The kids have Spring Fever and are ready for a break from school and you are ready to settle into a new rhythm.
If you’re like me, Spring also brings the urge to declutter the house, clean up old snow boots and get your own body up and running optimally!
If you’re ready to release all the winter “pile up” of extra weight, toxins and emotional stress then you’re reading the right blog post!
WHY IS DETOXIFICATION SO IMPORTANT?
The truth is our bodies have very natural ways of detoxifying on a regular basis. Isn’t it great that we’re made that way?
However, if we overload ourselves with heavy and chemical ridden foods, sit around watching a bit to many episodes of “How To Get Away With Murder” and stay in a mental funk, then the body and mind becomes overloaded with “toxins”.
Now I am a yoga teacher, so I like to approach things from that perspective. Let’s look at what yogic philosophy has to say about “toxins”.
WHAT DOES YOGA HAVE TO SAY ABOUT TOXINS?
Well yoga doesn’t really talk much about toxins, but the sister (more practical) science of yoga, known as Ayurveda has a lot to say about the topic! (Learn more about what ayurveda is here).
From an ayurvedic perspective, we humans consume lots of “stuff”. We obviously consume food, but we also ingest information, airborne chemicals and microbes, as well as “energy” from our environment.
When these things come into our experience, our body and mind are designed to “digest” them so that we can continue along our merry way with life.
However, sometimes, these things go undigested and become a toxin that’s called ama.
Ama can be physical, like that undigested steak you ate last night that’s rotting in your belly. It can be mental, like the negative thoughts you have about your husband leaving the toilet seat up AGAIN. Or it can be emotional, like the grief you feel at the loss of a parent.
When too much ama builds up in the mind and body we become imbalanced and disease begins to take hold.
SO HOW ARE WE SUPPOSE TO RID OURSELVES OF THIS AMA?
As yoga is all about a holistic approach to keeping us well, I like to take a holistic 3 part approach to detoxifying mind, body and spirit. I also teach this holistic approach to detoxification in my 5-part yoga for detoxification video series! You can learn more about that here!
Let’s start with the body, since it’s the most obvious part of ourselves.
DETOXIFYING THE BODY
There are three main systems that help us detoxify the physical ama we take in:
System # 1The Circulatory System
This bodily system is made up of the heart and blood vessels. The heart pumps the blood (which carries oxygen and other nutrients to our organs, and removes carbon dioxide and other toxins away from our organs).
As one of the main exchanges in the circulatory system is oxygen and carbon dioxide we can use certain pranayama (yoga breathing practices) to help us take in more of the life giving oxygen and get rid of more of the toxic carbon dioxide.
System # 2 The Digestive System
So we already said that physical ama comes mainly from the food we eat. So ridding the body of toxins through digestion starts with eating a good diet that supports our health and doesn’t create many toxins to begin with.
I wrote a blog post about what “healthy eating” is. You can read that here!
So you say you’re already on toxic digestive system overload? Well I got you covered.
Thankfully there a tons of yoga poses and practices that we can do to stimulate the digestive system. Almost any yoga pose that engages the core (think boat pose) or twists the spine (think reclined twist) will do a good job of massaging the digestive organs and stimulating them to push the undigested food out of the body and into the potty where it belongs!
In part 2 of my yoga video series on detoxification I guide you through a 30 minute practice to use the digestive system as a detox mechanism. Learn more about that series here.
System # 3 The Lymphatic System
This is the bodily system that drains all the “bad” disease causing germs down into key places (called lymph nodes) so that the circulatory system can pick them up and move them out of the body!
When you get those feet in the air gravity becomes your friend as it moves the lymph fluids from your feet and toes, down to the core of your body to the main lymph nodes we talked about earlier.
So YAY for inversions!
If you’d love to try your hand at doing some inversions at home check out this Ultimate Guide To Yoga Inversions PDF to help you practice being upside down safely at home! Click here to get it!
DETOXIFYING THE MIND
So now that we’ve cleared the body of ama, its time to focus on our minds!
Have you ever had just the most negative loop running in your head and couldn’t seem to get it to stop? Maybe it sounded something like:
“I suck as a mom”
“I’m never going to be able to get a good nights sleep”
“Damn it! It would be nice if he helped out around the house a little bit”
“I’m going crazy! I need a break!”
If you’ve been a mother for more that a day, you have probably had a thought or two like this!
But what does this have to do with detoxification?
Remember we said that “ama’ is not just physical. Ama is anything we take in that has been left undigested and that includes those pesky negative thoughts.
Here’s the thing, yoga teaches us NOT to try to get rid of our negative thoughts and beliefs. It actually teaches us to focus on the opposite.
The thinking is that, the more “space” the positive thoughts take up in our consciousness, the LESS room there will be for those Negative Nancys!
So how do we fill ourselves with positive thoughts?
Personally I LOVE mantras. Louise Hay is a wonderful spiritual teacher that teaches her students the power of mantra (she calls them affirmations) all the time. She even sends out an affirmation card every single day on social media! Get your daily affirmations from Louise Hay here!
One of my favorite personal mantras is: “I DON’T KNOW”.
It may be but it immediately gives me perspective and builds my trust in Divine and perfect timing. I did a quick Periscope the other day about why I use this mantra. You can check that out here!
DETOXIFYING THE SPIRIT
In my experience the practice of meditation, no matter what method or tradition your follow, is a wonderful tool to help you let go of the emotional ama you may be holding on to.
There is great scientific research out there about how meditation changes certain areas of the brain, making us more calm, and less prone to hold onto negative thoughts.
A great book to check out if you’re a neuroscience geek like me is called How God Changes Your Brain by Andrew Newberg. Check out Dr. Newberg’s website here!
Reading that book just put everything into perspective for me, BUT even more importantly it helped me understand that using something as simple and free, as meditation was a great way to rid myself of “energies” that don’t serve me!
You see, there are many, many ways to use yoga practices to get rid of all the no-so-good stuff we don’t want in our bodies, minds and spirits!
Ready to detoxify your mind, body and spirit from the convenience of your own home?
Get my Yoga For Detox Series and start feeling lighter and more focused now!