The practice of yoga mudra is grounded upon an understanding of the five elements that comprise the universe: space (or ether), air, fire, water, and earth. It is said that each finger corresponds to an element: the thumb represents fire; the first finger represents air; the middle finger is space; and the ring finger is earth and the little finger represents water. As we are grains of sands in the great theatre of the universe we too are made up of these elements. When all five elements are working in harmony the body is balanced, optimally operational and healthy; when any one of the elements becomes too dominant, polluted or weakened, the body shifts out of balance and discomfort, illness and disease develops.
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It was the opening night of the year for Brookdale and the start of the Detox yoga retreat. As the yoga instructor for the week, I was fortunate enough to be staying on site. I had planned two classes daily, each on a different and focused theme to best achieve effective detoxification and rejuvenation. I was excited.
Most of us go through stages in our lives where we place unsustainable pressure on our liver detoxification capacity. This can be a time of revelry and over-indulgence, but it could also be a time of stress and tension. When we push ourselves beyond fatigue, work crazy hours, or get into situations where we are dealing with any number of life crises, our liver tends to be in the firing-line, our first, and most precious wall for coping and defence.
The more I have progressed along the path of my yoga journey, the more I have come to value rest as an essential component in my regular yoga practice. This value is constantly negotiated in relation to a range of other important factors.
Our bodies have a natural capacity to detox. We have the grand detox-mechanism built in. From the liver, kidneys and digestive organs, toxic waste is filtered and packaged so it can be eliminated through urine, sweat, exhalation and solid waste. When we exercise and sweat, this detoxification process is given a super-boost. So whats the problem? We ‘exercise’ - the ‘exercise’ industry is huge - why are we feeling so toxic?