I’m addicted to yoga.  As a naturopathic doctor, business owner, wife, mother, and friend, my life can be very full of both happiness and pain.  When life gets hectic, stress can cause anxiety and weaken the immune system, and if we aren’t careful, toxins from the environment, our food and stress can overwhelm our bodies.  Yoga is a great way for me to reconnect to my body and slow down.  If you are interested in regular detoxing, a consistent yoga practice is a great way to keep up.

What is a toxin and how do they affect you?

A toxin is any substance or thought that has harmful effects on the body.  Toxins can come from the environment, lifestyle choices, or from emotional baggage such as chronic stress and negative thought patterns.  Overtime, build up can result in:

  • Digestive Issues
  • Elevated Cholesterol
  • Weight Gain
  • Allergies
  • Skin Disorders
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle, Joint Pain
  • Anger, Depression
  • Dark Circles
  • Hormonal Imbalances
  • Poor Immune System
  • Insomnia
  • and Chemical Sensitivities

Breathing is an often overlooked detoxification process, When you breath, you bring in fresh oxygen not only to your lungs, but to your heart and your organs. it is an important tool to support your detoxification processes. 

Breathe right; it’s your birthright – Gurmukh

Pranayama (yoga breathing) practices:

  • Three part breathing (also known as abdominal breath or yogic breathing).  Yin Yoga often uses three part breathing and is great for grounding.
  • Kapalabhati “Shining Skull” (sometimes called “Breath of Fire”): Short, forced exhales, done at the bottom of the breath to best release toxins, then a relaxed partial inhale. Breath of Fire is a very powerful breathing practice used mainly in Kundalini yoga that energizes and lifts the spirit.
  • Rotating Kapalabhati:  Arms up, hands on shoulders fingers forward, thumbs back, elbows in a line with the shoulders. Rotate to each side, back and forth, exhale to the side, inhale to the center.  Kapalabhati is a common practice in Hatha and Kundalini yoga.

Meditation is also a powerful tool to support detoxification.  Your body stores memories and emotions that the mind isn’t able to handle.  This is a very effective protective mechanism, but overtime it can result in chronic health issues if the body takes on more toxins than it releases.  The liver is especially vulnerable to work overload since it is the main detoxification organ.  

Meditation to cleanse liver:

  • Sit in Easy Pose with back straight. Make wide circles with your torso while twisting at the waist rotating in one direction and then the other.
  • Eyes are closed and focused at the third-eye point (between eyebrows). Visualize sending healing energy to the liver. Inhale during the backward semi-circle, exhale as you circle forward. 
  • After 5-6 each side, inhale at the center, hold breath for 10-30 seconds. Exhale and relax. (Adapted from Meditation as Medicine by Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD and Cameron Stauth)

You can try these yogic practices by yourself or by joining a class.  Full class schedule here.

Dr. Melanie MacLaren is a naturopathic doctor and registered yoga teacher who is not only passionate about natural health but also the individualized needs of each of her clients.  
Contact Dr. Melanie at (317) 344-9840 to learn more or to schedule an appointment.