I’m addicted to yoga and it helps me stay centered when life gets hectic. As a naturopathic doctor, business owner, wife, mother, and friend, my life is full of both happiness and pain. I’m mindful that stress can cause anxiety that weakens the immune system and if we aren’t careful, toxins from the environment, our food, and stress can overwhelm our bodies. Yoga and meditation are a great way for me to reconnect to my body and slow down. If you are interested in a detox with yoga and meditation, it’s important to be knowledgeable about toxins so you can effectively use these methods to get rid of them.

What are toxins 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 emotional baggage such as chronic stress and negative thought patterns. Over time, the build-up of toxins 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
  • Chemical Sensitivities

Now that you’re aware of how toxins can impact the body, consider a detox with yoga and meditation in mind.

Yoga breathing for detox

Breathe right; it’s your birthright – Gurmukh

Breathing is an often overlooked part of the detoxification process but such an important tool. When you breathe, you bring in fresh oxygen not only to your lungs but to your heart and your organs. Consider using one of these pranayama breathing methods to aid in your practice and begin your detox, then add additional detox methods as you go!

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” and sometimes called “Breath of Fire”: Take 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 and is used mainly in Kundalini yoga that energizes and lifts the spirit. 
  • Rotating Kapalabhati: Place your arms up, hands on shoulders, fingers forward, thumbs back, elbows in a line with the shoulders then rotate to each side, back and forth, exhale to the side, inhale to the center.

Check out this Pranayama Breathing For Beginners video for more information.

Meditation to cleanse the liver

Meditation is also a powerful tool to support detoxification. As a protective measure, your body stores memories and emotions that the mind isn’t able to handle. When the body works overtime storing these things, the result can be chronic health issues if more toxins are taken on than released. The liver is especially vulnerable to work overload since it is the main detoxification organ. This quick meditation can help you cleanse the liver!

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

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Would you like to detox with yoga and meditation? If you’re interested in learning more through our classes, you can find our 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.