A Deeper Detox Experience

What are you ready to let go of?

Our busy modern lives sometimes seem designed to overburden the body’s natural ability to detoxify. When we burn the candle at both ends for extended periods of time, fueled by coffee (with sugar, of course) and fast food, and without enough exercise or sleep, we feel groggy, foggy, and not our best selves.

According to the science of detoxification—the biotransformation that happens in your liver and other organs, every moment of every day—the liver is key in the process of changing fat-soluble toxins into water-soluble compounds, which are easily flushed out of the body. To run smoothly, the process relies on specific nutrients—certain proteins, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

You can support your body’s ability to transform the natural byproducts of your metabolism (which can become toxic with accumulation, often leaving you feeling crummy) with a nutrient-dense diet, joyous movement, and a free and well-nourished spirit. Other beneficial elements include a skillful balance of movement and rest, sweating, and even botanical laxatives if needed.

The Kripalu approach to detox involves self-inquiry and a flexible framework to create the process that works best for you. An executive accustomed to two-martini power lunches will likely have a fairly major detox experience just by being at Kripalu—going off coffee and sugar, unplugging from Internet and phone, and cultivating a meditative mindset. A clean-living type who eats a near-vegan diet and avoids synthetic chemicals will likely have the capacity for a detoxification experience that involves a much simpler diet (vegetables, beans, and seeds) and deeper yoga and meditation practices.

One of our recent guests—let’s call her Lisa—was used to a detox regimen that included lots of supplements, a non-individualized diet, and a highly directed physical activity program. While a very specific detoxification experience can be beneficial, for Lisa it might have contributed to her lack of confidence in how to care for herself. She had struggled with an eating disorder, and tended to over-detox. Through the self-inquiry process, she discovered that she knew best what was healthy for her in any given moment. She found that she needed less detoxing and more real nourishment than she had allowed herself previously. With tears in her eyes, she expressed how she had never really listened to her body before.

While physical detoxification—eating foods that support the liver’s ability to clear toxins—is the nuts and bolts of detox, the exploration can be much broader and deeper. What are you ready to let go of—physically, emotionally, psychically, energetically—that no longer serves who you are now?

© Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. All rights reserved. To request permission to reprint, please e-mail editor@kripalu.org.

Annie B. Kay, MS, RDN, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT, is an author, nutritionist, Kripalu faculty member, and important voice in whole-foods nutrition and yoga.

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