Step Into Spring
Imagine you’re a flower that’s been quietly hibernating all winter long, waiting for the sun to come out and the temperature to rise so you can blossom again. But when the sunshine and spring conditions finally arrive, you’re not growing—not an inch. In fact, you’re drooping a bit and your head is low. It turns out that the groundwater you’ve been taking in through your roots is loaded with toxins, and now there’s a buildup of some bad stuff in your stems. Though your body has a self-cleaning process, it’s overloaded right now. What you need is a detox.
The result is a buildup of toxins that can leave you fatigued and suffering from poor digestion, and that may even lead to disease. But you can help boost your innate detox functions by practicing cleansing yoga sequences and following a simple plant-based diet during a multiday detox plan.
“Detoxification” means the removal of toxins from the body. Just like flowers, humans absorb toxins—preservatives, pesticides, stimulants, and heavy metals—through food, water, and air. Also, your own body produces toxins, called metabolic waste products, as a natural result of processes like digestion and respiration. Luckily, your digestive, endocrine, and circulatory systems come equipped with a complex set of mechanisms designed to eliminate these toxins through your mouth, eyes, skin, colon, urinary tract—even your breath. Too much sugar, caffeine, and processed foods, little to no exercise, and stress can slow the body’s natural detox function to a sluggish pace. Your body is always getting rid of toxins, but you can aid that natural process by making detoxing a practice. Then, like a flower, you can blossom again.
The major detox players in the body are the lymph, blood, liver, kidneys, colon, and parasympathetic nervous system. Lymph and blood deliver metabolic waste products to the liver, kidneys, and digestive organs. There, those toxins and any others absorbed from the environment are filtered and packaged so they can be eliminated through urine, sweat, exhalation, and solid waste. An active parasympathetic nervous system supports these functions. If your body is compromised by an overload of toxins or fatigue, a build-up occurs in the organs of the abdominal cavity, the fat, and the blood.
Certain postures will support the natural detoxification process by increasing circulation, compressing and twisting internal organs, encouraging relaxation and create space in your abdominal centre.
Inversions use gravity to stimulate lymph and blood circulation. Inversions help to drain lymphatic and venous fluids from the legs and pelvis, and so enhance detoxification. Inversions also send new blood to the liver and kidneys, giving them a rush of energy that helps get them detoxing.
Twisting poses, also increase blood circulation – blood and impurities are squeezed from the tissues; then, fresh blood and nutrients are delivered to the organs to be soaked up. Twists dislodge particles throughout the colon and enhance organ health and digestion. Twists enhance digestion and boost the flushing ability of the liver and kidneys.
Forward bends- promote good digestion by helping with elimination.
Stimulating the para-sympathetic nervous system – i.e. relaxation! The parasympathetic nervous system provides deep relaxation and counteracts the release of stress hormones like cortisol, which can slow down the detox process, when cortisol is not taxing the body, detoxification happens more effectively and with greater ease. Once there’s a cortisol break, everything, all the toxins, look for a way out. The digestive, lymph, and circulatory systems can work efficiently again.
Avoid stimulants-Another way to reduce cortisol, is to avoid stimulants like caffeine, and also sugar and simple carbohydrates, since the body converts them into glucose, another form of sugar. When you consume a lot of caffeine, your body becomes less sensitive to its own stimulants, like cortisol. When the perk-me-up effects of caffeine end, a sudden “crash” is common, leaving you fatigued. The same thing happens after eating sugar. The subsequent drop in sugar levels is stressful on the body, causing it to release extra cortisol to help you bounce back. Consuming sugar and caffeine throughout the day, then, can lead to more cortisol circulating, slowing the natural detox process. Instead stick to a seasonal plant-based diet and replace caffeine and sugar with more-nutritious whole foods. To avoid withdrawal headaches, begin eliminating stimulants gradually. Taking your time to transition into the cleansing routine is important, ease your body and mind into your detox program—and out of it. If you don’t take time to think about how you’re going to come out of your detox and what you’re going to take back into your life, it’s too easy to jump right back into old habits. It’s really about lightening up and giving yourself a fresh start.
BENEFITS OF DETOXIFYING: mental clarity, skin will become radiant, better sleep, more energy and a feeling of being more alive.
(some material used here is from yoga journal)