Join us for week 3 of our cleansing series with the inspiring folks of S-Life Mag, Sakara Life’s official online magazine!
We’re big believers in the idea that what you put into life is what you get out of it. Of course, that starts with food, but it goes even deeper and encompasses your entire life. And we know you have better things to do than obsess about what you’re going to eat, what you’re eating or what you ate all day. It’s a new year, after all — you’ve got big dreams to manifest, and that takes time, energy and heart.
There’s a really cool thing that happens when you change the way you eat and start focusing on clean, healing meals: food becomes the catalyst for change in other areas of your life. Basically, once you start eating cleaner, you’ll want to start living cleaner too. But where to start? Well, how about right here? We’ve rounded up five of our favorite detoxifying rituals that don’t involve food, to supplement your clean diet in 2016.
1. Send smoke signals: Global cultures have been burning herbs and resins to purify their surroundings for a long time. The fragrant burning of a bundle of dried sage is linked to Native American cultures, while indigenous Amazonian tribes are known for burning sticks of palo santo, or holy wood. In addition to spreading a warm, heady aroma, sageing or smudging your space is said to absorb and remove negative energy while promoting a sense of calm. You can smudge your home as often as weekly, or whenever the spirit moves you (we love doing it after vacuuming and cleaning the bathroom — after all, this is a cleansing ritual, right?). If you’ve just moved into a new house or apartment, or are looking for any type of fresh start, smudging with sage or palo santo should be at the top of your to-do list, since it will get rid of any lingering bad vibes that may be hanging around.
How-to: Before you begin this ritual, it’s essential to set an intention. (Thoughts to things, remember?) Focus on the kind of energy you wish to attract and the type of spirit you want your home to have. Once you’ve established a clear intention in your mind, light your sage bundle or palo santo, blow out the flame and let it smolder. Spread the smoke throughout your space, focusing especially on gateway areas (i.e. doors and windows) and corners. High-traffic zones, like the kitchen, or places where you use your mind frequently, like your desk, deserve extra-special attention.
2. Brush up: If eating the right foods can help you cleanse from the inside out, dry brushing will help you cleanse from the outside in. In addition to being your largest organ, your skin is responsible for a hefty portion of your body’s daily detoxification. A vigorous scrub with a natural-bristle brush before your morning shower comes with a plethora of cleansing benefits. First of all, as you probably know, dead skin clogs pores. Sloughing off those spent skin cells will keep your pores clear, resulting in smoother, brighter, more even-looking skin. It will also clear the way for your body’s natural oils to rise to the surface and provide natural moisture and beautifying balance. But let’s go a little further than skin-deep. Lymph is white-blood-cell-rich fluid that collects in your tissues. The lymphatic system is primarily concerned with helping the body eliminate toxins and fight infection. Unlike blood, which has the pumping of the heart to keep it moving, lymph has no such engine to help it circulate. Dry brushing can serve that purpose, by stimulating lymph circulation and generally keeping things flowing, thereby facilitating the detoxification process. Finally, some dry brushing proponents say it can banish bloating and even reduce cellulite.
How-to: Lymph only moves in one direction — upwards towards the heart — and so should you when dry brushing. Start at your feet and move up, in long, thoughtful strokes over your legs, midsection, arms, chest and neck.
3. Sweat it out: Speaking of the skin and its cleansing abilities, sweating is one such way your birthday suit sets toxins free. Exercise is the obvious choice (and we also love it for how it clears the mind — more on that in a second), and whether you choose a heart-pumping SoulCycle class or a steamy Bikram session, you’ll reap the benefits. But you can also get your sweat on by spending some time in the sauna. Shameless humblebrag alert: our new HigherDose infrared sauna at Sakara HQ is a bonafide life-changer.
How-to: Try to get your sweat on at least four times a week (or as often as you like!). Yes, a solo dance-off in front of your mirror, in the privacy of your own bedroom, totally counts.
4. Take a detox soak: We’re big fans of lighting a candle, filling the tub with fragrant suds and oils and sinking into a hot bubble bath as a foolproof method of doing away with the dreaded Sunday scaries (glass of Cabernet optional). But did you know that this beloved spa-quality ritual can also be a great detox practice —and one you’ll look forward to, no less? Just add Epsom salts — not only will the magnesium help relieve sore, tight muscles, but the sulfates will support your liver, the body’s superstar detoxifier.
How-to: All you need is a few handfuls of old-school Epsom salts and you’ve got a mineral-rich soak that will help you cleanse by sweating out toxins and drinking in minerals through your skin. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil for an extra dose of soothing effects. Bonus points if you bathe post-dry brushing!
5. Clear your mind: Get ready, because Dr. Robin Berzin of Parsley Health has some more knowledge to drop on us. “The information you give your body via the foods you eat is only part of the message,” she says. “The mind is intricately connected to the body. What we think and feel can’t be separated from our physical state. Thoughts trigger emotions which trigger biochemical reactions, including those that speed up or slow down digestion.” Sound familiar? Once again, thoughts to things! This is why the thoughts you have while you eat are so important, and why you should love your food. If you do, it will love you back! And if you haven’t noticed, we’re all about the love over here.
How-to: Dr. Berzin helpfully adds that lowering your exposure to toxic thoughts and relationships is a key piece of any detox program…so take that as your cue to finally delete your ex’s number from your phone. Doctor’s orders.
Dr Robin Berzin: Instagram
Parsley Health: Instagram
Photography by Lianna Tarantin