Back when I lived in Minnesota, I used to participate in a seasonal detox program at my local yoga studio. The program included early morning yoga classes, acupuncture, and a detoxifying diet filled with nutritious, whole foods, and plenty of time to meditate and reflect. I found this short 1-week detox to be nourishing not just for my body, but also for my soul. As the leaves change, I can feel myself craving nourishment and detoxification -- not because of fluctuating weight, or because of unhealthy eating habits, but because like the seasons, we owe it to our bodies to encourage change and rejuvenation as the earth changes around us.
Fall is the perfect time to detox your body and mind. The changing seasons, cooler weather, and adjustment to new routines beg for refreshment and reset. But you need not invest in expensive detox programs or supposed magical pills. Below are four simple things that you can do today to detox, refresh, and reset for the new season.
1. Hot Water with Lemon Juice
Before eating or drinking in the morning, start your day with a cup of hot water and the juice of half a lemon. The warm beverage will soothe any lingering fatigue, while the lemon juice will aid in digestion and help with mineral absorption. Aim to drink one cup each morning for at least one week. Bonus: the hot water may curb your coffee cravings and reduce caffeine addiction.
2. Yoga Twists
While a full yoga practice is a great way to detox the body, a shorter and abbreviated way to gain the same effects are to perform a few simple twist poses. Twisting is a great way to get your body out of its usual range of motion, and may aid in digestion and the flushing of toxins.
For a simple twist, lay flat on your back on your yoga mat with arms outstretched to either side. Bring both knees into your chest and cross your right leg over your left. Inhale here. On the exhale, lower your knees to the left side of your body, twisting from your hips and core. Turn your head to the right and hold for 3-5 breaths. Inhale your legs back to center, uncross, then recross with your left leg over your right, and repeat on the opposite side.
3. Detox Bath
I love a good, hot bath in the cooler months. For a detoxing dip, fill your bathtub with hot water and add 2-4 cups of Epsom salt. Once the salt is dissolved, add 2-4 drops of essential oils of your choice (lavender and rose are my personal favorites). Soak for 20-30 minutes, or longer if desired.
Epsom salt, which is high in magnesium and sulfate, is known for relaxing the body, aiding in nutrient absorption, and flushing toxins. As an athlete, I love a good Epsom salt bath to soothe tired muscles.
4. Deep Breathing
The easiest and most simple form of detoxification comes from our own breath -- yes, really! The breath naturally detoxes the body by flushing out carbon dioxide and bringing in fresh oxygen. A simple deep-breathing exercise will encourage oxygen and blood flow, and will leave you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.
Start by finding a comfortable seat and closing your eyes. Breathe out until your lungs are completely empty, and then slowly take a long, deep breath in. Fill your lungs to their capacity, pausing at the top of your breath, then release in a long, slow exhale. Repeat for at least 4 breaths, but continue for as long as you wish. If you’re having trouble taking slow inhales and exhales, try counting to 6 for each breath, increasing the amount of time as you better your practice.
Set aside time for just one week to integrate these detoxifying practices into your life, and you’ll quickly reap the benefits. A simple detox during the changing seasons will ready your energy for a new season, and prepare your body for the cold, dark months ahead. For me personally, I find that after even a short period of time, I feel noticeably lighter in both body and mind. Happy detoxing!