In this day and age it is important to find methods to rid ourselves of toxins. There are many ways that our bodies, minds and souls can become contaminated. Pollution, harmful chemicals or even negative thoughts can pose as a threat to our systems. Now more than ever we are in need of cleansing and rejuvenating practices to support us. With a holistic approach to yoga, it is possible to achieve this.
There are a variety of yogic practices and techniques that promote detoxification on many different levels. In fact there are so many simple ways we can support ourselves. All we need to do is put in a little time and effort so that we can thrive.
Here are 5 different ways we can use yoga to assist us in cleansing and detoxification:
Hatha Yoga activates all of the body systems. It specifically deals with practices intended for body purification. Hatha Yoga works to establish harmony between opposing forces and balance Prana (energy) in the body. ‘Ha’ represents the solar energy (Pingala) considered the physical force, the sympathetic nervous system and ‘Tha’ represents the lunar energy (Ida) the mental force, the parasympathetic nervous system. The majority of the time one or the other is dominant. Hatha Yoga is the union of these two forces and brings us into balance through physical and mental purification.
‘Anna’ is the Sanskrit term for food. Anna Yoga is conscious and nutritious cooking and eating. Food contains Prana (energy) and depending on what you put into your body you can either hurt it or heal it. Nourishment of the body’s tissues forms a foundation for nourishment of the mind and emotions. This means it is important to eat wholesome food and minimize or eliminate foods that have chemicals or harmful stimulants. From a yogic perspective it is important to have a diet high it Sattvic foods. Sattvic foods have a kind of vitality that increases peace, bliss, lightness, clarity, intelligence and illumination. Swami Satyananda has said that it is “important to eat foods that burden the body least.” Ayurvedic cooking is an amazing way to eat foods that detoxify the body and promote health. Furthermore, mindful eating rituals allow us to approach food with clarity and consciousness.
Breath is one of the easiest and most fail-safe ways you can cleanse and detoxify your body. Pranayama is a series of breathing techniques that control and move the Prana (energy) in the body. Heating and cleansing breathing exercises are important to clear the body of toxins and reduce physical and mental stress. “Brahmari pranayama (Humming Bee Breath), when practised in slow resonance, creates a vibration in the heart, which you can feel if you hold your hand close to the chest. This vibration mobilizes the movement of cells and creates the momentum to rejuvenate a sluggish metabolism. Kapalbhati pranayama forces oxygenated blood into the brain thus clearing out impurities in the nerves and arteries, and recharging the cerebral system with new life” (Swami Satyasangananda). Breath is something you can access anywhere and anytime and therefore it is one of the most simple and effective ways to purify the body and mind.
Shatkarmas (Cleansing Techniques):
There are 6 yogic detox cleansing practices within the category of Hatha Yoga known as the Shatkarmas:
Neti: nasal cleaning
Dhauti: cleansing of the digestive tract.
Nauli: abdominal massage.
Basti: colon cleaning.
Kapalbhati: purification and vitalisation of the frontal lobes.
Trataka: blinkless gazing.
These techniques are advanced, powerful practices and must be practiced under the supervision of a qualified teacher, but they are amazing as they impact and activate almost all of the vital systems in the body, especially the digestive, respiratory, circulatory and nervous systems.
So often detoxification seems to only focus on the body. You can do all the healthy eating and exercise you want, but if your mind is negative then it has detrimental impact on everything else. Mind and body are connected. Just as you detoxify your body you must also your mind. Mindfulness meditation practice can help us to let go of the old patterns and become aware of the activity in our mental sphere. Antar Mouna for example is an inner silence meditation aimed at raising the awareness and directing the mind.
Yoga offers a variety of incredible techniques that promote detoxification on multiple levels. These practices help to bring our bodies, minds and souls into balance and create harmony throughout our system. At our upcoming Detox and Nutrition retreat in November, you can have the opportunity to learn and engage in the above detoxification practices. Click here to learn more about this amazing opportunity.