We all know about the benefits of practising yoga, from calming our minds to relaxing our bodies. Have you ever thought about how a juice detox can support your yoga practice? As we look forward to Summer, detoxing from the inside out could be the perfect way to boost your overall wellbeing.
We speak to Ross Beckley, Nutritionist and Natural Juice Therapist, and Shruti Srivastava, Founder of Yoga Mapp, Yoga Teacher and Holistic Massage Therapist from Maison de Lunel, a boutique health and wellness retreat in south-west France, to find out why juicing and yoga works from the inside out.
Why we detox
Detoxing is a word that has increased in popularity over the years. In today’s modern world we are bombarded on a daily basis by man-made chemicals and other toxins in our everyday environment that are unrecognised by the body. These chemicals are in our air, water, cosmetics, cleaning products, homes, cars, pretty much everywhere!
Our current lifestyles present challenges for our body, too. Whether it is fast-paced living, stress, processed genetically modified (GM) foods, caffeine, alcohol any other unhealthy habits that sneak into our daily lives.
In fact, many of us don’t realise that we are overfed and undernourished as a result of all the processed food that we consume. On top of these deficiencies, our food supply today is full of chemicals as modern farming methods more than ever before use pesticides, fungicides, antibiotics and growth stimulants. Once the crops have been picked, they are often stored for months on end, before being chemically ripened or processed further with more additives. Even grains such as wheat are more processed than they were 20 or 30 years ago resulting in food intolerances and allergies.
The human body is a finely balanced orchestra of living cells and we need to make sure our orchestra remains in tune through oxygen, good quality nutrition and detoxification.
Detoxing is one of the oldest and most effective ways for the body to heal itself through the reduction of these toxins.
When to detox
It’s worth observing whether you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
· Tiredness, irritability, mood swings
· Bloating, gas, constipation, bad breath
· Aches and pains
· Skin problems, e.g. acne, eczema, rashes
· Difficulties losing weight, weight rebound
· Food cravings, especially sugar and salt
· Poor concentration, a foggy mind
· Headaches, migraines
· Difficulty sleeping, waking up really tired
If you experience two or more of the above, you will definitely benefit from cleansing your system.
How to detox
The main ways to detox are through the breath, skin, sweating and what we expel from our digestive system, kidneys and liver. With such high levels of chemical exposure in our everyday lives, optimising our body’s ability to detoxify makes so much sense. Just as you might take your car in for a service annually, consider detoxing as essential to spring cleaning the body and getting it ready for the months ahead.
There are several ways you can support the body to heal:
· Increase your nutrient intake by opting for organic or biodynamic food where possible.
· Increase your intake of vegetables and fruits, particularly through juicing.
· Focus on consuming whole, unprocessed foods and removing refined, processed and sugary foods from your diet
· Limit chemicals in and around your personal environment.
As yogis, you may have already experienced the benefits of a plant-based clean diet. For anyone who has completed yoga teacher training, you may even have been advised to prepare for the experience by reducing animal-based foods in your diet or adopting a vegetarian diet.
But the more often you detox, (be it a day at home every week, over a weekend each month or a week or more on retreat every year!) the more you’ll notice the positive effects in just a short space of time as you increase the oxygen levels to your cells and flood the body with quality nutrients.
Detoxing is completely natural and necessary for a healthy body, mind and soul.
The benefits of detox
A detox gives your body the time, space, and right conditions to restore balance and vitality once again. The human body is always working to detoxify the various organs of the body so they can function in the most effective way possible and ward off disease and infection.
The benefits include:
· healing the body from illness
· strengthening the immune system to ward off disease and infection
· radiant, glowing skin
· improved energy levels
· supporting weight loss
· improving digestion and gut health
· better mental clarity
· balanced emotional health
…and an overall improvement in your quality of life!
It’s so important to give yourself the space to detox the body and mind, recharge, repair and recover – and switch off completely.
