Alex May 1st, 2013
Have you been inspired by the beautiful weather to start spring cleaning? Sunshine and warmth are all the stimulation I need to tackle projects around my home.
Your spring cleaning ritual may involve tidying up the piles of paper that have accumulated around your home or office, breaking out a bucket of soapy water, or battling the weeds in your garden; but also consider the benefits of cleansing your mind and body with yoga.
Doshas are a concept presented in Ayurveda, a system of traditional medicine native to India. There are three of them, and every person’s constitution is shaped by their own unique combination:
- Vata is represented by air & space = Wind
- Pitta is represented by fire & water = Bile
- Kapha is represented by water & earth = Phlegm
Your individual nature may lean toward an excess of any one of the doshas. Ayurvedic medicine aims to bring them into balance through a holistic combination of physical and emotional cleansing. Beyond one’s nature, an imbalance may be caused by stress, a poor diet or changing seasons. For example, in winter, kapha tends to accumulate, causing congestion in the body. A spring cleanse is beneficial to wring out excess kapha and create blissful space in the body and mind.
There are three primary systems involved in cleansing and detoxifying the physical body.
- The circulatory system pumps blood, delivering oxygen and carrying away waste.
- The digestive system separates nutrition from waste to eliminate what the body doesn’t need.
- The lymphatic system transports intercellular fluid to lymph nodes to remove bacteria and other contaminants.
You can encourage “spring cleansing” by stimulating and accelerating these processes with your yoga practice.
- Spinal twists massage internal organs, loosen waste and purge toxins.
- Back bends stimulate abdominal organs.
- Forward bends massage the organs and encourage elimination.
- Inversions reverse blood flow.
Beyond its physical benefits, your practice can also promote emotional detoxification.
- Practice Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Twist) to reduce anger.
- Incorporate a heart-opening pose like Matsyasana (Fish) to combat fear.
- Rely upon a comforting, inward-facing pose like Balasana (Child’s Pose) as a remedy for grief.
- Alleviate your worries with Paschimottansana (Seated Forward Bend).
Approach spring cleaning in a new way this year with a cleansing yoga practice. When your body is energetic and your mind calm and focused, you’ll thank yourself. Plus, you’ll be better prepared to tackle your spring cleaning.