Ask the Yoga Instructor: Is Yoga “Detoxifying”?

*This article was published in April 2017 in the Corcoran Newspaper / Corcoran Neighborhood Association.  

Happy spring from all of us at Imbue Yoga!  I’m here to answer any yoga related questions you might have to my best ability.  If you have a question about yoga or meditation,  shoot me an email at imbueyoga@gmail.com and maybe you’ll be in next month’s addition!

Q: I keep hearing about cleanses and spring detoxes. Is yoga “detoxifying?”

A:  Short answer, yes.  Long, convoluted answer, I’m not a fan of the word “detox” because it implies that we are toxic.  Yes,  we are exposed to toxins in food,  water & air all the time but our liver works really hard to purge these toxins from our bodies.  Certain yoga practices,  namely asana (postures & stretching – which is what most of us know of as yoga) can help circulate & change blood flow which DOES have an impact on our organs. These postures when practiced while flowing together (vinyasa) can build heat and get us to sweat which “feels” cleansing — which is why some folks get hooked on hot yoga … however – and I may make some enemies here – scientifically, twists & power yoga flow don’t exactly MAKE our liver “detox” our cells more than it normally would.

To take on some spring cleaning of your lifestyle,  I recommend yoga classes (of course!) to get those touted benefits of stress reduction,  improved sleep,  increased circulation, burning a few calories,  toning muscles & making new friends.  Adding mindfulness to your eating habits:  more fresh, local produce (Midtown Farmer’s Market is almost here!),  chewing slowly,  paying attention to alcohol intake. Make sleep a sacred time.  Try simple meditations like noticing your breath for 2-5 minutes.  Walk through the neighborhood, slow down, and stop to smell the flowers. 

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