Over a period of time, ama or toxins get accumulated in the body, resulting in diseases. It is important to flush toxins out from the body every now and then. One way of doing it is by following a detox diet. However, the process of detoxification becomes more effective if you plan it according to your prakriti, the delicate balance of your doshas.
Why do you think detoxing your body is important? For many reasons, actually. The air quality in cities has been of a huge concern for several years now. If your check the weather app on your phone now (especially if you are in Delhi), you would notice that the air is marked ‘unhealthy’. For the last few months, the air quality has remained ‘very poor’ or ‘hazardous’. Your mind and body is constantly exposed to pollutants in the air, in the form of harmful food, chemicals, radiation, atmospheric changes and more. The human body can metabolise and eliminate some of these pollutants, but the majority of it remains in the body and form toxins. The toxic material circulates throughout the body, eventually getting stored in the weaker spots, leading to a host of disorders. Therefore, to enjoy good health, it is important to go for detoxification periodically. Ayurveda has many ways of detoxifying the body and so is various yoga asanas.
Panchakarma is the ultimate mind-body healing experience for detoxifying the body, strengthening the immune system and restoring overall balance and wellbeing. Literally translating to ‘five actions’ or ‘five treatments’ in Sanskrit, this process is highly effective in cleansing the body off toxins produced due to faulty diet, bad lifestyle choices and poor nutrition. When ama accumulates in the body, it blocks the flow of energy and nourishment throughout the system. Ayurveda considers this build-up of toxins to be the underlying cause of all diseases.
Panchakarma is a unique treatment procedure as it can be easily tailored to meet each individual’s needs according to their body constitution and dosha imbalances. The therapies involved in this process work to loosen toxins from deep tissues in order to be removed through the body’s natural channels of elimination. An ideal Panchakarma detox programme consists three phases: Purvakarma, Pradhankarma and Paschatkarma.
The following yoga poses are explicitly known for cleansing and recharging effect.
This asana helps to build physical and mental stamina. It also tones legs, strengthens the arms and opens up your hips. Start by standing straight, arms by your side. Exhale and bring the right foot in front of the left. Extend your arms out and bring them parallel to the floor, with the palms facing down. Bend your right knee and stack it over the right ankle. Hold this pose for 10-20 seconds and release. Repeat on the other side.
This asana is a deep side lunge. Keep your right leg strong and straight with toes pointing upwards. Place your hand on the mat for support if needed. Stay for 10- 20 seconds and release. Repeat on the other side. This pose helps to strengthen the core and lengthen the hamstrings. It also promotes flexibility.
The half-moon yoga asana is a standing, balancing pose that is particularly challenging. With your right foot forward, place your right hand on the hip. Bend your right knee and lift the left leg in the air. Raise the left hand towards the sky. Inhale and bend your back upwards to form a half moon. Hold for 5-10 seconds and slowly release. Repeat on the other side. This pose strengthens the ankles and thighs, stretches the hamstrings. It improves your balance and core strength.
This asana helps in building arm strength. Start by getting into Malasana, which is a deep squat. Now with your knees bent, place your hands under your shoulders and lift your buttocks in the air. Place your knee near the triceps and lean forward and balance your weight onto your hands. Hold for a few seconds and slowly release. This pose strengthens the wrist, forearms, and abdomen while stretching your upper back. It improves balance and core strength.
Our life these days is no way as healthy as the one our ancestors enjoyed. The air is polluted, the food is riddled with chemicals, and the water is far from clean. These toxins can accumulate in our body, causing hormonal imbalance, affecting immune function, and leading to nutrient deficiencies. Pranayama is a sure shot solution. Made of two words, prana (meaning energy) and yama (meaning control), pranayama is a process that focuses on the flow of life force throughout the body. Pranayama is a natural detox process that eliminates toxins from the body and keeps the entire system working optimally. Practicing pranayama every day without fail can energise the body, mind and soul and help restore balance.
*This article has been contributed by Dr. Partap Chauhan. He is the Director of Jiva Ayurveda. He is an author and Ayurvedacharya dedicated to popularising Ayurveda across the world.