Too much toxicity in the body causes weight gain. Meditation optimizes the body's ability to eliminate toxins for three reasons:
- meditation engages the parasympathetic nervous system which signals the body to rest, repair and filter away metabolic waste
- during meditation we learn to amplify the quality of each breath so with each inhale we transport MORE fresh oxygen to every cell in our body and exhale MORE toxicity
- and, meditation engages the lymphatic system
The lymphatic system is a network of organs and tissues that travel throughout the entire body and routinely bath our cells in order to extract toxins from our tissues. Toxins are carried away through pathways of the lymphatic system in "lymph", a clear liquid composed of white blood cells and water. The cellular sewage is then excreted through the blood stream via the kidneys or liver, and the cycle continues.
When our lymphatic system is firing on all cylinders, we feel fresh and clear in our body, our cells remain nourished and our metabolism functions at top-speed. When our lymph is bogged down from drugs, alcohol, preservatives, pesticides and environmental toxins, cellular waste gets backed up, our tissues bloat, our body accumulates cellulite, our cells begin to starve for nutrients, we crave more food, our metabolic rate is compromised and our energy levels plummet. In other words, we gain weight and don't feel so hot.
What does meditation have to do with the lymphatic system, you ask? The lymphatic system relies on the pumping action of deep breathing to help transport lymphatic fluid just as blood is pumped through our body by the regular beat of the heart. Shallow, spastic breathing causes the transportation of lymph, and thus the detoxification process, to slow down. But, focusing on deep belly breathing for prolonged durations of time, a.k.a. meditation, promotes lymphatic vitality.
Anne Louise Gittleman, author of The Fat Flush Plan, estimates that "over 80% of overweight women are affected by poor lymph flow," and that the key to easy weight loss and cellulite reduction is getting sluggish lymphatic systems flowing smoothly again. My recommendation for meditation to enhance detoxification is samavrtti pranayama, also known as uniform yogic breathing, also known as square breathing.
To begin, sit or lie in a comfortable position. If you are sitting make sure you have a cushion or block under your sit bones and two points of further contact with the floor (shins and/or knees like the image above). Relax your shoulders and allow your shoulder blades to slide down your back. An open chest allows for deeper breathing. Inhale so that your belly rises for 4 counts, retain your breath for 4 counts, exhale thoroughly for 4 counts and hold your breath for 4 counts. Imagine each stage as one side of a square with the goal being to achieve uniformity in length of time.
Focus on the image of the square and your counts of 4. As thoughts come and you get distracted, forgive yourself, release the thoughts and bring your attention back to breathing deeply into your belly and completing the square. As you continue to breath this way your initial inhale will become deeper. At this point you can inhale for 5 counts, retain for 5 counts, exhale for 5 counts and hold for 5 counts. Allow the progression in time to be natural; try not to exceed 10 counts.
A reasonable time allotment when first learning samavrtti pranayama is 10 minutes. As you get more comfortable and gain experience you will find it becomes easier to meditate for longer bouts. If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments below or in the form under the contact tab. Happy meditating/detoxing :)
In the name of the highest good,
Don't forget to check back for blog 4 of 10 in my Meditation for Weight Loss series!
Click here to read "Meditation regulates cortisol levels" or "Meditation raises your vibration."