Painless Ways to Detox Your Mind and Body in the New Year
by Nirmala Raniga
The New Year is upon us and, with new beginnings, comes an opportunity for transformation. One way we can enter a new year with feelings of greater clarity, health, and balance is to engage in healthier wellness habits that support the body’s natural detoxification processes.
According to Ayurveda, good digestion is a key to wellbeing. Therefore, we can begin to remove toxins from our bodies and feel lighter by examining and changing what we eat. When our Agni, or digestive fire, is strong, we are using food for its optimal benefits. By simplifying our diets, we can bring ourselves back into balance and restore that strong internal Agni. Fruits and vegetables are phytochemical-rich foods that help counteract toxicity and bring our bodies back into balance. To cleanse our bodies, we can choose plant-based, organic foods, with a wide range of colors, and prepare them in ways that are healthy. Other good options are gentle foods such as vegetable-based soups, dahl, rice, and whole grains.
Fasting can also be beneficial. For instance, a one-day liquid fast, in which we take in everything in liquid form, including plenty of water, can help rid the body of any accumulated toxins. It is particularly important to avoid processed foods, which are full of the many chemicals we’re trying to release from our bodies.
What we drink is so important, particularly when we are trying to cleanse the body of toxins. Drinking plenty of fresh, pure water will keep us hydrated and flush toxins from the body. Ginger tea also promotes detoxification and can be made easily by simmering a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger root in a cup of water. If possible, we should avoid such drinks as coffee, caffeinated teas, and soda.
A regular practice of yoga and meditation is important throughout the year, and it is especially vital when trying to detoxify physically and emotionally. When engaging in this process, we need to stay committed to our daily meditation practice and meditate twice each day, 30 minutes at a time. When practicing yoga, we can spend our time on our mat in poses that will help rid the body of toxins. Twists are particularly beneficial. Flow yoga can help us sweat and release toxins through our skin, the body’s largest organ.
A daily massage is an important part of a healthy Ayurvedic routine, and massage is particularly helpful when trying to remove toxins from the body. We can perform a simple self-massage, known as an Abhyanga, using warm oil. We can begin with the fingers and toes and move our way along the entire body, using long strokes for the long parts of the body, the arms and legs, for example, and circular motions for places like elbows and knees. Whether we perform an Abhyanga or get a massage from a massage therapist, we must drink plenty of water to help eliminate the toxins that the massage helps release.
Our world often feels nonstop and, often, sleep can seem elusive. However, proper rest is crucial if we want to live healthy lives. When we sleep, the body has the opportunity to heal from our everyday stresses and detoxify. Yet, when we don’t get enough sleep, our bodily processes, like digestion and immune function, can become compromised. Ideally, we should plan to get six to eight hours of rest per night and try to be in bed no later than 10:00 p.m., as the hours of sleep before midnight are the most restorative.
In order for us to foster healthy relationships in which we meet others’ needs and our needs are also met, we need to cultivate inner peace and release toxic emotions. Even in a seemingly perfect relationship, we will have times when we feel our needs are not being met.
To help us accept our feelings during those times, we can engage in a simple seven-step process. We begin by taking responsibility for our own feelings. Next, we identify the feelings we are having. Then, we can witness where we are experiencing those feelings in our bodies. The next step is to express whatever emotions have arisen privately to ourselves and then release those emotions through some type of ritual. Following that, we can share our emotions and experiences with a trusted friend or family member. Lastly, we can rejuvenate and reward ourselves by doing something we enjoy.
As we put these detoxification methods into practice, we will begin to feel truly healthy and energetic and perhaps find ways to incorporate many of these new, beneficial habits into our lives all year long.