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Yogic Ways to Detox Your Body

Yogic Ways to Detox Your Body

Yoga is known to be an effective way to detoxify the body.  There are many practices and lifestyle changes that can be adapted which are effective in cleansing the body from within. Toxins settle in our bodies through various ways - leftover food particles or an unhealthy digestive system and gut, the usage of fertilizers in raw materials, polluted air and water, etc. All of these settle in the intestines, lungs, lining of the nose and even get clogged under the skin. Let’s look at the various practices and tips that are helpful. 

Yoga’s cleansing techniques

Known as the Shat Kriyas, these cleansing techniques work on specific internal organs to cleanse and expunge waste, stubborn particles of dust and food, and to improve the digestive system. 

Agni Sar

Agni refers to ‘fire.’ Sar is ‘essence.’ This practice stimulates and activates the digestive fire. It involves moving the ‘fire’ in the body. On a physical level, the practice involves conscious movement of the abdominal muscles and organs, and this creates internal heat. The practice is very useful as a preparation for other practices like Kapalbhati and Bhastrika pranayama.

Kapal Bhati

This means ‘frontal lobe cleansing’. In this practice, exhalation is active and inhalation is passive. In normal breathing, inhalation is active and exhalation is passive. There are different ways to do Kapal Bhati and this must be learnt from a teacher. It invigorates the entire brain and awakens the dormant centers which are responsible for subtle perception. Kapalbhati expels more carbon dioxide and other waste gasses from the cells and lungs than normal breathing, thereby increasing oxygen supply to the brain. It’s a very powerful practice to detoxify the body, remove blockages in the nadis (energy channels) and improve energy in the mind and body. It also removes lethargy, laziness and invigorates the mind. 

Shankhaprakshalana and Laghoo Shankhaprakshalana

They are the cleansing of the intestines. The process includes first drinking two glasses( about 600-700ml) and performing a series of five specific asanas. 16 glasses are consumed in total and evacuated through the bowels. Once clear water starts coming through, one will know that the stomach and intestines are perfectly clean. Forty-five minutes after completing the practice of Shankhaprakshalana, the popular Indian dish, Kichidi should be consumed with ghee (no salt should be added). 

Laghoo Shankhaprakshalana is the shorter version of this where one drinks only six glasses of water. After every two glasses, the same series of 5 asanas should be done. This practices cleanses and detoxifies the intestines, pushing out particles that are stuck on the lining. It completely cleanses the digestive system. 


is  the process of cleansing the nasal passage. This consists of Jala Neti and Sutra Neti. In Jala Neti a Neti Pot should be used. It is done by allowing warm, saline water to pass through the nose. The practitioner has to allow the water to seamlessly pass through. Neti can be practiced for week if you are suffering from sinusitis, colds, insensitivity to smell, nosebleed, headache, eye strain or eye infections, ( do it when its about to set in and not  during these conditions) otherwise it is best to practice only once a fortnight. In Sutra Neti, Sutra means ‘thread’ and the practice consists of passing a length of thread through the nose and gently pushing it so that it passes down into the throat. When it reaches the back of the throat, it should be pulled out through the mouth. One must slowly and gently pull the thread backwards and forwards 30-50 times.

Neti has a profound impact on the body and mind. It removes mucus and pollution from the nasal passages and sinuses, allowing air to flow without obstruction. It also stimulates the various nerve endings in the nose, improving the sense of smell and the overall health of the individual. A balance is brought about between the right and left nostrils and subsequently, the left and right brain hemispheres, inducing a state of harmony and balance throughout the body and mind. 

Breathing Practices

Many breathing practices work on removing excess carbon dioxide, cleansing the nadis (energy channels) and removing particles of dust stuck on the lining of the nostrils all the way to the lungs. 

Bellows Breathing

This practice infuses the body with fresh oxygen and purifies the blood. It invigorates the lungs and is effective in releasing lethargy, thus energizing the body.

Alternate nostril breathing

Known as Nadi Shodhana, this practice translates to purifying the nadis. A few minutes of this practice cleanses the system, purifies the energy channels and balances the body. It makes the mind and body calm and peaceful. 

Yoga asanas

Many yoga postures work towards stimulating and massaging the digestive organs, which helps with keeping the system balanced and gut clean. Yoga asanas also work on opening up the chest region and lungs and purifying the respiratory system. 

Camel pose

Known as Ustrasana, this posture stretches the stomach, intestines and pancreas. It helps release trapped toxins and gas, improving digestion. It also stimulates the endocrine system, keeping the body balanced. It opens up the chest and lungs, helping release carbon dioxide. 

Camel pose

Bridge pose

Setu Bandhasana opens up the lungs and improves the respiratory process. It stretches the neck, chest and spine. It also helps improve digestion and facilitates elimination of waste.

Bridge pose

Wind relieving pose

Known as Pawankamuktasana, this posture strengthens the back and abdominal muscles. It helps relieve trapped gas, massages the intestines and other abdominal organs. 

Wind relieving pose

Half lord of the fishes pose

Known as Ardha Matysendrasana, this posture massages the abdominal organs. It stretches and adds pressure on the intestines and other digestive organs which helps  balance the digestive system. It also opens up the chest. 

Half lord of the fishes pose

Other tips to detox the body

Apart from these practices, yoga and Ayurveda, the Science of Life, recommends the following. 

  1. Follow a Sattvic diet consisting of wholesome, fresh food. Consume more whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Beets, radishes, artichokes, cabbage, broccoli, spirulina, chlorella, and seaweed are excellent detoxifying foods. Consume green tea instead of tea or coffee.  
  2. Drink at least 2-3 litres of water everyday (around 10-12 glasses). 
  3. Try to become more mindful of how you are breathing. This way you are allowing more oxygen to circulate and removing more carbon dioxide. 
  4. Let go of stress by practicing meditation and Yoga Nidra. Stress affects how we breath and even our digestion and gut. 
  5. Get at least 7-8 hours of good, restful sleep everyday. Good sleep is required by your body’s internal organs to restore and rest for the next day. The better you sleep, the better the internal functioning of all organs and release of toxins. 

Join a live yoga class with a teacher to practice all of these yoga practices in a healthy, effective and injury-free manner. Certain practices take time to show results so don’t get dejected or give up. Make a routine out of your practice and regularly show up. You will, in time, start seeing wonderful changes from within. 

Yogic Ways to Detox Your Body
Shvasa Editorial Team

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