7 Reminders To Keep Your Yoga Practice Pure

Around this time of year, you seem to begin to hear more about "spring detoxes," "spring cleaning," and, "cleansing." Even non-yogis are hailing kale and dropping the "cleanse" buzzword. So what does it all mean? Where does the special focus come from and why this time of year?

Cleanliness, or purity, is an ongoing part of the yoga system. Patanjali calls our attention to it in sutra 11.40: "Purity protects one's body and brings nonphysical relationships with others." According to T.K.V. Desicachar, the word tapas in the yogic system means, "Something we do in order to keep us physically and mentally healthy; a process of inner cleansing. We remove things we do not need."

For those of us who had a cold winter, spring is when Mother Nature's sunny smile makes things defrost and blossom; the maple syrup runs, we shed boots, scarves, hats and sweaters. We reorganize our closets to find our lighter clothing. We often have runny noses, allergies are irritated with all the pollen in the air, and the body tries to decongest itself of excess mucous. 

Some students and friends have been telling me they're exhausted, their joints hurt, and they're feeling completely lazy. You don't have to call it "cleansing" or feel like a hot toxic mess, but you may want to change up a few things to keep that spring in your step and the purity in your yoga practice. Here are seven things to be mindful of as we transition from one season to the next.

1. Food 

Add more greens and fresh food to your menu (pizza is not your boyfriend, so just date it once a week).

2. Movement 

Twists and forward bends tone the liver; walking outside to get some fresh air, listening to the birds and watching the new budding flora tone the spirit.

3. Rest 

Go to sleep a little earlier in order to wake up rejuvenated.

4. Breathe 

Make friends with a Neti-pot. 

5. Write 

Journal to get all these lurking negative emotions OUT.

6. Clean 

Spruce up your closet and give what you don't need to charity.

7. Shhh 

The meditative state of silence and deep relaxation cleanses the mind!

Giving yourself a little extra support during any transition is a positive act. Just keep in mind that beyond all the recipes for detoxing is the system of yoga itself, which supports maintaining nourishing habits and self-reflection throughout the year. No matter how green you eat, if you're not in touch with yourself emotionally, you won't be able to rest and digest. 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Rana Waxman is a registered yoga therapist ERYT-500, with 20 years teaching. An extensive background in somatics has earned Rana the nickname “the muscle whisperer”. Well-known in her home city, Montreal, as being a pioneer of bilingual Yoga TV, Rana believes that Yoga is a system which is accessible to everyone, although not a one-size fits all practice. Rana is a regular contributor to MindBodyGreen, Lole Blog, and Elephant Journal, and is often called the “Modern Yogini”. Rana's inspired style blends dynamic, strengthening flow, kinetic skills, alignment and restorative yoga. Rana leads workshops internationally, and is a teacher trainer for the Leeann Carey Yoga School, founder of the Yapana® Yoga Therapy Method. Rana has just released YOGA MIND, filled with meditations and breathwork which perfectly accompany any and all levels and styles of practice. Rana currently resides and teaches in Jersey City, New Jersey. Follow Rana on Facebook and Twitter.