By Christine Chen, Yoga Teacher, Author of Happy-Go-Yoga
If real life keeps getting in the way of feeling your best, take a cue from some of our healthiest rock stars, who know they must constantly detoxify from their high pressure lifestyles to perform and shine. Wouldn’t it be nice to have that for yourself?
I’m sure they’re all on board with Dr. G’s detox shake (who isn’t), but these days, rock stars like Adam Levine, Russell Simmons, and Madonna are following the path of the ancient yogis. Long before we knew about pro-biotic supplements, the yogis knew how to detox – mind, body, and soul – for more peace and wellbeing, 24-7.
Today, medical research supports what the yogis knew long ago. Research shows that mindfulness meditation relieves anxiety and stress, and taking regular breaks to stretch and move decreases your risk for disease and illness. Meantime, they’re finding, scientifically, that yogic breathing can make you more resilient to stress and move more oxygen. Great stuff! Here are three yoga practices you can do everyday to detox like a yogi rock star.
Physical Detox for Tight Neck and Shoulders We get so stiff in our necks and shoulders, a response to stress and our growing need to always be looking down at our smart phones. Take this minute for a daily detox as soon as you get out of the shower.
- After a hot shower, put on something loose and comfortable.
- Hold a towel in front of you, lengthwise, like a rope.
- Keep your arms straight and hold the towel away from you.
- Inhale, lift the towel above your head, and keep it taut throughout the next step with your arms extended.
- Exhale, reach behind you and let your shoulders drop down your back.
- Repeat and bring forward and back with matching breath (adjust how you hold the towel to accommodate your personal neck and shoulder relief).
Digestive Detox to Give You Energy Morning coffee is not that great for your digestive system, to be honest. If you can, start your day with this powerful, detoxifying breathing practice to invigorate yourself and increase your digestive fire – necessary to cleanse and release toxins. (Note: If you’re pregnant, skip this one.)
- With your mouth closed, inhale, expanding your belly button outward (try not to lift your chest and shoulders), and exhale, letting your belly button move inward.
- For your next inhale, swiftly and powerfully inhale through your nose, expanding your belly.
- Exhale through your nose, swiftly and powerfully, and compress your abdomen, like you’re trying to pull your belly button inside yourself.
- Repeat, continuing to breathe swiftly, powerfully, and fully, in and out of your nose.
Free Your Mind
Mental Detox for an Overworked Brain If you’re constantly thinking about anything and everything, this one’s for you. When you intentionally detoxify your mind, you’ll be able to think and act with more clarity, in addition to reducing mental stress.
- Visualize clouds in your mind, and start to breathe in and out of your nose evenly.
- As thoughts arise, imagine you can put each thought in a cloud.
- Inhale as you visualize a thought in that cloud.
- Exhale as you visualize that thought cloud drifting by to reveal blue sky.
- Repeat, and try not to get frustrated (you’ll create more clouds).
These are adaptations from my book, Happy-Go-Yoga, simple poses to relieve pain, reduce stress, and add joy, which is based on my own healing journey from high stress and back pain to more bliss and happiness. I learned over many years of practice, study, and teaching that little things can make a big difference to feel better and be happier. It worked for me. I know it can work for you.
About the Author
Christine Chen is an Emmy award-winning news anchor/reporter, wellness writer and editor, multi-certified yoga teacher, and former Athleta-sponsored athlete. Years ago, she began squeezing yoga classes into her hectic schedule, desperate to de-stress from a high intensity job and ease a back condition that left her in non-stop pain. Yoga worked, and it transformed her life forever. Today, she finds great joy in sharing her fun, practical yogic approach to feel better and be happier in a busy, busy world. A San Francisco native, Christine lives with her husband in New York, where yoga helps her live a life of wellness – anytime, anywhere. Christine is also a huge fan of Dr. G.