How Yoga Can Support Your Detox
Energise and Release Toxins Through Yoga
Chetana Thornton is one of our teachers who teaches on our detox yoga retreats in the UK. Read here how she approaches yoga to aid detoxifying the body.
Yoga for detox is about activating chi, enlivening energising every cell with prana, which is the life force, energy or the breath. Using yoga to detox is about alkalizing the body through positive thought cultivation arising from meditative awareness. Through yoga, we bring consciousness into the form enabling all the rebalancing healing potential of the bodies intelligence to awaken.
How Asana and Pranayama Can Help
Through asana, we can bridge consciousness to awaken through unconscious habits that have deadened areas of our body and energy system, where we have created areas of acidic rigidity, blockage and resistance. We can create openness by a consistent unravelling of the body, activating new pathways in the brain. This can transform our negative habits into positive habits by restructuring and re-aligning.
Yoga for detoxing is about focusing the asana practice to open the energy gates of our body and energy pathways. We can do this in many ways, a powerful tool is by using the ujjayi breath. Through using the breath we can help to purify our lungs, our blood and in turn our body systems. The breath helps to shift emotional blockages that we have stored in our cell memory of our muscles and internal organs. It’s so simple, we just have to breathe, yet we forget so easily day to day to do this. Using the breath and in our asana yoga practice, we can learn to spiral into and out of postures following the fascia movement of the body which moves as an interconnected ocean. This, in turn, frees up the emotions, leaving us feeling as if tension has been released, we feel lighter, brighter, more energised. Breath work in specific postures oxygenates the blood, clearing out yeasts and the ageing fermenting processes occurring in the body.
Yoga asanas also create tractions and stretches which encourage production of synovial fluid in the joints – this lubricates the joints and increases ease of mobility and fluidity keeping your musculoskeletal system supple.
Inversions, Twists and Cleansing the Liver
Through inversions, we can focus on increasing circulation and lymph drainage, also supported through arm and leg stretches moving from the origin of the limbs into the asana. When we energise, the red blood cells oxygenate and we invite the white blood cells to mobilise from the stagnation that creates mucus and/or phlegm build up.
Through asanas such as twists, we can eliminate digestive waste. When we twist one way, we are compressing the internal organs, wringing them out if you like. The other side of the body is being stretched, so we are stretching out the internal organs. A very cleansing asana practice.
A key area to focus cleansing through a yoga detox programme is the liver. This can be encouraged via side bends, arm balances and twists. Wide-legged forward bends similarly opening the liver meridian lines.
Bhastrika Breath & Removing CO2 From the Body
The main waste that leaves the body is CO2. We can facilitate this by emphasising the lengthening the exhale. An example practice of this is Bhastrika which ejects stagnant air from the lungs. Translated as “bellows breath” you are “emptying” the body of waste and by practising “fire building” yang asanas we build Agni, the “digestive fire” which burns waste and facilitates the letting go process emotionally, mentally and physically.
Bhastrika Breath: If you feel sluggish, doing a set of bhastrika breaths will clear the clouds from your body and mind. If you are trying to lose weight, doing a few rounds throughout the day will increase your digestive power and help increase your metabolism. Performing bellows breathing close to bedtime isn’t recommended, however, as it may invigorate your mind and make it difficult to fall asleep.
How to Perform Bhastrika Breath
In a comfortable cross-legged seated position, relax your shoulders and take a few deep, full breaths from your abdomen. After that, start exhaling forcefully through your nose, followed by forceful, deep inhalations at the rate of one second per cycle. Your breathing is entirely from your diaphragm, keeping your head, neck, shoulders, and chest relatively still and relaxed while your belly moves in and out.
Start by doing a round of ten bhastrika breaths, then breathe naturally and notice the sensations in your body. After 15 to 30 seconds, begin the next round with 20 breaths. Finally, after pausing for another 30 seconds, complete a third round of 30 breaths.
Although bellows breathing is a safe practice, stay tuned into your body during the process. If you feel light-headed or very uncomfortable, stop for a few moments before resuming in a less intense manner.
Through a yoga detox programme, we aim to purify the body and mind, rejuvenating every cell. To restoring oneself back to optimal health and well-being, combinations of fire-building asanas (to transmute damp and stagnation) and rejuvenating relaxing practices (to bring the body back to homoeostasis) can rekindle a more sattvic, sustainable way of being in our daily lives.
Adventure Yogi offer detox yoga retreats in many locations in theUK, for more information, check out our 3-day detox retreats or our 5-day detox retreats.
Chetana Thornton is a yoga teacher, a Thai massage therapist and an acro yoga teacher. She teaches retreats worldwide and currently resides in Brighton where she teaches workshops and holds Kirtans at her yoga studio.