You may think that detox is something you do by either joining a detox programme or consuming nothing but liquids for 21 days. It seems either overly arduous or something only the rich and idle have time to do. However your body is naturally designed to detox every day.
How detoxification works
There are three main systems of the body that play a crucial role in the elimination of wastes — circulatory, digestive and lymph. The circulatory system pumps blood throughout the body, delivering oxygen to and carrying waste products away from cells. The digestive system processes the food we eat, separating nutrients from waste and eliminating anything the body doesn’t need. And the lymphatic system collects intracellular fluid from throughout the body and transports it to the lymph nodes where anything harmful (such as bacteria or other contaminants) can be removed before the lymphatic fluid is returned to the bloodstream. It’s a robust system that works well on its own. But in order to help your body keep up with the heavy demands our stressful lives and nutrient-poor modern diet place on these systems, the trick is to give your body an assist so it can perform its natural detoxing function. And yoga is an ideal companion.
How yoga facilitates detox
Most forms of vigorous exercise stimulate all three systems of elimination to some extent, thereby helping the body in its quest to detox. But yoga, with its focus on systematically stretching and compressing every part of the body, is particularly well-suited to keeping the waste-removal departments of the body functioning well.
In a well-rounded yoga practice, every part of the body is pushed, pulled, twisted, turned and upended. This facilitates the removal of waste products such as carbon dioxide, lactic acid and lymphatic fluid from the deep tissues and extremities of the body that a jog or a bike ride just don’t reach. Yogic breathing helps clear out carbon dioxide from the lung tissue, stimulates the organs of digestion and can, over time, retrain the diaphragm to move freely.