Detoxing, Yoga Style: My Journey

Last October (2012), you may recall that I wrote about “Detoxing” as a yoga class theme (“Class Themes: Detoxing”). I usually present a detox theme in the yoga classes I teach following big events often celebrated with food. You know Thanksgiving, Superbowl, Christmas, 4th of July, and so on. It is a popular theme to present as an inspiration for yoga practice. Additionally, I wrote about making healthy and better food choices back in January 2013 (“Helping to Unlock the Complicatedness that Exists with Trying to Eat Healthy”). So maybe, you might want to check those blogs out if you haven’t seen them or revisit them again because they will relate to this blog.

So with that being said, I decided to explore the detox theme and the eating healthy approach but with a different method; an enrollment into an actual detox program but yoga style. It is not a diet but rather a self exploration.

BLUF: Essentially, I will eliminate toxic substances one at a time and then check in with my body with regards to how I feel…my energy levels, bloating, weight loss/gain, headaches, morning nasal congestion…and so on. For instance, I might eliminate sugar or caffeine for a week and of course take note of what my body tells me. Then I might reintroduce said substance and visit again how I feel.

I will document my entire journey here on ‘this’ blog so if you want to follow the blog or do the detox with me, you won’t have to look all over for it. It will be here! I’m starting on Tuesday, August 6 which is just around the corner. So if you are wanting to do the detox with me, this gives you a heads up and an opportunity to prep yourself mentally which is a big factor of whether you are successful or not. This exploration will be for 21 days. Details to come. Stay Tuned!

Hey, this just might be the discovery about yourself that you need to maybe lose weight, clear up your skin, or have higher energy levels. All positive results!


Tuesday, 30 July 2013:
My upcoming journey is frequenting my mind. I am wondering what in my kitchen will I abstain from during the program. I’ve been Googling yoga detox programs just to kind of read up on what other people are doing. Problem is that I am mainly basically finding advertisements verses people’s actual experiences. I’ve also resorted talking with others to include on a fitness bulletin board that I regularly frequent. Not a whole lot of people are familiar with experiencing an organized detox program either.

Frustrating as this is, it also makes me happy in my decision to blog my journey. I know people want to kind of get a feel for a program before they enroll and commit. The program advertisement said this detox was going to change my life. A funny thing I thought when I read the program advertisement was “well I don’t know about that, but hopefully changes will be positive.” Well, you’ll at least get my perspective.

Today is the Day! Day 1: Tuesday, 6 August 2013:
We will have weekly meets on Tuesday evenings at the yoga studio where I regularly pursue my own practice. (Not where I teach). Looking forward to it. I will post again after our meeting. Stay tuned!
1. Weigh yourself before you start. Record your number. I took the opportunity to weigh myself at the gym’s calibrated scale dressed in my underwear. I usually don’t weigh myself because I always get hung up on the number. And like predicted, I did.
2. Practice yoga at least three times a week during this program. Practice can be at the studio, DVDs, online, or your own practice. Just do it.
3. Journal. Keep your journal available so you can document feelings, thoughts, physiological responses…as you experience the detox program.
4. Check out the various references to learn more. Knowledge is power! (I’m going to create a recommended reading page. Check for it at the top).
5. Awareness of the 5 Frienemies:
– Inertia: momentum in place/already in motion
– Agitation: both good and bad. Good might be deciding to do the program because you want something. Bad might be old habits, physiological responses, cravings, family/friend pressures, and soft addictions.
– Craving: something we want. Women know about cravings that are driven by hormones.
– Aversion: being averse to something. How strong is it? For me, it’s smoking. I have a moderately high aversion to it. Not a fan!
– Doubt: exactly that. I noticed that I had some doubt about this program being life changing. Even captured above in earlier writing. Guilty!
6. Food: The “Big Five”to Give Up for this Program:
– Sugar
– Gluten
– Caffeine
– Alcohol
– Animal Products
Well, this is my kitchen! I’m going to have to go shopping of which I will do tomorrow. When shopping, we were told to read labels. I mentioned that all of us should be aware of sugar in disguise…those sneaky sugar words. Also, worth mentioning, is many fruits have sugar as well so we should choose Low Glycemic Foods. It is also worth knowing that the body processes alcohol the same way it does for sugar. As for gluten, it is great to know that gluten free products are identified on packaging but to read labels for “wheat.”
It was additionally mentioned for us to take this slow so changes actually stick in our life styles. Some things we are going to do is go to a restaurant, share recipes (Pinterest anyone), email, and take a grocery store tour.
7. Yoga Practice:
– The exhale was really stressed! We were told to extend our exhales as much as possible and to draw the belly inward and upward as we do so. Our instructor said to watch a baby breathe and notice it is in their belly verses their chest. This is where we want our breath!
– Twists
– Abdominal Pressure/Digestive Organ Stimulation: Use heels as in Half Lotus/Full Lotus or place your fist just inside hip bone and pursue a Forward Fold. (If you can’t do Half Lotus try Figure-4 AKA Janu Sirvasana and place a tennis ball where your heel would be in Half Lotus then fold forward).

