With spring right around the corner we start shedding our winter layers. Spring equinox makes us feel hopeful as we come out of hibernation mode and put away that winter coat. We get inspired again and have less want and cravings for the warm comforting foods and desire to feel lighter. A spring awakening often creates a motivation in us to revisit the detox we committed to way back in January — remember those New Year’s Resolutions! When we hear detox, we usually think restrictive diet, but there are so many ways to ‘detox’ our body. While the food we eat has a huge impact on our ability to cleanse, so does how we handle stress and move our bodies. When we are stressed, our body goes into protection mode; we clench, grip and create excess tension, making it challenging to let go! Here is where Yoga comes to the rescue. It can help us achieve mental relaxation and encourage our body to eliminate toxicity.
Regardless of how clean we live, toxin accumulation is inevitable, so giving our body every opportunity to detox is essential to feeling good! This can be simple with a regular yoga practice, through various pranayama (breathing exercises) and asana (postures), which help to release toxins on a cellular level.
The postures and breathing techniques used during yoga for detox can stimulate detoxification in three main systems. It revitalizes our circulatory system by increasing circulation and sending fresh blood flow through breath and movement, which means fresh oxygen into our body, and waste out. Oxygen to the cells is essential to increasing ‘prana’ -our life force energy.
Yoga improves our digestive system by stimulating elimination to actually get the toxins out! Aside from skin, our digestive system is our biggest eliminator of waste. When we are eliminating efficiently it can aid in weight loss, increased energy levels, better absorption of nutrients and reduce our ability to get sick.
Finally, our lymphatic system gets a serious boost thanks to all the deep breathing and sweating. Our lymphatic system is essential to keep our other systems healthy, too. A stagnant lymphatic system can lead to a host of conditions ranging from cellulite all the way to cancer.
While breathing seems like nothing more than a simple automatic bodily function, we often take for granted the benefits deep breathing can have on our bodies and minds. In yoga, we practice deep belly breathing, observing each inhale and exhale, helping to encourage relaxation. We put an emphasis on a detoxifying breath called ‘Ujjayi’. This breathing technique produces internal heat, which can boost our immune system, allow for increased energy, and stimulate the metabolism.
Rather than committing to a restrictive three, seven or 30-day detox, try committing to a cleansing lifestyle, where a little bit daily can go a long way — you may even find the benefits satiating!
Rachelle Wintzen- RYT, CNP Rachelle is a featured wellness expert in Chatelaine, Best Health Magazine, The Social (CTV) & more. She can be found getting people addicted to something good at her studio. www.chijunky.com.