I started practising and teaching Yoga before I started juice fasting and detoxing, and Yoga still remains my great love. But when I did enter the world of detoxing it made so much sense, I felt so good and it seemed to me to be conducive to the Yoga path.
This is why.
As you may well know, Raja Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga has eight limbs or steps, the first two of which are the Yamas (injunctions / limitations) and Niyamas (observances). Now, there are five Yamas and five Niyamas and Yogis endeavor to follow these ten suggestions on living - for, in essence, that is what they are, in order to have a simpler and happier life.
The first of the five Yamas is 'ahimsa', which can be said to be 'non-injury'. When we eat the wrong foods or too much food or drink too much alcohol or coffee etc., we are causing injury to our bodies, to our minds (such as overly stimulating foods / drink) and to our spirit (food / drink can cause our spirits to feel dull and lifeless). On the other hand, if we choose to nourish the body, mind and spirit with fresh, healthy and organic food (of which juices are an excellent example), we are showing love and respect to ourselves (we are also supporting and valuing organic farmers, nature, planet Earth and, ultimately, God.
The first of the five Niyamas is 'saucha', which means cleanliness, and which refers to cleanliness on all levels, including cleanliness of our bodies and minds - inside and outside of ourselves. Juicing is a great way to cleanse the body, especially in terms of a juice fast, where, for a limited time (one day to three weeks), you eat no solids but drink only juices and water and perhaps supplement this with some cleansing herbs. This allows the body to purge itself of toxins and accumulated waste.
A juice fast as such, can also be considered a 'tapas' - another one of the five Niyamas. Tapas means taking part in an activity which may be difficult or unenjoyable for a short time, but the rewards of that activity make it all worth while. Living for a short while only on juices is not easy, but the health benefits far out weigh any hardship. You feel amazing afterwards - so alive, energetic, clear in the mind and positive.
Living only on juices for a while raises the vibration of the body, mind and spirit which means that any dullness, laziness or inertia which you may have had before is likely to diminish or disappear. When your vibration is high, the mind becomes more clear and focused, and it's an opportune time for self-study or the study of some scriptures or inspirational texts. This self study or the study of scriptures is called 'svadhyaya' in Yoga and is another Niyama.
By combining a juice fast / healthy eating with the practice of asana (yoga postures), pranayama (breathing exercises), pratyahara (withdrawing of the senses, such as removing yourself from all busy-ness and retreating in nature), dharana (concentration exercises and living mindfully) and dhyana (meditation), we pave the road to the experience of clarity and enlightenment (samadhi). These are the eight steps of Raja Yoga, and the lifestyle advised to serious students of Yoga... or anyone wanting a life of simplicity, balance, depth and meaning.
Globe-trotting nomad, yogini, holistic therapist, cat lover who, after 20 years of traveling the world, has finally laid down roots in the magical mountains of Monchique - Portugal's 'upper Algarve'.