Pursue a full on Wind Relieving Pose where knees are drawn into your chest and arms are securely wrapped around shins while a partner applies gentle downward pressure onto shins and exhale deeply.

Saturday, 10 August 2013:
I’m now a few days into the program. Avoiding the “Big 5” has been constantly on my mind.
1. Avoiding Gluten has been pretty easy thus far. I’ve learned that there are plenty of other grain like options and if you look you will find Gluten Free (GF) products throughout the grocery store. Also I’ve learned to read labels as wheat can be in a lot of products one wouldn’t think it would be in. Additionally, if you Google “gluten free at ‘insert restaurant name,” you often will find a list of menu items that are GF or ask the person at the counter/waitress for the Gluten Free menu. Apparently, they have this whole other menu. Who knew?!
2. I haven’t had any alcohol. But then I’m not a huge drinker.
3. Animal products. This has been harder for me. Before I went on Tuesday, I had pulled out chicken to thaw for dinner and put it in the crock pot. That’s what I had for dinner and yes, I had leftovers. But that’s the only meat I’ve had. And I’m having it tonight since we are going out and the dish will be gluten free. But I’ve had real butter and I’m trying to finish up the eggs so I won’t have those in my fridge. I have switched to Almond milk and that’s actually tasty.
4. Caffeine. I’ve made steps to reduce it. I’ve drank tea on days I don’t work but on days I do, well I had my coffee. I get up at 0430 to be at work by 0545. And I happy there are lots of tasty herbal teas without caffeine to choose from!
5. Sugar. This is hard! Sugar is in practically everything! Ugh! I haven’t actively sought out ice cream, chocolate, candy, cake, or anything like that. I’ve bought low glycemic products and I have been eating low glycemic fruits.
6. The yoga practice has been easy for me but then I am a Yogaholic! The emphasis on exhaling has to be on my mind or I forget and pursue my regular Ujjayi breath with is a normal practice.

***All and all, trying to avoid all 5 at the same time, is the hardest part in my opinion!***

Second Meeting – Tuesday, 13 August 2013:
1. Our mentor has provided us with emails so we can encourage each other outside of our meetings. We’ve also been advised to not eat at least 2 hours prior to coming. We will do our practice and then have agreeable snacks for the discussion portion of our meeting.
2. Reading the books thus far has provided another insight/motivation as to avoiding or at least minimizing animal products. My eggs are gone now and I won’t buy any more. I haven’t had any meat since Saturday. Still guilty of butter and cheese on a baked potato though.
3. At our meeting, our yoga practice stressed a breathing technique called “BASTRIKA” and let me tell you this technique sure isn’t easy. It takes a lot of concentration! After you do 5 to 10, you’ll feel like you’ve had an abdominal workout!
4. We were introduced to a “Yoga Meal” and what constitutes as one. Here are the requirements.
A. You must be seated during the meal.
B. A serving consists of two handfuls.
C. You must set down your utensils between each bite.
D. You must not speak while you are chewing.
E. You must wait 2-3 minutes before reaching for another helping. Maybe this time going for only one fist. Also, try to wait 2-4 hours before having another meal.
5. While we were eating, we shared our experiences for the week amongst each other.

