What is Detoxification?
Each morning, we are born again. What we do today is what matters most. - Gautam Buddha.
We aren’t all yogis living on a mountain with a perfect diet and lifestyle. We're exposed to a multitude of toxins on a daily basis with increased levels of stress. Every once in a while, it's healthy to check in with yourself and break away from the day-to-day routine for a deeper cleanse.
So what does the word ‘detox’ mean to you? Does it mean Fasting? Going on a crash diet? Refraining from alcohol, cigarettes, or sweet indulgences for a week or two? Is it being ‘good’? Being less indulgent after your holidays? Everyone's idea of detox may be different. In this article, we will try to go into the various ways of detoxing your body and most importantly your mind along with it.
Detoxing with diet practices.
In Ayurveda, one of the principal ways of going through a detox is through the method of Panchakarma which is a process of five cleaning actions all done under the supervision of an Ayurvedic doctor. It is generally recommended to conduct a detox during the spring or autumn season when it is easier for our bodies to expel toxins from the body thus making it an ideal time for a natural cleanse. During this time it is advised to avoid foods that are greasy, oily, fried, old, stale, cheese, meat, refined flours, white sugars, and raw foods which can clog the body channels. Water intake should also be regulated and all meals should be consumed cooked or warm in small portion sizes between 10 am and 6 pm. Toxins are eliminated from the body from the bowels, the urinary tract, and the skin. We can allow the boy to sweat with warm oil massages and drinking herbal and spiced teas.
Fasting has been growing as quite the trend nowadays but the practice has existed since caveman days. Imagine when man used to hunt for food. He did not eat till he found his next meal. This automatically caused the body to eliminate metabolic waste, unwanted body fat and allow some digestive rest. In many cultures, ritualistic and religious fasting is a tradition and definitely adds to the benefit of our health. Long-term fasting is not recommended but regular fasting, once a week or intermittent fasting is way more effective. The purpose of fasting is to give the digestive system time to rest so that your appetite and digestion can recalibrate. A fast should be supported by a restful mind so that your body can focus on eradicating toxins and stimulating the digestive fire. Sipping warm water throughout the day is essential during a fast.
Fasting can also help to highlight our hunger patterns. Having genuine signs of hunger is a great idea that the detox is having a positive effect. One should not fast if they are pregnant, menstruating, underweight, diabetic, have a heart condition or cancer, or above the age of 75. It’s always best to consult a doctor before a fast. If you undergo a fast, break it by introducing light and easy-to-digest foods in a moderate-sized meal, preferably vegetarian. Breaking a fast by enjoying a meal that you have been craving all day would be a complete waste of all your efforts to fast and may reverse the effects. Soups, broths, or kitchari with vegetables and spices are a great way to break the fast.
We are constantly digesting information through the 5 senses. The impressions of our sensory stimuli have the power to influence our minds. In today’s age, we are processing information 24/7, with the explosion of social and mass media. When we aren’t outside, we are on our phones or laptops and our brains are constantly processing what our senses are perceiving. This is very unnatural and what we absorb through these senses can be either healing or disrupting and can be potentially harmful in the long term. We are constantly looking for the next external thing to stimulate us and losing touch with our own reality and lives. A great way to connect with your senses is through the process of meditation and silence. It gives our senses the much-needed conscious rest and rejuvenation that they need. The simplest way to create space is to refrain from using digital and electronic devices for short periods of time daily or create fixed times to access these devices and stay away from them otherwise. This will also reduce exposure to electromagnetic waves. Take some silent time for yourself daily and start a journal. Find some essential oils whose aromas you connect with, smells can evoke pleasant and healing benefits.
Less is more…. Ever heard that phrase? We really have way more than we need in our lives and we've become experts at hoarding. It’s always good to evaluate the space and declutter regularly. When we get rid of things that no longer serve us, we create more space for newness and change. The environment includes any space that surrounds you, ur car, your house, office, school, gym, places you travel to, and ultimately the entire universe. Our environment influences our health. Being as close to nature as possible, whether in detox or not, will definitely bring profound effects on our well-being and health. Workplaces have become a potential breeding ground for harmful ions generated by industrial lights and electrical equipment. So one can sometimes do simple things to bring nature into your environment, such as pieces of wood, some leaves, flowers, plants, etc. The VastuShastra in Vedic science explores the connection between humans and our environment. It is an architecture based on directional alignment, the five elements, and energy flow. It teaches us how to align to our specs to bring about health, prosperity, and contentment in our lives.
Do you do what you love or do you love what you do? How much satisfaction and happiness do your job bring you? Do you feel stuck, do you work where you do just because it helps you pay the bills, or is it because you're comfortable there? Or do you feel that you don’t have the skills to change jobs? We spend most of our adult lives in the workplace which can be the most influential factor in determining our emotional, physical, and mental well-being. Our lack of satisfaction or passion for our jobs can lead to serious in-balances in the long term.
Not everybody wants to turn their passion into their dreams but nothing impossible. If you believe it, you can create it. People are always ready to judge, criticize or hold you back, but the opinion that only truly matters is your own.
Humans are born as social beings. Our relationships are most instrumental to the quality of our health. We grow and expand in love and contract in loneliness. We require a healthy balance of time spent alone in self-love and reflection as well as time spent with the company good people. It is in the presence of good relationships that we grow. All relationships teach us something and it is our ability to be flexible and patient that will reap the best versions of ourselves to us. Our problems in relationships are reflected in our sleep patterns, weight gain or loss, stress, anxiety, and depression. What is really important is how much you respect, value, and treat yourself and this is what gets reflected in our relationships as well. The healthiest relationships are where we practice self-love and care, for only then are we able to express this same affection towards others as well. Healthy relationships involve a balance of giving and receiving. It is also important to recognize when certain relationships no longer serve you and let them go. This doesn’t just refer to romantic relationships but also with our family, friends, siblings, colleagues, or anyone really.
Somewhere deep down inside your lying a whole bank of accumulated emotions spread throughout your body. Some of these may be very old and negative. Pain, regret, guilt, anger, fear, loneliness, grief, hate, worry, etc. Harboring negative emotions can hold us back from our potential in life and can also cause an impact on our health. We take the time to rest when we are still but how often do we just push thru our negative emotions? Are we open about our feelings or do we find ways to numb the pain? Crying is not a sign of weakness, but it's a physical form of expressing deep-seated emotions and creating the space to let go. It is a form of therapy. Letting go and true forgiveness are life’s hardest challenges but the best way to gain a deeper understating of yourself and grow.
It is important to remember that everything that we do is inter-related; nothing is isolated and so our approach to our health must not be viewed in isolation. Physically manifested diseases can be born out of an emotional or mental seed and physical ailments can also disturb our mind and emotions. Small changes can make profound benefits on our physical, mental, emotional as well as spiritual well-being.