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Spring Cleaning Your Body, Mind, and Spirit

It’s spring and time for some cleansing in body, mind and spirit. In many modes of eastern medicine, especially Ayurveda, the sister-science to Yoga, it’s believed that before you build wellness and strength you must first cleanse. Yoga poses that heat the system, twist the torso, and invert the body help to cleanse by with moving lymph fluid, spinal decompression, and organ cleansing.

First, Add a Little Heat

 

Photo by David Newkirk

Before cleansing the system, it’s necessary to add Tapas. Tapas isn’t only a word for tasty Spanish dishes served on little plates but also a Sanskrit word described in the Yoga Sutras as the heat necessary for transformation. Getting the body to heat up with poses that warm up the body (without overly challenging it) is very useful before cleansing the body. These poses include standing poses like Warrior I, II, and III, Side Angle Pose, and Triangle Pose. Once the body heats up, it’s ready for cleansing.

Twists: Cleansing Poses

Some of the poses that are excellent for cleansing are twists. One of the reasons we want things twisting and inverting is for our lymph. Not to be confused with the spritely libido-rich fairies so abundant in enchanted forests, this kind of  “ymph” could be considered to be the system of spritely fairies that fly around the forest of your body’s fluids systems and with their rich source of white blood cells they put magical spells on bacteria and other disease-causing microorganisms, spells that send these unwanted guests into your eliminatory systems. The problem with the lymph system is that unlike our circulatory system, lymph depends on movements like twists to circulate and do their work. Some yoga postures that help with this are seated and standing twists like Ardhamatsyandrasana and Twisting Crescent Lunge Pose. is one of  the best ways of keeping the lymph moving and thus keeping you healthy.

Twists also keep the body healthy by rotating the vertebral bodies of your spine and building strength and flexibility in the deep and superficial spinal and abdominal muscles. Twists ensure elasticity in the disks between the vertebrae as well as the ligaments of the back. Twists alternately compress and stretch the hemispheres of the chest, stimulating respiratory function. They also give a healthy massage to other vital organs, like the stomach, liver, intestines, and kidneys. Plus, twisting can help restore symmetry between the shoulders and pelvis which can be the problem of some kinds of back pain.  

Because the nervous system revolves (literally) around the spinal cord, twisting the spine also wrings out the nervous system. This is one of the meeting spots of mind and body: twists and other tension-relieving poses do wonders to help relieve emotional tension that gets trapped in the body in the form of tight muscles.

Inversions

Photo by Seneca Moore

Inversions are poses that turn you upside-down. Some common inversions are Headstand, Handstand, and Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose. Just like twists, inversions are great to help you cleanse your system. Our digestive system sometimes get compacted and turning things upside-down helps to get things moving again. Inversions are also excellent for decompressing your spine, strengthening your arms and shoulders, and strengthening both the deep and superficial core muscles.

Getting upside-down is perhaps the best way of moving lymph through the bod and cleaning house. Inversions also build muscles in the neck and shoulders. They tone vital organs and stimulate glands. Like twists, inversions build strength and flexibility in the superficial and deep muscles and connective tissue along the spine and rib cage, most notably in the diaphragm and abdominal muscles. With all this muscular toning along our spine and ribs, our posture shapes up. When done properly, inversions can lengthen our spine. Inversions also help out your digestion, respiration, and circulation systems. Last, inversions can maybe help you look at this sludge in the air in a different way, when you see it from upside-down.

Consider some gently-heating poses, twists, and inversions as you’re mindfully planning how to spring clean your body, mind, and spirit.

 

Photo by Seneca Moore

Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness. He’s taught in New York and Salt Lake city and currently lives in Southern France. When he’s not teaching or conducting retreats, he writes for Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, Medium, and his own blog at scottmooreyoga.com. Scott also loves to run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son. Check out his yoga retreats to places like Hawaii and Amalfi Coast , his online Yoga Nidra Course and his Yoga Teacher Mentor Program

 




Declutter Your Mental Space:10 Ways To Give Your Brain A Spring Cleaning

By: | Inspired Life/TWP

brain needs vitamin N

Spring is a natural time for clearing out old dirt and clutter. We do this for our houses and even for our bodies, but how often do we do it for our minds? In the same way you might cleanse your body of physical toxins and waste, you can also cleanse your mind of mental toxins like bitterness and unforgiveness. If left to fester, these poisons can eventually destroy their containers, like acids of the mind. To replenish our energy and regain our balance, we have to stop feeding off of mental “anti-nutrients” like perfectionism and the need to always be right.

Spring is the perfect time to de-clutter our mental space.

Not only will this restore us psychologically, but it can help restore us physically as well. The body is just downstream of the mind, so in clearing out and detoxifying your mind, your body will follow. These 10  tips are cleansing for everyone, but they are especially freeing for those of us stuck in chronic, unhealthy eating and self-care patterns. Some of them you can put into practice the second you decide to. Others involve more deeply embedded patterns that will take time and a sustained effort to clear, but you can begin today. Or at least, consider the fresh point of view. Free your mind and free your life.

Related Article: 4 Natural Food Solutions For Boosting Brain Health

1. Mind your own business.

One of my favorite spiritual teachers, Byron Katie, says that before stressing out about something, you should always ask yourself whose business it is: yours, mine or God’s. If it’s not your business, why are you in it?

2. Let go of the need to be right.

Is it truly more important to you to be right about something than to preserve your relationships with others? Have you ever loved anyone more because they were right and you were wrong? Decide if you’d rather be right or be close to people.

3. Stop blaming, shaming  and complaining.

Every one of these toxic habits is about giving your core power to something outside of your control. Stop it. It can’t save you. It’s not the difficult person or situation that causes your distress. It’s the story you tell yourself about what it means that causes you pain. Take control of what you tell yourself about difficulties and challenges, and the circumstances of your life will no longer have the power to blow you around like a tumbleweed.

4. Stop trying to please and impress everybody.

You won’t die if someone disapproves of something you say or do. Who are you? If you’re always trying to measure up to other people’s standards, you’ll never find out.

5. Clean up unfinished business.

Pick an unpleasant task you’ve been putting off for a long time and just do it. Today. Eckhart Tolle says, “That which stands in the way IS the way.” You will feel 20 pounds lighter.

6. Forgive someone.

Often we believe that forgiving someone will let them off the hook, so we hold on to our unforgiveness to punish them. But the truth is, when we forgive others, we free ourselves. Try it and see.

7. If you’re in the wrong, make it right.

Related Article: Clearing Clutter Opens The mind

When we mess up, we can become so paralyzed by guilt or shame that we make excuses, lie about our part, or run away from our responsibilities. Because the essential pain of not owning our wrongs is in our own hearts, there’s no real escape that way. Here’s what we told our kids when they were growing up: When you do something wrong, tell the truth. Apologize. Make it right if you can. Owning up means it won’t own you.

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