Why a juice detox?
So where does juicing fit in? If you’ve heard of detoxing, you’ve most likely come across juicing.
When we are cleansing, we are trying to reduce the digestive load on our system and eliminate common irritants and allergens. We do this by increasing our fresh vegetable and fruit intake.
People often ask, “Why juice? Why not just eat vegetables and fruit?” and these are great questions. Firstly, we’re sure you’ll agree that it’s quite tricky to eat this many raw vegetables and fruits! Secondly, we are able to flood our bodies with macro and micronutrients in a way that is simple and easy for our bodies to digest, whilst eliminating common irritants and allergens. By opting for juices, smoothies or soups, we’re reducing the need to chew or break down food in the small intestine, which gives the upper part of the digestive tract a complete rest and liberates our digestive energy – allowing our body to use the excess energy to cleanse, heal and revitalise i.e. to detox!
Quite simply, juicing is a process that helps to optimise the absorption of nutrients that help our cells repair, by removing a large amount of fibre in vegetables and fruit, allowing for all the vitamins and minerals to reach the bloodstream more quickly.
Juicing in a nutshell
1. Fresh juice is the 15-minute nutrient express to health.
Fresh juices go directly into your bloodstream (unfortunately, store-bought juices contain virtually no nutrients due to the pasteurisation process).
2. Juicing lets you add a wide variety of vegetables and fruit to your diet.
Many of us eat the same vegetables and fruits regularly. With juicing, you can enjoy a variety of vegetables that you may not eat whole. Juicing is also the perfect way to consume the recommended daily serving of vegetables.
3. Fresh juice offers incredible health benefits.
Taking regular freshly pressed vegetable juices are highly alkalizing and will improve energy levels, digestion and mental clarity, clearer skin and an overall sense of wellbeing
Juicing itself follows the pattern of how we have evolved as humans. We began as hunter-gatherers until we started cultivating food, building settlements and growing our population. Droughts, floods, war and famine resulted in periods of famine as well as feast. The body is conditioned to store sweet and fatty foods for energy for these periods of famine, for our survival.
Since 70% of the energy we use is for digesting food, vital for optimum brain function, juicing gives the body a chance to relax the digestive system and gives it a chance to repair, heal and relax, which is beneficial for the parasympathetic nervous system. You might lose a few pounds, notice your skin brighten and hair become shinier thanks to all the vitamins and raw enzymes.
People are often worried about juicing because of sugar and the side-effects of a sugar high that include energy peaks and troughs. A daily green juice (thanks to all the chlorophyll found in green vegetables) will give you all the nutrients your body needs. Of course, if you add more sweet fruits such as apples or pears to a juice, or bananas and honey to your smoothie, the sugar intake will be high and you might experience a crash later. Focusing on making seasonal green vegetables the star of the show and using lemons or limes to add a little sweetness, will minimise the amount of sugar in your juices and help you to maintain your energy levels throughout the day.
When you take a juice, encourage yourself to slow down, notice the vibrancy of the colour and appreciate the natural flavours in all the healing ingredients.
Why does juicing and yoga work from the inside out?
Juicing supports the benefits of yoga, whilst yoga enhances the ‘rest and repair’ benefits of juicing.
A combination of yoga and juicing can help to:
· Cleanse and purify the body from the inside out
· Heal the digestive system
· Support weight loss
· Release negative emotions and foster positive ones
· Increase a sense of empowerment as you take control of your mind and body
· Increase energy levels
· Support your mindfulness practice through mindful movement and mindful eating – you are listening to our body from the inside out
· Balance chakras through asanas and digesting the colours of the rainbow
From a therapeutic perspective, combining yoga with juicing allows you to optimise the parasympathetic rest and digest state that both practices offer. And as we mentioned before, the body has four main detoxification pathways, through the breath, lungs, skin and of course, urinating and excretion.
How you digest your food is how you digest life.
