A Balancing Act: Keep Alkaline, Keep Healthy
As yogis, we are aware of the importance of maintaining balance for wellbeing. And that includes the balance of acidity and alkalinity in our body tissues, which is influenced by our diets, mind states and environments.
An acidic body has been recognised as one of the major causes of diseases such as early aging, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and many others.
If its fluids turn too acidic, the body has alkaline reserves to neutralise them, but excess of acidity can deplete these reserves and weaken the immune system.
We can consciously build up our alkaline reserves through our food choices, yoga practices, and environmental habits.
Most organic fruits and veggies have an alkalinizing effect on the body and counteract acidity. The same can be said of delicious superfoods like wheat, alfalfa, barley, oat or kamut grass, or algae like spirulina, chlorella or kelp.
At the other end of the spectrum, processed foods, meats, refined sugar, alcohol, coffee, or dairy products are highly acidifying. To help the alkalinising effects of a healthy diet, there is an Ayurvedic remedy said to eliminate toxins and excess acidity.
Oil pulling has been used for centuries to clean gums, teeth, tongue and other parts of the mouth. It is simple and it works best first thing in the morning after waking up.
To do it, take a spoonful of organic cold-pressed sesame oil and swish it around in your mouth for a few minutes. Then spit it out, clean your tongue with a tongue scrapper and finally rinse it with salty water.
Alkaline Mind States
According to Ayurveda, negative mindsets can manifest in the body creating imbalances, one of them being acidosis.
Pranayama techniques can help balance body chemistry, in turn transforming negative mindsets. When the breath slows down during Pranayama, the parasympathetic nervous system is engaged and this leads to a calmer state of mind.
Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodhah is sutra 1.2 in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. It is translated as “yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind”.
Fostering focus and concentration through yoga, we are also cultivating a steady mind and helping the acid-alkaline balancing act in our bodies.
Household cleaning products and cosmetics often contain a chemical load that is very toxic to the body and contribute to acidosis.
Many deodorants, for example, suppress sweating (a bodily function that helps to eliminate toxins) and push toxins back into the lymph nodes, thereby weakening the immune system.
When we choose to purchase chemical-free products, we contribute to our own health and to that of the planet.
But perhaps the best alkaline environment is nature itself!