Yogic Concepts of Detoxification

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There is a Sanskrit verse in ancient Ayurvedic text that defines health as:

Sama dosha, sama agni cha, sama dhatu, mala kriyah | 
Prasanna atma indriya manah swastha iti abhidhiyate ||

Health is defined as balanced state of doshas - Vata, Pitta and Kapha, balanced digestive or metabolic fire, balanced nourishment of all tissues, balance in the excretion or waste disposal through urine, stool and sweat. Having pleasant soul, balanced senses (all five of them) and a balanced state of mind.

If all these are true for an individual, then he/she is called a healthy person. Any disruption or any 'Imbalance' from this balanced state is called disease. Most of the imbalances happen because of accumulation of toxins and most of the toxins enter in through food we eat, drinks we drink, the air we breathe and emotions or thoughts we feed to our mind.

Modern science now believes that the cause of degeneration, decay and premature ageing lies in free radicals in the body, which are created as a result of accumulation of toxins in the body. This overrules the earlier concept of germ theory. According to this theory, accumulation of toxins in our bodies creates free radicals. Free radicals are created by the kind of food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink and our emotional pulls and pressures, certain hormones are secreted that have a tendency to leave behind toxins.

Free radicals are dysfunctional molecules (they have a missing electron). These are highly unstable molecules and in an attempt to regain stability they devour electrons from surrounding molecules. This creates more damaged molecules and in a cascading effect, this leads to damaged cells and this causes degeneration and speeds up aging process.

With the accumulation of toxins taking place all the time, it is necessary to find a way to get rid the toxins from the body to restore the normal functioning of body. Otherwise, this can result in various health disorders and life threatening diseases. In fact, most of the degenerative diseases such as hypertension, arthritis, diabetes, immunity disorders, strokes, arteriosclerosis, and heart ailments can happen to this one reason.

Our bodies carry out this detoxification naturally. Tears, sneezing, mucus, sweat, menstrual blood, urine and faeces are all nature's way of detoxification. If we can find a way to have these working in an optimum manner, we should be able to free our body of the accumulation of toxins and thereby disease.

Yoga methods and techniques offer precisely these effects and restore body’s natural detoxification process. It is surprising that ancient yogis knew of these effects thousands of years ago and have practiced methods that help to keep optimum health.

Yoga and Detoxification:

Patanjali in Yoga Sutra describes the purpose of Yoga practices as eliminating physical and mental impurities (Toxins) to achieve true sense of wisdom. In Yoga Sutra of Patanjali there is more focus on mental and psychological impurities hence he describes five fluctuations of mind and five affliction as root cause of all impurities. Before one attains control over modification of Chitta or mind, one needs to purify Chitta first by Chittaprasadana and method of Samyama or self-control. Shauch in Yoga Sutra is nothing but purification, which indicates mental and physical purification both.

In Hatha Yogic concepts detoxification process is more systematic and it is must to perform to achieve certain level of purification. If we look from analytical way – all the Hatha yoga practices are in some way a cleansing process, but Shatkarmas have got special place in Hatha Yoga curriculum. Body is first to be purified and made free from all diseases by performing Shatkarmas (six cleansing techniques) in the journey to attain supreme state of yoga. Yogis knew that because of life style man disturb equilibrium of Doshas and suffer from diseases. Hatha Pradipika says excess fat and phlegm must be removed to get progress in Yoga. Gheranda Samhita goes much further and places all cleansing processes in its first chapter which defines how important it is to get rid toxins from the body and states that by performing them purification is achieved.

There are 6 different and important areas of body, which get affected by toxins easily and six cleansing practices are designed to cleanse them. Shatkrarmas free up blocks and obstacles in the flow of this energy and effectively prevent diseases and ageing. Shatkarmas help to balance Vata, Pitta, Kapha and they are also utilized before pranayama and other higher practices so that body become free of diseases and does not create any obstacles in spiritual path.

Intestinal Cleansing (Shankhprakshalana):

This is the most important cleansing practice, which cleans whole digestive track from mouth to anus. It is very effective for the people suffering from constipation or bloated abdomen or indigestion or Heaviness of stomach. Even diseases like diabetes, IBS, Colon related problems could be effectively treated with this.

It is most ancient and natural process of cleansing whole system without using any chemicals and mechanical forces. The cleansing is done in guidance of in-house Wellness Expert. The whole process is combination of drinking warm saline water with some lime juice. Drinking prepared water and performing certain yoga postures help to move the water down trough intestines. Process is repetitive (drinking water and keep doing postures) and process lasts around 90 minutes with several times toilet visit with result of total clean-up of digestive track.

Process:

The water one drink is not completely absorbed in the stomach and intestines due to increased osmotic pressure of the salty and lemony water. Osmotic pressure in intestine causes cellular water to flow from intestinal cells into the lumen of the intestine. This cellular water carries along with it, toxins and other harmful substances accumulated over years in the intestinal cells. This is called Reverse Osmosis, which helps removing toxins from the blood. It normalizes the blood sugar level and blood pressure.

The additives, preservatives and chemicals in the food remains stuck up in the mucus of the intestinal cells. It goes on for years together and interferes in the process of enzyme secretion and absorption of food. Cleansing helps in removal of this contaminated sticky mucus.

It helps in normalizing the peristaltic movement by stimulating the intrinsic nerve plexus of the intestine and the intestinal muscles.

Special and light meal with some natural probiotics will be provided after cleansing.

Benefits:

Yogic Detox alleviates digestive problems and tones the liver and other digestive organs and glands. It strengthens the immune system, reduces excessive mucus and purifies the blood, improved circulation of the blood and lymphatic systems. Additional benefits include, increased levels of energy, more clarity and quieter mind. Removes blockages from the Nadis (Energy channels) and purifies all the chakras.

The ultimate goal is to detoxify the body and mind in a controlled and safe manner. And resting of the digestive system through sensible eating of whole foods.