I’m a yoga teacher and I choose to “retox” instead of detox

Photo: Lauren Imparato

Lauren Imparato Lauren Imparato is the founder of New York City’s popular I.AM.YOU Yoga and is a renowned teacher who brings her no-bullsh!t, modern approach to yoga, food, and wellness to people all over the world. Her first book, RETOX: Yoga*Food*Attitude Healthy Solutions for Real Life, debuts February 2, 2016. Here, she shares an excerpt that explains what the “retox” philosophy is all about.

Detoxing and eliminating life’s pleasure for the sake of purity or subscribing to a nutritional orthodoxy is counterproductive. Deprivation only leads to overcompensation, and more often than not, stress and misery. It’s a setup for failure because we cannot, and should not, sustain a state of scarcity—and who would really want to? Following a step-by-step restrictive program that overpromises a “new you” is stressful and soul crushing; when we don’t reach our goals, we blame ourselves instead of the system. Transforming and restructuring your life completely is unrealistic. Unless we retreat to a cabin on some mountaintop, we won’t escape the new normal. And even then, general life stressors such as interactions with your loved ones, body image, and simple day-to-day subsistence chores will still haunt you. Such is twenty-first-century life. Escaping isn’t the answer. Retoxing is.

Purity is the dream. Pollution is the norm. Modern urban life is unavoidable for most of us. Mental and physical toxins have seeped into every aspect of our existence, stress has permanently permeated our culture, and I am just going to say it for all of us—sometimes we just want to sit back, have a drink, chill the F out, and not think about it all. I get it. But what if I were to tell you that I had a way for you to take it all on, and feel better than you may have ever imagined? The answer is Retox. Retox is about opening yourself up and throwing yourself in so you can be whole. Retox is about you and your life—the life you’re living now, the life you want to love.

Let’s be honest: No one, including me, really believes the world needs another yoga, diet, or self-help book. I promise you this is not that. What we do need is a framework that integrates them all into one streamlined solution, a solution that can be applied anytime, anywhere, to the life you really lead, to the day-to-day issues you actually face. One that distills the true value out of each wellness and self-betterment theory and instills them into your actual life with a straight-up dose of reality, so that we as individuals and society can efficiently and realistically improve, and rock it.

That’s Retox.

Lauren Imparato Retox yoga book Retox embraces the nitty-gritty details of the real, down-and-dirty, manic, and ecstatic journey that is life today. It allows you to live it without the aches, stresses, and ailments—both mental and physical—that can come with an active lifestyle, and provides you with a new sense of vitality as well. It adds accessible goodness, so you can easily overcome life’s most common challenges. Retoxing is like pouring yourself your favorite cocktail over and over.

Retox strips yoga down to its most scientific and anatomical features, offering practical tips for fast relief. It mixes in Tibetan yoga philosophy as a logic-based psychology to build mental strength and agility. It then adds in realistic, doable, and non-dogmatic nutritional tips that quite simply make you feel better. Retox is a 360-degree, multidimensional solution that is palpable and efficient. And it’s served up by someone that lives the life you do—me.

You should most definitely expect to find me dancing stiletto-clad on a table, sipping champagne, sometimes into the wee hours of the night. The next day, you will probably see me again at sunrise jetting across a city sidewalk, croissant and coffee in hand, ready to take on a jam-packed workday. I am an absolute lush—of life—as indulgent as I am disciplined.

What makes my ride feasible, both in my life now as an entrepreneur and in my first career path on Wall Street, are the simple practices that sustain my body, sanity, and overall wellness. I call them Retox cocktails because they combine potent ingredients from millennia-old traditions with today’s science, and they can be imbibed in the midst of your daily routine. They are one part yoga, one part nourishment, and one part mindset, stirred together with a dose of reality, each designed to address a specific life challenge. I deconstruct the causes of what you may be experiencing, and offer up a remedy, a holistic, 360-degree solution that won’t make you look weird, feel annoyed, or roll your eyes.

I personally get squeamish around barefoot yoga cliques, unwarranted hugs from random people I do not know, master starvation cleanses and elimination diets, rules for eating that go against two thousand years of humanity, repeated om shantis. And above all, the phrase “Let go.”

I like to keep it real, focusing on facts and science. Anatomy. Biology. Physiology. Ancient philosophy texts. Real life. And instead of drifting through a sea of rules that promise a better body and a magical life, I use simple tenets as a base to take charge, to Retox, within the life we have.

From RETOX: Yoga*Food*Attitude Healthy Solutions for Real Life by Lauren Imparato. Reprinted by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © Lauren Imparato, 2016.

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