at the beginning.  A three-day detox will be powerful enough to help recharge the system, and remember that even one day is better than none.  A ten-day detox is optimum.  The first three days are generally the most difficult on both body and mind.  During this phase it is important to understand these feelings subside and make way for some of the benefits such as clarity of mind and spritely energy.

A detox sharpens mentality.  It is amazing how a simple “spring cleaning” works for the mind, allowing it to be light and present.   With this clarity of mind and ability to be present, it is easier and more enjoyable to as work, do yoga, and meditate.   For this reason, detoxing once every five months is ideal.

The body has its own, natural, detoxifying process, a robust system that works well and includes the circulatory, digestive and the lymphatic systems.  However, the demands on this intelligent, anatomical system can wear and become exhausted due to an overload of pesticides and chemicals in food, water, the atmosphere, environmental pollutants, and consumption of saturated fat.  Top this off with an increased use of toxic substances such as sugar, caffeine and alcohol, and our bodies can be put under an abnormal amount of pressure.

Committing to a 10-day detox can be of utmost benefit to aid the body’s natural detoxifying process.  Not only will a well-rounded detox give the body a chance to eliminate the excess build up of toxins, it will also recharge the natural system to once again work at its optimum level.

More next week including a detox yoga practice.

Om Shanti,

Sinead.