Yoga to detoxify
If we look into the specifics of yoga asana and pranayama in more detail, we can see even more synergies between these two detoxifying and therapeutic practices.
Why not incorporate some of the following into your yoga practice and experience the benefits that will help you to further detoxify your body and declutter your mind while juicing:
Pranayama and breathwork
· Start your yoga practice with alternate nose breathing or Aniloma Viloma to calm the mind and centre your thoughts. This in turn will calm your parasympathetic nervous system, or fight or flight, and just like juicing, will help you to relax.
· During class, maintain your Ujjayi breath also known as ‘victorious’ or ‘ocean breath’ to balance the body, heat your body from the inside out, increase your heart rate and encourage you to sweat those toxins out! It’s also known to increase the amount of oxygen in the blood, regulate blood pressure, detoxify the body and relieve stress.
· At the end of class, opt for a speedy, strong and forceful Kapalabhati breathing exercise, also called ‘breath of fire’, to clear the sinuses and expel carbon dioxide from the lungs to further support cleansing and detoxification of your respiratory system. It’s also considered to increase the metabolic rate enhance the function of our kidneys and liver, stimulate the abdominal organs, soothe asthma, improve digestion and blood circulation.
· Opt for lots of gentle twists to stretch and stimulate your digestive system, the large and small intestine and promote movement along the digestive tract and colon. Try Garudasana ‘Eagle’ pose or a seated or supine spinal twist such as ‘Matseyandrasana’ or Lord of the Fishes pose.
· Engaging your core will help to strengthen your abdominal muscles and your digestive tract and support any fat loss goals you might have. Our favourite is Boat pose!
· Savasana is SOOOO important. Lie in silence mindfully, listening to your body in stillness and let the benefits of your practice and juicing integrate.
· Meditation clears the mind and improves concentration just as juicing clears the body and improves your skin. Opt for an evening meditation practice or yoga nidra (yogic sleep) to quieten your thoughts and slow right down before bedtime. This will encourage a good night’s sleep, which is critical for your body to heal and repair.
Juicing and yoga is truly a wonderful partnership!
If you’ve never done a juice detox before, or are worried about its side effects, a great way to experience the benefits for the first time is on a supervised week’s juice detox.
This will give your body the chance to completely relax and the opportunity to carry out essential maintenance, whilst at the same time providing you with everything you need at a nutritional level through the juicing of organic vegetables and fruits. Juicing nourishes and cleanses the body, mind and soul. It’s a perfect way to reset, lose weight and kickstart your healthy living regime! Along with juicing - yoga, meditation, massage, walking in nature and giving yourself time for rest and relaxation will leave you feeling truly refreshed.
You might also find juicing in a group much easier than doing it on your own. It’s a bit like going to your first yoga class with a like-minded friend! On retreat, there are no distractions, whether that be the stresses of daily life or a fridge packed with unhealthy treats - and you can be accountable to the other guests who are on the journey with you.
To find out more about Maison de Lunel call to speak to one of our wellness specialists on +44 (0)203 886 0082 or click here.
Ross Beckley founded Maison de Lunel with husband Neil in 2019 having made changes to her own diet and lifestyle 10 years ago. Ross discovered a passion that motivated her to change her corporate career and inspired her to want to help others make small, but significant changes to their diet and lifestyle. After years living in Dubai in corporate events management, Ross trained as a nutrition and weight loss coach and Natural Juice Therapist and has recently qualified as a Food Matters Nutrition Coach.
Shruti Srivastava is Founder of Yoga Mapp, Yoga Teacher and Holistic Massage Therapist. Moonchild previewed the launch of platform www.yogamapp.com last August 2020, when Shruti was inspired to create a virtual space for yogis to practice together from all around the world during lockdown. Yoga Mapp helps you find and book online yoga classes, in-person retreats and workplace wellness, connecting you with quality yoga teachers and wellness experts from around the world.