We all know January is the recognised month for cutting something out, having a clear out, a cleanse or a detox. It can also be the beginning of something new! .... A fresh start, out with the old in with the new, all the cliches are out there! We may have good intention but do we carry it through?
Most of us are willing to have a go but often don't know where to start or perhaps the heart is willing but the willpower is weak! All we need is a little kick start to get going, it may be a very small thing like throwing away a few clothes. But one thing can lead to another... So the detox begins!
There are plenty of ways to get our ourselves together without spending loads on gym membership, detox treatments and expensive products. It just takes a moment to take stock, assess, observe, surrender and go for it. But in order to motivate this process we need to be clear about the outcome we want to achieve.
Do we want to loose weight? Clear out the house or office? Get fit? Be more healthy? Make a noticeable change to our lifestyle? destress? or improve our overall wellbeing?
Whatever you decide it doesn't have to be done in January.
You can do it anytime you want. Once your mind has processed the idea you are ready for action but the hardest bit - is committing. So make sure you are ready to commit, once you put it out there, there's no going back, if you want to see a change!
There are four fundamental ways to start the detox process. You can choose only one and it will still have an impact on how you feel about yourself because its not just about the action but more about the outcome. Achieving what you set out to do, no matter how small this may seem, can have a positive effect on your mind, lifting your spirits and perhaps spur you on to make more changes. So here they are!
The Four Do's
First, we assess our home... our sanctuary. Secondly, we focus on what we put into our body... our temple. Third, we fix our body... our fitness and Fourth, we setttle our mind... our peaceful state.
Assess Your Home.
Look at clearing out aspects of stuff that haven’t been working for you in the past.
Clothes you haven’t worn for over a year. Magazines, books and journals that you haven't looked at in ages, bed linen and towels that are old and worn, makeup, personal care products not used any more, out of date medicines and supplements, tech equipment that isn't working or faulty, anything in the kitchen that is chipped, dented or cracked. You don't need them, get rid, let them go!
Once you’ve gathered all these things together sort out what should go to your local charity shop or freecycle (online) and what should go in the bin. Feeling better already!
Focus Your Diet
Take the opportunity to detoxify your body with a simple cleansing diet. Cutting out all fats, carbohydrates (potatoes, rice, pasta), red meat, alcohol, tea and coffee.
This leaves you with a simple diet of fruits and berries, bright coloured vegetables, pulses, beans, legumes and eggs. Eat these cooked and raw, as much as you like for seven days. Introduce green, vegetable smoothies in to your daily routine, packed with nutrients and peppered with super greeen powders, such as spiralina, wheatgrass, chia seeds and more. Drink cleansing herbal teas like peppermint, fennel, dandelion and plenty of water.
At the end of the seven days weigh yourself to check any change in your weight. Notice any changes in your shape, your energy levels and your mood. Life is looking good!
Settle Your mind
Make some time to sit quietly and meditate every morning for 10 minutes. (set the timer). Choose to either sit crosslegged on a cushion on the floor or on an upright chair with a straight back and place your feet flat on the floor. Concentrate on the breath in and out through through your nose.
Now scan your body from head to toe, to relax each limb. Start with your face and say to yourself (in your mind) "My eyes are relaxed", then repeat the same phrase as you move to the mouth - chin, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, fingers, chest, belly, bottom, legs, feet and toes. Then say to yourself "my whole body is completely relaxed".
Now say to yourself the following mantra - inhale, say ‘Clear’, pause say 'And', exhale say ‘Calm'. Repeat this mantra for six more breaths. Then just keep repeating the mantra to the end of the 10 minute timer.
Bring your attention back into your body, your surroundings and gradually open your eyes. Welcome back! ....Feeling calm?
Fix Your Mind, Body and Soul.
Take ten more minutes to give your physical and mental body the opportunity to cleanse and reconnect through five simple yoga exercises. Use the breath to carry you through each pose and as you lengthen and stretch the muscles, your body will begin to detoxify and cleanse internal organs. Your mind will let go as you release any stresses, tension and worries while you settle and focus on the practice. Accept where you are in the moment and enjoy the journey. Here are five yoga poses to mobilise, strengthen and cleanse you inside and out.
Seated spinal twist - Ardha Matsyendrasana
Begin by sitting with legs outstretched along the mat, facing forwards. Cross one leg over the other with bent knee and foot flat on the floor. Bring the opposite arm round to hug in the knee and take the other arm behind you with palm on the mat.
Make sure your alignment is perfectly straight, sitting tall to elongate the spine, shoulders are down and head is facing forward.
Now inhale and as you exhale suck the belly in turn the upper part of your body from the waist round to look over the shoulder of your back arm behind you. Take three slow breaths hear and rotate a tad further on each exhale. Repeat on the other side.
Removes body wastes and improves digestion
Clean the internal organs.
Releases excess toxins and heat from tissues and organs.
Stimulates heart, kidneys, liver, spleen and lungs
Opens the neck, hips and shoulders
Relieves fatigue, sciatica, backache and menstrual discomfort
Energises and stretches the backbone
Increase hips and spine flexibility.
Shoulder stand - Salamba Sarvangasana
Lying on the mat, bend both knees and roll your torso off the mat as you slowly lift both legs in the air and come onto your shoulders.
Support your back with both hands just under the waist.
Draw your elbows in towards each other and move the hands a little further down the back, bringing you higher as the back lengthens a little further into the pose.
Stimulates the thyroid, prostrate glands and abdominal organs.
Relieves insomnia, asthma, infertility, sinusitis and menopause symptoms.
Boat Pose - Paripurna Navasana
Lying on your back , lift your legs and bend your knees so the shins are parallel to the floor inhale and as you exhale come up to sitting balancing on your sit bones. Straighten the legs and hold onto the shins for three breaths. Release slowly back to the floor drawing your naval into the spine as you exhale back to the mat. Repeat three times.
Stimulates the kidneys, thyroid, prostate glands, and intestines
Strengthens the abdomen, hip flexors, and spine
Helps relieve stress.
Split Dog - Variation Adho Mukha Svanasana.
Begin in Down Dog with two feet on the floor. Inhale and raise your right leg behind you, making sure to keep your hips square to the floor. Continue to release the left heel to the floor. (walk the foot in towards the hands to release the heel down). Take three breaths here, then open the right hip stacking it over the left hip. This will allow the right leg to come higher and give you a nice hip stretch. Repeat on the other leg.
Stretches the whole body
Energises the nervous system
Helps relieve stress, headaches, fatigue, poor digestion, and back pain.
Head to knee - Janusirsasana
Begin by sitting with both legs straight out in front, making sure to sit upright onto your sit bones with a straight back.
Flex your feet and gaze at your toes, keeping your chest lifted. Arms are