Today is number two of three days of juicing for me. Doing a detox helps us release toxins and reboot on many levels. When speaking about detox many mention the physical benefits, such as improved digestion, improved energy, healthy skin, a stronger immune system, and better blood circulation. While a detox definitely holds the potential of such benefits I find it just as important to mention the mental benefits. We do not only accumulate toxins in our bodies, but in our minds as well and just as important as the health of our body, is the well- being of our mind.
The instructions for a physical detox are usually very clear. For the one I am doing it means to refrain from eating or drinking anything besides the provided juices, the soup for dinner, and lots of water. I have to drink a juice every two hours and a little powder mixed with water in the evening before going to bed. Other detoxes, such as our Detox Mind & Body Retreat Weekend in Germany at the end of July, may include not only (or no juices at all), but nutritious food, which helps our body release toxins. These kinds of detoxes are pretty clear on a physical level as well: just eat what you are supposed to eat and nothing else.
How we can detox our mind to find clarity is not so clear for most people. Besides not being sure how, many people who undergo a detox actually do not even think of it at all. Most detoxification programs only briefly mention the mental benefits and do not at all advice on how it can be done. I believe that at least being aware of the mental benefits of a detox would already make a huge difference. Since many do not live very mindful and are not in touch with their body or their mind being made aware of the different benefits can bring the attention to that and allow them to notice and become aware of what is happening.
A detox is once again a proof for the connection of mind and body. When refraining from eating any food or certain foods we are used to eating the body starts to crave food and our mind starts to react as well. There may be moments of questioning why we are doing this but there might also be emotional reactions or different thoughts not directly connected to the detox, which come up. We must not push them away and suppress them like we do so often. A detox offers a great opportunity to face ourselves, let go of physical toxins, and allow our mind to be cleaned up as well.
I am using these three days for exactly this opportunity. While refraining from eating food is very challenging for me, it actually feels extremely good. It creates a sense of lightness and purity. There’s an empty space inside, which is being opened up by not eating whatever and whenever I want. This space allows my self to notice different parts, habits, and thought patterns of me and really takes me to the present moment. I use the opportunity of fully being present in the here and now and the sensation of this open space inside of me to sit down in stillness as much as I can to allow the self to observe thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. It is the perfect time for breathing exercises to aid the release of physical and mental toxins, for mindful and restorative yoga, for moments of stillness and reflection, and for doing good to myself.
A simple technique is to sit down comfortably, close the eyes, breathe deeply and simply observe what is happening in the mind. I like to meditate during a detox, which means to find stillness and let go of thoughts coming up, but I also give myself the chance to use moments of not letting the thoughts go but going with them, observing the thoughts, their patterns, origin and where they take me. This is a great exercise for releasing mental habits. I experience it as a form of self-therapy. It really is amazing how different it is to do such an exercise throughout a detox than throughout a normal day.
Another exercise is a mindful yoga practice during these days. Stretching the body with full awareness and attention to the different body parts. To really be in touch with the body, connect to it, to feel how it feels, and to notice where the body might need more attention. We hold tension in our bodies and the emptiness created by the detox offers an opportunity to feel the body more purely. It could be in the form of yin yoga, restorative yoga or very mindful and slow vinyasa yoga. It all works as long as we practice mindfully.
This is also a great time for allowing ourselves to relax deeply with the help of a massage, relaxing breathing exercises and maybe some yoga nidra. There are many great relaxation techniques out there. We just have to chose the ones we enjoy the most.
I am thankful for this experience, but I will also be very thankful for my first proper meal after my third day tomorrow 🙂 By the way if you are interested in doing a detox, in about two months Marcos and me will be giving our Mind & Body Detox Retreat in the north of Germany. The first weekend is already fully booked, but we opened up a second one. If you are around, come join us for a weekend of detoxifying food (not just juices, but proper meals), yoga, techniques from the world of positive psychology, meditation, and self-reflection. Just click on this link to see the details. We are already looking forward to it!