Friday 24 April 2015

Stretching and steaming into Days Six and Seven of Detox Diary

Day Six at Moinhos Velhos and everything starts to shift.  The headaches are gone and I’m feeling lighter, brighter, more settled in myself.  You fall into a routine and it’s actually rather nice not to have to think about food; about what to eat or what not to eat.  Now, to be fair, I find fasting easy – and this is the easiest kind of fast of all because you’re actually getting a fair few calories from the juice so you don’t feel the lethargy that can sneak in when you’re water fasting.  But most people here are finding it fine – so far there’s only one woman who’s still not feeling too good.

Anyhow, so far I’ve been talking about the intestines (some might say too much) but it’s worth remembering that it’s not just the guts and the liver, gallbladder and kidneys which are involved in the detox process.  Our lungs are a vital element of detoxing, which is why yoga is so important.  Here the yoga practice has a large focus on pranayama, the yogic art of good breathing.  

So, every day we do:
Kapalabhati – the pumping breath – which cleanses the whole respiratory system.  It also strengthens and increases lung capacity, allowing the red blood cells to draw in more oxygen.  The strong abdominal contractions help improve digestion and massage and tone the internal organs - liver, spleen, pancreas, stomach and heart.  Anything else?  Yup, it refreshes the mind, increasing alertness and helps eliminate excess mucus, clearing the sinuses.  

We also do alternative nostril breathing – which, again, cleanses and strengthens the entire respiratory system.  In fact, it actually harmonises the whole body and is particularly soothing for the mind.  Use it whenever you need to focus and concentrate – or when you’re feeling stressed.  

Then we go into several rounds of Surya Namaskar, the Sun Salutation, that perfect warm-up for all yoga asana.  Not only does it warm up and stretch out pretty well every muscle, but it also helps to regulate your breathing and to focus your mind.  

Then - it depends.  There are three yoga teachers here so it varies a bit but they all agree that the following asanas are superb for detox:  
Sirsasan (Headstand) - or Dolphin. I still can't do an unsupported headstand day. 
Sarvangasan (Shoulder Stand) 
Halasan (Plough)
Matsyasan (Fish)
Paschimothanasan (Seated Forward Bend)
Bhujangasan (Cobra)
Salabhasan (Locust)
Dhanurasan (Bow)
Ardha Matsyendrasan (Half Spinal Twist) 
Padahasthasan (Forward Bend)
Trikonasan (Triangle)

Okay, so the wifi has been a bit flaky and the schedule here is also pretty full-on so I didn't manage to post the above, yesterday - so you're getting two doses in one.

Day Seven and I had a crap old friend insomnia came back to bite me.  So I launched into the week (weak) point feeling tired and a bit pathetic.  But, once again, a good dose of yoga perked me up, even if I had to sink into Balasan (Child) and even Savasan (Corpse) at certain points.
Still not hungry.  A giant spot appeared on my nose which reminds me to talk about the other great elimination organ - the skin.  Every good detox should, to my mind-body, include a goodly dose of stuff to help the skin throw off the nasties.  Here they have a great Jacuzzi (with mega powerful jets to ease out back tension too - an added bonus) plus a fabulous wood-fired sauna.  Now, I never used to like saunas - steamrooms, yes, but sauna no.  But I've become a bit of a convert and, truly, there is nothing nicer than a wood-fired one.  There's something deliciously elemental about hearing the crackle of the wood, seeing the flames flicker, feeling the heat and steam rise and swirl in the darkness (this one is blissfully dim).  Then you chuck on the water and there's the drama of the hiss, the steam, the sudden burning in the throat as the heat throws itself at  you.  Heaven.
So, I've been doing a fair bit of that - with some experts from Sweden.

Anyhow, there it is.  Going into Day Eight feeling good.

For more reports on detoxes see Queen of Retreats 

Of course, if you fancied trying a DIY detox at home, I outline a very gentle one in my book The Detox Plan - along with more stuff on yoga, meditation, breathing, hydrotherapy and so on.  It's available on Kindle for a couple of pounds or so, so click on the top right-hand corner link if you feel so inclined.  No Clysmatics included!  


Rachel Selby said...

How many days is this fast for? You look great. I'd love to do something at home but I don't have the will power to do it without the aide of being away from my kitchen/shops and all the other activities.

Exmoorjane said...

@Rachel - ten days. But I might continue it longer as feeling so good. Only problem? Juicer is knackered at home.
Oh, and another kilo down...cos I know you're counting. :)
It's really tough to do this stuff when you're at home, I reckon. I HAVE done it, but it's a lot, lot harder. Here everyone is doing the same thing and there's no temptation.

Frances said...

Jane, I am continuing to follow your detox diary with much interest. I am learning a lot.