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.
In the interests of maintaining and building on the fantastic health benefits gained over the week, I have filmed and uploaded a detox yoga sequence for everyone to follow in their own time and in their own homes. This sequence is great as part of a detox regime, but can also be used on a regular basis to fire up your digestive system and assist the liver and kidneys in their natural detox functionality. Check out the video here!
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 stress of modern day life, the poor diet habits we have, and the toxic, polluted nature of our atmosphere and living environments are just some of the reasons why our bodies are labouring more than ever to complete their natural detoxification processes. So we really need to 'fuel the fire' and support the gut functionality. This endeavour is linked to taking care over your liver functionality - I will speak to liver health and detoxification specifically in the next post.
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.
As part of the Nafs: breathing solo art exhibition at the South African National Arts Festival, I filled a separate room entitled Interior room: interscendent with a series of paintings created with a flow of acrylic, guided by palate knife on paper. I began working with the idea of representing yoga asanas about six months ago, using charcoal and pen and concentrating on body forms. Over time, I have reworked, rethought and recreated the style. In conjunction with this, I have undergone an emotive and bodily healing process linked to my yoga, and fittingly the paintings have become more bold, free and abstract.