Yoga: One-Stop Detox

PUBLISHED: 09:44 09 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:41 20 February 2013

Yoga is a great way to start getting into shape

Yoga is a great way to start getting into shape

Start 2009 as you mean to go on with the cleansing practice of yoga, says Marina Sossi.

At this time of year many people feel at their worst following the excesses of the festive season. As usual routines have been disrupted it becomes increasingly difficult to break the patten of feasting, partying and late nights, and although the body is designed to eliminate toxins, it can become overburdened. The resulting ill health, with symptoms ranging from general fatigue, sinus problems, weight gain, digestion issues and bad skin, can eventually weaken the body's immunity and lead to more serious diseases.

January is a good time to press the reset button and take that first step to wellness through detox. Questioning our lifestyle choices, removing the 'toxic' aspects and breaking old routines will allow the cleansing process to begin. It really isn't necessary to spend money on special foods and pills, as detox doesn't have to be faddy, expensive or complicated. In fact, it should be just the opposite. Just by taking that first step in the right direction you start to feel better and become more motivated.

The good news is that everything you need to detox, cleanse and renew yourself can be accessed through yoga. Originating in India, the practices and philosophy of yoga have been studied and applied for thousands of years, providing guidance and a holistic framework for personal growth and good health. The physical practices (Hatha yoga) including posture work, breathing techniques and relaxation help to create balance and well-being regardless of your physical ability, flexibility or level of fitness. The meaning of Hatha yoga is the bringing together of our sun (masculine, active) energy with our moon (feminine, receptive) energy to create balance and greater power in an individual. The motivating feel-good factor of yoga will also support changes made to diet - a fundamental component of detox and continued good health.

When making changes to eating habits it is best to keep things simple. Start by removing the obvious 'toxic' elements: alcohol, caffeine, sugar, salt, processed and packaged foods, and radically reduce your intake of foods that overwork the body, including animal fats, dairy products and meat. Yoga suggests a simplified, uncomplicated diet of basic whole foods (fresh fruit and vegetables, beans, pulses, seeds and nuts) simply prepared and eaten at regular intervals.

A fundamental philosophy of yoga teaches that once we remove the obstacles of our negative habits, actions and attitudes, only then are we able to grow: a farmer in his field cannot force the nutrients of water or earth into the roots of his grain. He removes the obstructing weeds. With these gone, the nutrients enter the roots of the grain.

A healthy, active body has a positive impact on every aspect of our lives. Cleansing the body through the practices of yoga clears the way for optimum health and a positive mental attitude. Once these new habits start to be embraced as an integral part of life, there is a whole world of benefits to be enjoyed. Experiencing this new-found mental clarity, emotional well-being, and contentment and brightness, should be more than enough motivation to keep you on the path to maintaining health and personal growth through yoga.

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