Hot yoga is fantastic for cleansing! Whilst you sweat in your class, your body pushes out toxins through your sweat, leaving you healthier and fitter. (See our Hot Yoga guide for more information).
But hot yoga alone may not be enough to keep your body cleansed and healthy. Toxins are everywhere in modern-day life – we eat them in our food, breathe them in our air, rub them into our skin through beauty and cleaning products, as well as inject them and swallow them through vaccinations, over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Our bodies even produce them, in response to stress as well as everyday bodily functions. It’s no surprise then, that we can become overwhelmed by this toxic load, leading to disease and ill health. But there’s a lot you can do to help your body cleanse and attain a higher level of well-being.
Last Saturday was the Autumn Equinox – considered by naturopaths to be the very best time for cleansing, as it causes a deep shift of energy in the body, helping to move stagnation out. But if your cleansing pathways aren’t operating effectively, the toxicity that is shifted will just get stuck inside your body, leading to less vitality and a lower level of Being.
To understand this, it is important to see how toxins are moved around – and hopefully out – of the body.
Toxins are moved out of the cell into the lymphatic system – a network of vessels moving lymph around the body, similar to blood flowing through the cardiovascular system. The only difference is the lymphatic system has no heart pulse to push the lymph around. Instead it relies upon the movement of our limbs and regularly spaced valves in the vessels to squeeze the lymph around and prevent it flowing back. Lymph deposits toxins into the blood-stream, which carries them either to the skin where they can be excreted via sweat, to the lungs where gaseous toxins such as carbon dioxide can be exhaled, or on to the liver, where the majority of toxins are processed. Those that aren’t neutralised are deposited into the colon and out of the body with our faeces.
For many people these systems don’t work effectively – due simply to the amount of toxins in our lives, worsened through lack of exercise (causing stagnation of the lymph and blood flows) and digestive issues, that result in constipation.
With stagnation, toxicity starts to back up in the liver, the blood and in the lymph – resulting in headaches, ‘fuzzy’ head, and excess mucous production and congestion in the head, sinuses and throat.
But there are things you can do to free up your cleansing pathways and start detoxing naturally:
- Exercise to move your lymph and blood round your body, moving stagnant toxicity out
- Sweat! Hot yoga, hot Pilates and hot Yogalates are ideal to sweat toxins out of the blood stream
- Body brush – buy a natural-bristle body brush and brush your skin each morning (always move towards the heart) to get stagnant lymph moving
- Hot and cold showering also gets the lymph moving. Stand under a hot shower, switch to cold and back to hot – 3 times in your daily shower to feel cleansed and revitalised
- Make changes to your diet and lifestyle to reduce the toxic load in your body (a nutrition or naturopathic therapist can help you with a programme)
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