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Detox Yoga: Cleanse and Renew

Posted Dec 18 2012 7:10pm


“Don’t curse the darkness. Light a candle”

                              ~Ancient Chinese Proverb

Though I try to remain positive on the blog, there are times when, honestly, I just feel out of whack and a bit grumpy or down in the dumps. Sometimes its stress, sometimes its current events, and sometimes it’s the energy of the people I encounter during the day.  When I get sad, I like to curl up and throw myself a pity party or stew about it for awhile.  But this is not beneficial, not for more than about 2 minutes and then it just becomes a bad habit or a stuck habit. For me, one of the very best things I can do to change my perspective or sort through a difficult situation is come to Yoga with an intention to detox, aka work through the crap, and send it out (figuratively and literally).  At the beginning, I feel like poo and very uninspired. In the middle, I start to feel myself opening up. And by the end, I feel that I have renewed myself, and become a bit more authentic again. As I move through, I ring out my body, my organs, clear out toxins from the body, but I am also doing this same thing to my negative thoughts and feelings. When this happens, we can work through the rough patches instead of stuffing them deep down inside or having a meltdown. When we acknowledge our feelings, both physical and emotional, then we can allow them to release into our system, acknowledge them, and let them go.

When you need a quick boost, here are some awakening and detoxifying poses to bring a little more space and de-clutter some of the heavy feelings.

1) Twists: literally ring out the body and send the message into the mind. Just make sure to keep the hips steady and the spine lengthened.

2) Forward Folds: With a lengthened spine, this can help relieve back pressure by decreasing the amount of OVER stretch done o the lower back (think over stretched rubber band). Folding also compresses the organs and squeezes out the toxins (like a tube of toothpaste).

3) Hip Openers: The hips are the storage bins of our emotions. When we don’t want to deal with them, we stuff them away and come back to them at a later date, if ever. But the bin becomes full, squished, and tense as we crowd it.  A great way to detox is to open the hips, open the bin, and let these emotions out. We also over use the hips in almost every activity we do – from super active to super inactive-so opening them can help release tension not only in the hips themselves, but into the lower back and knees, which connect (through other muscles) to the hips.

4) Inversions: simple, non-taxing inversions, such as legs-up-a-wall or even shoulderstand can bring much need rejuvenation and recirculation into the body. When you take the pressure off of your legs and lower body, it allows the fluids that slowly accumulate in them to flush back through the body, and if needed make their way out.

5)Savasana and seated meditations: By far this is the most important part of the practice, but often the most disregarded. Be still. Lay on the mat, take a comfortable seat. Allow the breath to flow in and out, evenly, with ease. Let your thoughts come and go and then watch as they slowly fade.  Do not judge, just simply allow the body to rest and release, and then let the mind do the same.

If you are feeling blah, need a boost, or are just plain sad – try some of these to help you work through whatever it is that is cluttering your mind. As we work through, we will find more ease and more space to let the lightness and love in.

There is never a time that I come to this practice and feel worse afterwards. I always feel better. My heart and mind (and body if the feelings are purely physical) feels a bit lighter and clearer. The darkness is not completely gone, but it is better able to reflect the light.

Peace and much love to you,



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