I’m so excited that spring is finally here! It’s that time of year again when the earth is beginning to wake up after a long winter’s nap…the flowers are starting to bloom and the days are getting longer as the sun comes up earlier to warm us and brighten our spirits. And just as we begin to tidy the house and clean up the yard in our annual spring cleaning rituals, it is also the perfect time to clean up the most important home of all…our bodies!
Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine say that springtime is the optimal time to do a cleanse. This is because our bodies have cycles of energy, and just like the flowers and trees our energies come to the surface in the spring, making it easier to detoxify. But many people are intimidated by the thought of doing a cleanse…it brings up fears of harsh herbal ingredients that can cause discomfort and unwanted negative symptoms such as headache, nausea and cramping as the body releases built up toxins.
But I believe cleansing can be simple and effective without being overly complicated, expensive or a major change in lifestyle. The following three simple steps are gentle techniques to get rid of toxic build up in the liver and recharge the body and mind for radiant health and well-being. Try doing all three together for 2 weeks and feel the difference in your body and mind:
Step 1: Support the liver.
The liver is our primary organ of detoxification and can be supported and rejuvenated with natural whole foods and supplements:
- Start your day with the juice of ½ a lemon in warm water. It is gentle cleanse for the liver that also stimulates digestion.
- Try consuming a 75-90% vegetarian diet. Adding in plenty of colorful veggies to each meal provides fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals will support the liver while giving the digestive system a break from animal protein sources that can be difficult to break down. Try veggie stir-fries, chilis, soups and salads.
- Add more fiber into the diet such as chia. It will help stimulate elimination and keep the colon clear
- Add garlic into your foods or take it in capsules as a supplement. It can help repair liver cells and aids in healing.
- Sip herbal teas that include dandelion, burdock root and red clover. These herbs aid the liver by cleansing the bloodstream
- Supplement with milk thistle extract to repair and rejuvenate the liver
- Drink 1-2 liters of filtered water daily to flush out toxins and rehydrate all your cells
Step 2: Do your yoga practice.
- A vigorous practice stimulates our three main systems of detoxification: circulatory, digestive and lymph. Yoga asanas (postures) create heat in the body and remove waste products from deep tissues such as lactic acid and carbon dioxide.
- Adding gentle twists are beneficial as they help tone the abdominal muscles and stimulate proper digestion and elimination, further supporting the elimination of waste.
- Yogic breathing or pranayama can also help to clear the lung tissues of excess carbon dioxide while allowing the diaphragm to move freely which can further stimulate the abdominal organs and promote proper digestion.
Step 3: Do your meditative practice.
When we hold on to negative patterns of thought, they can be just as toxic as any contaminants in our food or water. Meditation helps to calm the mind and helps to disperse negative or toxic thoughts:
- Find a comfortable seated position where you can remain undisturbed for at least 10-15 minutes. Begin to move in to conscious breathing where you focus only on the breathe moving in and out of the body. Then as you exhale, imagine yourself releasing all disturbing thoughts and distractions. Try exhaling like this for 15-20 rounds or until the mind has become more peaceful.
- You can begin your meditative practice the same way as above, but this time once you have moved into conscious breathing, begin to focus on the inhales. As you breathe in, imagine yourself filling up with whatever you want to cultivate in your life: joy, ease, abundance, calm or happiness. As you fill up with the positive, it pushes all of the negative aside naturally. Try inhaling like this for 15-20 rounds until the mind has become more peaceful or until the corners of the mouth start to curl up towards the eyes in a gentle smile.
Adrienne Kelly-Durys is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, 500Hr RYT and lover of feeling good in mind and body. She teaches Yoga and wellness classes at Balanced Life Yoga and specializes in detoxing and nourishment. Classes include Power Hour Yoga, Power Yoga Vibe, and Hot Power Yoga.