“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” –Buddha
Hello! Once again, I am slacking on the posts, because I was gone all weekend on HOUSEBOATS—the most fun and crazy event you will ever experience! Students from several different California and Oregon universities all rent boats and spend the whole three-day weekend hanging out and partying on Lake Shasta. It was full of awesome adventures and meeting tons of cool people. Buuuut it was not the healthiest weekend, and definitely not vegan-friendly (I ate a hotdog for the first time in like four years!), and my body’s a little unhappy with me today. So this week’s focus for me is sauca.
Sauca, which is Sanskrit for ‘cleanliness’, is the first of the Niyamas (rules for personal observances). Sauca refers to both inner and outer cleanliness, so that we may have healthy, functioning bodies and clarity of mind. So this week I thought I’d share some of my favorite tips and methods for cleansing/detoxing, because even if you didn’t wage war on your body this weekend, a little inner spring cleaning never hurt anyone.
The easiest way to detox is to just drink plenty of water and eat lots of fruit (the best food to cleanse the lymphatic system) and vegetables, with an extra emphasis on vegetables (especially leafy greens, which are full of enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals to help you heal and cleanse the body and blood). Avoid processed food and sugar, go easy on animal proteins, which are harder to digest, get some form of exercise daily, sleep 7-8 hours a night, and meditate or do something mentally de-stressing.
Here are a few additional things I like to do to help my body stay clean and happy:
- Apple Cider Vinegar – You know in My Big Fat Greek Wedding how the dad is convinced that Windex is a miracle cure for anything? That’s how I feel about apple cider vinegar. It’s made by crushing fresh apples and allowing them to mature in wooden barrels. Make sure you get apple cider vinegar that contains the ‘mother’, which is the dark, cloudy part of the mature vinegar that contains many vital nutrients and trace elements, as well as bacteria-fighting agents. ACV is known to strengthen the immune system and reduce sinus infections and allergies, increase metabolism to improve digestion and promote weight loss, cure bad breath and acne, and balance high cholesterol. I add about a teaspoon of acv to a big cup of water and drink it first thing every morning (I’ll do this up to three times a day when I’m feeling sick, and I swear it makes me get better much faster). You can also just drink a teaspoon plain, but it will burn a little. The taste sakes some getting used to, but it’s worth it—it always makes me feel great!
- Neti Pot – this cleansing cure started as an ayurvedic medicine technique in ancient India, and is a common part of yogic practice. A neti pot looks sort of like a tea pot and is used as a form of nasal irrigation, which is flushing out excess mucus and debris from the nose and sinuses (yum). You just dissolve a little non-iodized salt in purified or boiled water, tip your head to one side, and let the water flow in one nostril and out the other, then repeat in the other direction. I know this looks pretty gross, but if you have allergies or get colds easily, you MUST try this! It flushes all the allergens and bacteria out of your nose and makes your head feel amazingly clear. ‘Tis glorious.
- Dry brush – dry brushing is rubbing the skin with a natural bristle brush (I use a sea sponge; a loofah glove would work too) in order to help slough off dead skin and stimulate the lymphatic system (the part of the circulatory system that helps the immune system. Your lymph nodes can get inflamed when their circulation is disrupted). I learned it’s best to start at the feet and brush upwards towards the heart, using long or circular strokes. I usually dry brush before hopping in the shower, and when I do I notice a big difference in my skin! Dry brushing makes my skin feel a lot smoother and I get a lot fewer little bumps and ingrown hairs (sorry bout the TMI). Dry brushing wakes up your circulation and can even reduce the appearance of cellulite, so brush away baby!
I could think of more, but I have to teach back-to-back yoga classes tonight and should probably fit in a nap so that I make it through both of them! So my challenge for y’all this week is to pick at least one new body-cleansing method to try. Want to drink more water? Eat a big salad with your lunch and dinner? Or maybe you’re daring enough to try out the neti pot?? Tell me about what you try, or if you have any detox methods of your own, let me know!
Have a clean and refreshing week