More than just a fitness regimen, yoga is practiced as a system of purification. It gets rid of negative, stressful thoughts. It can speed the ejection of toxins and wastes from the body. Some theorize that certain yoga poses can even help heal disease. Plus, it cleanses the spirit of immoral principles, substituting nobler principles through devotional meditation.
Here’s a closer look at how yoga can holistically cleanse the body, mind and soul.
Flush Out the Circulatory System
The design of yoga is a perfect cleansing model. The body is stretched, twisted and held in place, building up pressure inside the body, blood vessels and heart for just a few seconds — just long enough so that when the pose is stopped and the pressure released, the blood rushes through the vessels and heart chambers vigorously before slowing to a languid, calm pace. It works like steam escaping a pressure cooker. The pressure-release-relax circulation of the blood through yoga reportedly forces obstructions out of the body and vessels, restoring vitality. Many believe this naturally detoxifies the blood.
Sweat Out the Toxins
Normal yoga, which uses the body’s weight against gravity, can produce a small sweat. However, to really enjoy the effects of sweating out toxins, try Bikram yoga, or yoga practiced in a heated studio. At 105 degrees, Bikram yogamakes you sweat, using the skin to pull wastes out of the body. That’s not all, though; the yoga poses put pressure on and increase circulation to key organs responsible for waste elimination, like the intestines, stomach, kidneys and liver. This means these organs can work faster and more efficiently. Often people using naturopathic medicine to treat liver or kidney disease try yoga poses in hopes of healing their organs. Regular practice of yoga can produce a flatter tummy, regular bowel movements, clearer skin and fewer under eye circles as the body settles into a high-level of waste removal. Be forewarned: yoga newbies might experience disorientation and nausea as the body begins to cleanse itself from years of abuse and poor circulation.
Eliminate Debilitating Thoughts
Yoga meditation cleanses the mind and spirit by ridding these two realms of polluting energies, such as worry, anxiety, depression and chaos. Yogis believe in mind control and the principle of mind over matter. This means yoga practitioners are taught to take charge of what’s allowed into their mental space. Only beneficial, elevating and focused thought is allowed.
Expel Debris from Lungs
Yogis believe deep breathing during asanas can open up the bronchi and lungs, purifying them. The pose known as Gorilla is one of the most popular asanas to cleanse the lungs and entire chest cavity. To perform this pose, stand straight up with your arms at your side, breathing deeply. Then use both hands to strike your chest cavity repeatedly with gentle, force for five-second intervals. Make sure to move up and down the chest while making the beating gestures.
Since yoga requires focus, it’s not proper to do it while engaged in other life activity. However, if you don’t have time to rise in the morning and start your day with yoga, here are a couple of practical ways to take advantage of yoga’s cleansing benefits:
1. Take a five-minute break from work or chores to do a few yoga poses right where you are — in the cubicle, in the kitchen or even in the park. Make sure you breathe deeply and in rhythm while visualizing positive images. Do three to five easy cleansing poses, such as the tree pose, mountain pose, triangle pose, downward dog and the warrior pose.
2. If you can’t afford to stop doing your mundane tasks. Try simply doing your yogic meditations while engaged in autopilot activity — you know, rote activity that doesn’t demand your mental attention. This works well with cleaning or organizing. Strive to chant optimistic quotes, reflect on higher ethics and merger your energy with a divine power in your meditation time.