As we store the sweaters and take out the shorts, it’s also a time for switching up what we consume, sometimes called detoxing. We may have indulged over the winter holidays in food and drink we normally wouldn’t. This isn’t about whether or not we have a beach body, but about how we feel physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Saucha, one of Patanjali’s Eight Limbs, means “purity”, and can be practiced here. Our consumption, and detox, doesn’t need to center on what goes in our mouths. What we listen to, what we watch, and the people we’re around also affects how we feel. Maybe we need to detox our news and social media time. Maybe we’ve been hanging out with people who aren’t the best for us. Maybe we decide to lay off the sugar and caffeine, the carbs and dairy, and try a vegan diet for thirty days.
Remember that a change in habit can cause withdrawal symptoms. We’ll reach for our phones, the remote, the refrigerator door in an effort to keep things status quo. Going cold turkey may not be the best for you. Perhaps setting limits and gradually increasing our time away from behaviors that we’re interested in changing will make the absence of the habit not as painful.
To assist in this transition, use the following yoga poses: twists (standing, seated, or supine—know that this will “wring out” the organs, so be sure to drink plenty of water to help flush toxins from the body), gentle inversions (supported shoulder stand, legs up the wall, down dog, rabbit—reversing the energy in the body “shakes out” stuck toxins on all levels), and corpse pose (always the final posture in an asana practice that gives the body/mind the opportunity to integrate what we did on the mat).
If you haven’t tried Yoga Nidra, you may want to. This form of guided meditation can assist in releasing what no longer serves you, and the practice resets the parasympathetic nervous system. Regardless of how or what you detox, be patient and kind with yourself.