Saturday, 23 February 2013

7 Step Guide to a Full Mind/Body Detox in the New Year

Every New Year I like to start off on a detoxifying note. That is, I like to do a beginning year cleanout of the body and mind. You can choose the amount of time that you detox, but I think a week is safe and effective. With any drastic changes in your diet, you should, of course, consult your doctor. And this is not meant to be a doctor's advice.
This is a natural, gentle means of cleaning out your system. A good detox allows your organs to rest for a bit and brings them back to optimal effectiveness as well as stimulating your liver so that it can push out toxins from deep within your system. It improves your skin, aids in weight loss, and accelerates bowel movements to get the gunk out of your pipes. After a good fast I feel light with a renewed sense of clarity and loads of energy. All of the little tweaks in your system seem to just disappear.
This detox is also very natural, and in the end, low impact. The diet is free of processed foods and processed foods come with tons of packaging and take energy to produce. Additionally, the diet is free of meat and dairy which take ahuge toll on the planet. British physicist Alan Calvert calculates that the animals we eat generate 21 percent of all the carbon dioxide that can be attributed to human activity. All the other steps involve very little consumption, but rather, focus on the natural mind/body connection.
Detox in 7 Steps
1. The Diet
I did a yoga workshop with Scott Blossom in Asheville, N.C. back in October. The basis of the retreat was Ayurvedic Cleansing rituals. Ayurveda is a science that focuses on balancing the body's life energies or doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha) rather than focusing on individual symptoms. Each dosha has a slightly different cleansing method but for simplicity's sake your cleanse should exclude caffeine, alcohol, meat, processed foods, and dairy. Keep food as plain as possible and don't over spice or over salt foods. Try your best to keep everything organic or at least free of any pesticides and chemicals so that you don't add toxins when you're trying to remove them. Here's a sample menu:
1/2 cup organic rolled oats with ¼ cup chopped nuts. (Soak the nuts over night for easy digestion.)
1 1/2 cup kitchari (Substitute butter for olive oil in this recipe to eliminate the dairy.) Dinner 1 ½ cup kitchari 1 cup organic caffeine-free green tea before bed Sip on room temperature water throughout the day. Why it Works: This diet has all the nutrients that the body needs including protein, fiber, carbohydrates, as well as other vital nutrients but it's all easily digestible. These foods speed up bowel movements. Mung dal, a key ingredient in the kitchari, is known for its ability to remove pesticides and herbicides from the system. None of the foods that you're eating are processed. It takes digestive energy to break down processed foods and processed foods can be laden with pesticides and chemicals. It also takes energy to break down meats and dairy. The diet basically eases digestion so that your internal organs can rest for a week or so. Room temperature water is easier to digest and from an Ayurvedic standpoint, it keeps your digestive fire burning, while cold water can put it out. And unless you've been hibernating for 20 years, you know that water detoxifies your body. Green tea serves to feed your body with fabulous antioxidants to fight the free radicals that cause aging and disease. 2. Yoga Poses for Detox Yoga is a great way to detox the body. Yoga helps you to unblock your body. It's known for its ability to detox the body because it puts pressure on body parts like the liver, kidneys, and stomach. It allows energy to flow through your body freely and many yogis believe that blocked energy is what later leads to disease. Try these poses every morning:Marichiyasana 3--Seated Twist (With Extended Leg) Why it Works: This pose squeezes the abdominal organs and stimulates digestion and elimination. Adho Mukha Svanasana--Downward-Facing Dog Why it Works: The heart is above the head which circulates the lymph and the blood. The core is also toned which aids in digestion.Viparita Karani--Legs Up the Wall Why it Works: As with down dog pose, having the feet overhead allows for fresh, oxygenated blood to bathe the internal organs, cleansing the entire system. It also slows the nervous system which allows for the entire body to relax and the mind to detox. 3. Meditation Meditation is a great way to do a spring cleaning of the mind. Start by sitting for at least 15 minutes every morning, without moving in a silent place. It's usually best to meditate in the early morning. Close your eyes and begin to follow the breath. Try and watch thoughts float by almost like leaves floating on a river, without judging them. But if a thought begins to take over, bring your full attention to it. Label the thought. For example, if you're thinking about the future label it "planning" or if you're dwelling on the past label it "thinking." Once you bring your full attention to thoughts, they often drift away. The same goes with sensations. Choose labels like "pain," "itch," or "tightness." Why it works:Meditation serves to clean out your mind. It allows you to watch thoughts come up and deal with what emerges. Sometimes it can be scary to be honest about what's there but it's the best way to bring clarity and inner ease to your life. Stress contributes to disrupted digestion, and meditation can help reduce stress levels. If you bring attention to thoughts and sensations they tend to lift while trying to ignore them tends to feed the fire. 4. Tongue Scraping One way that you can see if you need a good cleanse is by looking at your tongue. If there's a thick coat of build up on the surface, it's time for a good cleanse. Tongue scraping is a great way to remove toxic build up from the body. You can buy tongue scrapers but I find them to be unnecessary. I prefer to just wipe off the tongue with a wash cloth. Why it Works Scraping the tongue removes bacteria and toxic metabolic substances of the gut. The build up on the tongue is produced after the process of digestion and needs to be properly removed from the body. You can see it during scraping. If it's not cleaned away it will be reingested while eating breakfast. This is actually great to do even when you're not detoxing. 5. Colon hydrotherapy Let's all be adults here. It's quite ok to talk about poop. In fact, bowel movements are an accurate sign of your body's overall health. And colonics are an excellent way to clean out your entire system so that your body is in tip top shape. Colon hydrotherapy works by, to put it bluntly, inserting a hose into the rectum and using blasts of water to clean out your digestive system. Make sure that you use a properly certified practitioner for the procedure and consult a doctor as well. Why it Works:Foods get stuck in your internal organs for longer than you would care to imagine. If you eat meat, it cleans out the undigested remnants from ages ago. Gross, but true. Colon hydrotherapy works to cleanout the entire system in short order. 6. Detox Massage--Abhyanga The Ayurvedic word for it is Abhyanga but it's really just a detoxifying massage. In this therapy, medicated (herbal) oils are vigorously massaged into the body by two therapists working with specific strokes. This type of massage is great for cleansing, healing, and rejuvenation. This needs to be done by a certified Ayurvedic practitioner. Why it Works: Abhyanga is another helpful means of loosening the toxins in the body so that they can be pushed out of the system through the digestive tract. The oils in the treatment work on the deeper layers of the body. 7. Get some sleep Sleep is imperative to a good detox. As you plan for your detox, do the best that you can to clear your calendar for the week so that you don't have any plans. Try and go to bed before 9 or 10 and awaken before 6 in the morning. Why it Works: The liver digests substances in the middle of the night from around 10 pm to 2 am, so it's best to try and eat your last meal pretty early so that your body can fully digest food and liquid matter during the night. But most importantly, get as much rest as you can so that your body can fully repair during your detox period.


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