Sunday, 18 August 2013:
It’s been a few days since I’ve posted. I wanted to report that I’m still doing well. Starting to get the hang of it! Been to other restaurants and have successfully managed the gluten free situation. My daughter and I have been trying some recipes that don’t have the “Big 5.” We tried a black bean burger this past Friday. I’m pretty sure, I’ve lost some weight as clothing is looser and I’m liking the way my stomach is looking. I also continue to teach and take various classes and my energy levels are great! Been talking to lots of people about my detox experience also and receiving positive responses as well as these two comments/questions.
1. What do you eat?
2. How do you get your protein.
My answers: At first, I didn’t think I’d have a lot of food options either. I kind of had a lot of doubt. I assure you that’s not the case. I’m eating lots of stuff, just different stuff. Lots of produce. As far as protein, there is a lot of plant-based protein options and some successful athletes only get plant-based proteins. I tell them about the book written by a Triathlon athlete Thrive.

Third Meeting: Tuesday, 20 August 2013:
1. This meeting consisted of a Twenty Minute Meditation. To get into the meditation, we were cued to focus on our breath, the cool inhales and warm exhales, the sensation above our upper lip during the exhale…acknowledge that our thoughts are there but to not dwell on their content…and before we knew it, 20 minutes were past. Our instructor used an app called “Meditation Timer” and the soft chime actually started me so I guess I was in the Zen Zone.
2. We then had a discussion/question and answer session. I shared that I had had a low grade headache since Friday. Our instructor thinks for me, it is likely from the withdrawal of sugar more so than caffeine.
3. We then went on a grocery store tour. Each of us were given out handouts of various brands to explore and try out. We went around and found those brands. Also, some of the other students would mention if they had tried something and whether they liked it or not. Believe it or not, I was familiar with about 20% of the brands listed on the handout and I’d recently discover the majority of that 20% since I’ve been on the detox.
4. My Mom told me about a book called “The Engine No. 2 Diet.” I found it on Facebook and now I’m getting some tasty looking recipes posted on my wall. Thinking about getting the book.

Sunday, 25 August 2013:
It is nearing the end of the program and I’m absolutely impressed as to my desire to be successful. I haven’t slipped and I am totally used to the routine now. Next Tuesday, we will have a yoga practice at 6pm and then together we will go out to eat as a group still under the scope of the program. Last night, my friends and I went out to eat at a restaurant called Hu Hut which is Mongolian BBQ or stir fry. It was a great place as I was able to totally avoid the Big 5 since you have control of everything that goes into your stir fry.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013:
Yesterday was our last day. We went to a restaurant as a group and ate as best as we could within our guidelines. It was great. Today, I’ve continued to eat within the guidelines even though I’ve graduated. My kitchen is still filled with those allowable options.

1. Success!!! I did it. I don’t feel deprived. I feel great. I have plenty of energy. I’ve lost some weight and my stomach has become flatter!!!! This makes me pretty happy.
2. I will keep many aspects of this program like paying attention to my sugar consumption, reading labels, and being conscious of my meat consumption. I am not sure about the staying with the Gluten Free aspect as I didn’t feel like there was a significant change (for me). I will however, definitely eat other sources of gluten free grains more often. I’m also eating way more fruits and vegetables of which is very positive. I’ve also have explored new products that I don’t think I would have ever tried if it weren’t for the program. And, amazingly, even as a super busy woman, I’m motivated to cook real foods verses going for the easy route of grabbing and going. Again, another positive!
3. One big growth and positive thing is that I’ve gained is definitely empathy for those who need to be on a special diet due to health or other needs.
***As for people who have Celiac’s or Crohn’s, and I have some really great friends who
suffer terribly from these, I think it is great and necessary to go Gluten Free. My
program stated that a lot of people suffer from stomach upsets, get really sick, and to
suffer from what they think are allergies when it really is “gluten” that they are
sensitive too. The program objective really was to try going GF and see if you
find that you feel better. I also agree with what I am finding on the web with the push
for people to get tested for Celiac’s to know for sure.
***Since I’ve been on the program and sticking to GF for the duration (I don’t feel
different so when it is over, I will return to eating regular in that aspect), I’ve
learned how difficult it might be to shop, cook, or go out to eat. So at the very least,
I’m gaining empathy for a suffer’s stuggles to be GF. The nice thing is that in talking
with people who are GF is that as days go by, there are more and more GF products that
are available. That’s good news for sufferers!


About kwarren1970

I am an avid hiker and yogi.
This entry was posted in Cleaning, Eating Healthy, Exercise, Weight Loss, wellness, Yoga and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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