Yoga Detox your bodies (all 5 of them)!

Posted by Sinead Duffy on

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In yoga we see the body as composed of 5 layers from the physical to the subtle.  The five bodies are called the Koshas and they give us a beautiful understanding that can deepen our yoga practice, our intuitive self-care and our daily wellness. The layers can be thought of as the layers of an onion or the petals of a rose.

Gandha and the Koshas  Gandha is the mindful application of fragrant herbs to the body. A mini-daily yoga ritual – as yogis have done for 5000 years. Gandha is so effective because it works on every on of these layers - eg Myrrh - great for fungal infections and connecting you to your internal divinity - it doesn't get more mult-leveled! 

Of the five layers - Annamaya Kosha is the most physical.  This is how we experience ourselves as body and mass. For many people Detox begins and end with this level and yes, it’s important to cleanse on this level – but bear in mind that it’s only the first of five.

There is much information online on detoxing. But there’s even more wisdom INSIDE YOU. That's where Gandha comes in. Gandha opens up the intuitive, primal brain. And that’s vital in the sustainable and consistent detoxing we need to counter the environmental/food/skincare pollutants that our bodies deal with daily.

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If we don’t open this intuition, connecting with our quiet knowing of what our bodies need and don’t need, then endless recipes on celery smoothies won’t cut it. So even on this first and most basic of levels – a deep internal shift is needed – to allow that quiet knowing emerge.

The second level is the Pranamaya kosha. Prana is energy or Chi. If you have done any breath-work in yoga, you’ve done some work detoxing on this level. It’s a vital link between the physical and subtle layers.  The Manomaya kosha is the body that’s made up of our thought processes. It’s said that 80% of what’s stopping you from achieving everything you want to achieve is internal. And that’s hanging out in this kosha, so detoxing on this level is vital to live a happy life. Mantra and affirmations are yogic tools that help to purify this kosha. I apply Detox in the shower every morning and say my affirmation for the day. It’s a simple but powerful ritual.

The fourth layer is the Vijnamaya kosha. Here we are getting into the more subtle layers. The sense organs have been classed as being part of the vijnamaya kosha, and Gandha works strongly on this layer. Detoxing at this level calls us to take a look at the values we work from – and lose those we don’t want anymore! Here our yogic moral precepts – the Yamas and Niyamas come in. This is the layer of the quiet knowing. Its cleansing and development is vital for a fully conscious life.


The final layer is the Anandamaya kosha. This is the bliss state. This level isn’t detoxed as such – rather we clear our way TO this state – through service to others, through bhakti yoga, though meditation.  So there’s more to a proper yoga detox that green juices! And opening up to intuitive self-care will not only get your body working optimally, but will serve you in ways you can’t imagine till you start.

As Gandha works on every level, I can’t recommend more highly introducing it into your daily self-care. Many herbs with have some detoxing and re-balancing properties – but the key herbs that have these actions as their primary function are all found in Detox. Its such an easy way to bring a daily detox into your day and will help connect you with your own intuition. Underpin it with a good affirmation and you’ll set yourself up for a great day!

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I was lucky enough to spend four months in an ashram in Java in my early 20s. It was an incredible place and I feel so blessed to have stumbled into it and learn a deep meditation practice so early in life. When I came home, I found that I craved only what was good for my body. It was amazing! Now it wasn’t that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy a good pint of Guinness – but I had a clear predisposition to what actually good for me, which was such an ally.

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 This was purely the product of meditation, so take it from me – it’s possible to only crave healthy things if you take the time to turn the volume up on this inner voice.

So by all means, pull out the Vitamix or Nutri-bullit, but the best detox tool you have is your inner voice.

Over and om for now,