Do you hear the word “detox” and imagine yourself starving for a day while you dream about chocolate cake? Or do you picture yourself quickly dropping annoying pounds that your body has been holding onto for years? The concept of detoxification, which used to be reserved for overcoming drug and alcohol addiction, has been hijacked by the diet industry. It’s time to reclaim this incredible practice and invite some wellness back into our lives. In today’s world, the idea of “detoxing” can quickly be misconstrued as another extreme fad diet. However, the practice of inviting in more plant-based foods, drinking plenty of water, getting adequate rest, removing stimulants, breathing deeply (practicing pranayama), and setting aside time for adequate relaxation supports the body in doing its incredibly intricate job of maintaining balance.
Our bodies have incredibly sophisticated, built-in detoxification systems (liver, kidneys, colon, lungs, lymph and skin) that provide the ongoing daily cleansing that keeps us healthy and energized. And yet, we live in a world where we eat food that looks nothing like the plant from which it originated. We drink sugar, caffeine and alcohol to boost our energy or alter our state of mind. We breathe smoggy air and the skin (the largest organ of our body) is exposed to many different chemicals and hormones on a daily basis (some even found in our water supply). Not to mention our workday has become longer and longer, often requiring us to sit in front of a computer for long hours.
Planning a detox can be an act of self-love, particularly if you reclaim the practice and take a multidimensional approach.
Nutrition matters. Choosing plant-based foods and finding inspiring recipes that nourish your body with an abundance of macronutrients (vitamins, minerals, water, protein, carbs, fat) will energize you from the inside-out. Lemon juice with water and apple cider vinegar drinks have an alkalizing effect on the body, helping to reduce inflammation and restore natural balance. Create a sense of abundance around food by preparing plenty of fresh options and eating when you are hungry… and stopping when you are sated.
Body matters. Move the body joyfully and plan for plenty of rejuvenating and relaxing activities: walking in nature, bathing with epsom salts and essential oils, dry brushing, and getting to bed early will all support the detox process. A long exhale is perhaps the most effective detox there is. Add some pranayama into your yoga routine; experience spinal twists to wring out the organs and try some restorative postures to let go on the cellular, muscular and fascial levels.
Mind matters. Fasting from technology may be almost unimaginable in this day and age, but it is well worth the experiment. Many of us are so hooked on our devices, we have no idea what to do with the time and space between conversation and activities. It is vital to mental health to take breaks from technology, detoxing from digital stimulation. Furthermore, meditation or simple mindfulness practices also help to create a sense of inner calm, awareness, and non-judgment. Awareness gives us a choice about our actions and reactions. Pay attention to outdated habits, so you can choose new, healthier or more balanced actions, cleansing the mind of conditioning and patterning.
Heart matters. Treating yourself with loving kindness and allowing for healthy connections with people in your life will rejuvenate and restore your entire being, encouraging a sense of abundance and peace in your detox process. The mantra for the heart chakra is “love and be loved.” Timing for this particular type of cleansing is quite synchronistic: It just so happens Venus is currently in retrograde which also invites us to reflect on matters of love and the heart, what works and what doesn’t work for us, and let go of what no longer serves us.
Spirit matters. The spirit doesn’t need to “detox,” but we do need time and space to remove the layers of clutter that dim our inner light or bury our true selves. Communing with nature, experiencing sacred spaces, listening to beautiful music, letting go of effort and hard work, entering flow, and taking time to become interested in your inner world will support the process of aligning all parts of you with the calling of your soul.
Any or all of these practices will support a renewal in all parts of your life… so this weekend take some time to truly detoxify in the way that is right for you.