When word hit the newswire that three adults passed away during a five-day “spiritual warrior” retreat intended for “spiritual cleansing,” every bone in my yoga-practicing, spirituality-seeking body cringed. I thought, here’s just another new age-y story gone awry to give all of us yogins a bad name.
I resolved not to lose myself in the idiosyncrasies of stereotypes and instead tried to extract a hopefully useful lesson out of this sad story: cleanses can be dangerous when taken to extremes, or highly beneficial when used in moderation.
We Americans often seek the quick fix–the lose 30 pounds in 30 days mentality. A quick stroll down a health food store aisle easily gives this away, touting all sorts of powders, formulas and pills to help detox our way to greater health. It doesn’t help that these detox diets, fat-free fads and other methods to cleanse the body have been popularized thanks to celebrities, supermodels and nutritionists alike.
In my opinion, quick, commercial fixes to cleanse or detox anything as sensitive as the human body should be seriously scrutinized.
Detox Safely, in Small, Moderate Steps
As my yoga instructor often reminds me, something as simple as small modifications to our diets or minor changes in exercise can naturally create a cleansing affect. And even better, without the risks (yes, even deadly) that come with full-blown fasts, nutritional supplements and rituals. For example:
- If you find yourself drinking little more than your morning cup of coffee during the day, begin adding in a couple glasses of water. You may notice a feel-good effect that helps flush out impurities and keep you hydrated.
- If you’re hooked on coffee, try substituting it with tea. Beyond the withdrawal headaches you might find yourself feeling better and less prone to low-energy crashes.
- Do veggies make it low on your grocery priority list? Start adding in a new vegetable to your diet each week and see how you feel. The dose of fiber might lend to easier elimination–not to mention boost your antioxidant intake.
Cleanse Through Yoga, Naturally
If you have a non-existent exercise routine, begin adding in a simple yoga pose to your day–or a yoga class into your week. Yoga poses, by nature, all contain cleansing qualities, as they help twist, squeeze and extract toxins out from your organs and out of your pores.
The point that needs to be remembered is that, just like how, small, green steps can add up to making a significant dent in the green movement, small steps towards health all add up too! It doesn’t take sitting in a sweat lodge, calorie deprivation or terrible tasting concoctions.
How did you react to the news of the sweat lodge deaths? What implications do you feel it has? Please share below.