How Detox Works with Mirror Theory™ to Process Past Experiences

I have been leading Detox Yoga Retreats for 15 years, and there is far more to detoxing than clearing your physical body and looking brighter and “better.” We are energy beings, and therefore our past experiences (and our attachment and association to them) affect how our bodies look and feel today. Yet, just like those pesky physical toxins, past unprocessed experiences learn to hide from our conscious mind while contributing to subconscious patterns that include altered opinions, perspectives and even what we attract in to our lives.

No-food detoxes can often set you up for more complications.

One of the biggest reasons that I do not recommend complete no-food detoxes (I always blend some whole fruits or vegetables into at each juice offering) is that they can often 1) shock a system abruptly to function in an opposing manner to natural health. If your body thinks that it is “starving,” it will hold onto it’s reserves more intensely, countering your probable intention of moving your metabolism faster. The detox process should be an act of self-care, not one that’s rife with feelings of deprivation and struggle. 2) There are often hidden, intense emotions waiting to be released and processed in a conscious and healthy way. Essentially, this means getting a deeper understanding of our feelings, why we are feeling that way, and what to do with these feelings to move on in a more present, wiser state of being.

Another key point to note is that not only are we energetic beings, we are all connected energetically. Therefore, we all have an effect on the collective whole. When we begin taking control over our own states, we begin to empower ourselves. If we use this consciousness with a positive alignment with the greater Truth Consciousness (Nature), we begin the “detox” process of not only ourselves, but those we are energetically connected to (which is everyone). We may work through life times of cleansing and processing, and a lesser seen benefit is that we are detoxing the world around us. We become the change.

I am doing a series of seven Detox Yoga Retreats until March, 2015. Personally, I am elated at the opportunity that has unfolded for me. Not only am I detoxing with my groups, I am adding the powerful element of service to my work, and besides bringing me great joy – it magnifies the detox experience in a more positive way.

When I first started these Retreats 15 years ago, I called them Goddess Retreats. They were women-only, spiritually charged yoga and juice cleansing weekends filled with pure magic. The second or third group that I had coined the term “Goddess Gazette” after our post-cleanse trail of “synchronicities” that we would share with each other, which were basically the natural magic that unfolded after a weekend of clearing and “centering.”

In my book, As I Am, I discuss Mirror Theory™, which is a literal mirror awareness interpretation of one’s perceiving reality. My favorite quote by Henry David Thoreau defines this best: “It’s not what you look at that matters, it is what you see.” As we start to increase our awareness of what we are projecting and assessing, we begin to understand our psychological blueprint with greater detail. It is when we are fully aware of our programming that we can begin to make desired changes.

Last month (September) was my first of seven Retreats in this series. When I left the retreat, my focus was drawn intensely to a news event – the Hannah Graham disappearance in Charlottesville, VA. I was deeply devastated and followed the news throughout the day. Mirror Theory™ had initiated, but it wasn’t until a couple days after that I started to unify the “detox effect” with my interest in this missing persons case.

When I was in college – my sophomore year – I found my roommate raped and horrifically beaten near death. I was unable to process that experience even while it was happening. I had called the paramedics, thinking that my “roommate had choked on her vomit,” but it wasn’t until I was walking behind the arriving paramedics that the picture became more clear. The paramedics literally stepped back when entering my roommate’s bedroom. One of them said, “Jesus, look at all of this blood.” At that very moment, the room that I had spent the last 30 minutes in, colored red. I had not seen the blood before, probably because I was unable to process it, and properly function to get help. I often think of that moment, and wonder what other people see – because we aren’t all perceiving the same things in the same way.

Without going in to major details, I spun into a fury of anxiety at that time in my life. My nickname in college became “Holmes,” because I was determined to figure out who had done this to my roommate. I couldn’t sleep, because every time I closed my eyes, I saw him waiting for me when I climbed through the bathroom window that night, since my roommate wasn’t answering the door to let me in. Or I felt him looking over me when I woke up abruptly to hear the front door shut shortly afterwards – when none of my other roommates came home that night. The anxiety protected me from these difficult to process emotions, but they were running a program in my life for the last 20 years that I was not conscious of, until last month.

I saw the suspect in the Hannah Graham case, Jesse Matthew. He looked similar to the perpetrator who was eventually convicted in my roommate’s case. For a week after the September Detox Yoga Retreat, I was flooded with memories of what happened the night I found my roommate. Instead of letting these memories ignite fear, anxiety (as they had in the past), or seek to find a similar experience to solve (hoping to eradicate the source experience with a surrogate one), I researched transcripts from the trial, and basically gave myself permission to consciously understand what had happened so long ago, realize how it was affecting my life today, and choose how to process and apply the experience.

How Emotions Work

There have been debates in many disciplines for centuries about how emotions work. Some new work has attempted to synthesize all of these understandings (Gross & Thompson, 2007), and basically it goes like this:

1) We have contact with a stimulus (an event, object, situation, sensation, or thought).

2) We pay attention to this stimulus.

3) We have an interpretation of the stimulus.

4) We have an emotional/physiological reaction to the stimulus.

If #2 is missed, the experience will lodge in our somatic body, waiting for a time for us to deal with it, and we risk a great chance of spinning an unprocessed program on our hard-drive until that occurs. I trust that you can imagine how this could slow down the operating system as a whole, as well as efficient and reality-based functioning. When we are in a “fight or flight” mode, we are not taking time to process deeper emotions. By taking a weekend to detox, you inevitably initiate a greater self-awareness process, as well as aligning with a greater power of Truth. I have seen phenomenal, unexpected occurrences happen after a weekend detox, and 100% of the time, participants have stated that it was “perfectly what I did not know that I needed.”

I have made peace as best that I can with what happened during my sophomore year at college, in hopes to be a more present, powerful person using all of my experiences to increase awareness of a greater good. There is certainly plenty of ignorance in our world, but allowing ourselves to be negatively affected by it only increases it’s power. I am deeply saddened for all victims of assault and violence, and I pray for a more positive and conscious world. My clothing brand, AZIAM, manufactures ‘Wife Lover’ Tanks, and I take great pride in the fact that every purchase of a Wife Lover benefits a victim of a wife beater, as  20% of each sale is donated to The Joyful Heart Foundation, an organization committed to aiding victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.

I am looking forward to see what unfolds during the next Retreats – I will keep you posted!

Benefits of Detoxing with a Juice Cleanse

Even if you may eat incredibly healthy, exercise regularly and take great care of your body, we all still live in an era where our water supply is not pure, our soils are depleted of minerals, packaged foods contain preservatives and chemical agents that are unnatural, our air is highly polluted, etc.

We also understand that you’ve got a busy lifestyle, and sometimes you get caught up in the fast pace of it all. AZIAM’s Detox Yoga Retreat weekends are meant to help you take a little time for yourself; to sit down and think about what you eat, the environment you work in, the air that you breathe, and even the relationships that you are in. It can be a little overwhelming to confront how much toxicity is in our lives.

It’s easier, in a way, to look at fast-food junkies and think they’re the only ones who could benefit from juice cleansing, but consider this: for most people, it takes almost 18 hours for your body to digest and eliminate one meal. So add up three meals a day plus snacks, and the effect that stress has on your ability to digest… your digestive system is working nearly nonstop! All bodies – no matter what their intake – can reap the benefits of juicing to help assist in the heavy load of work the digestive system in undertaking 24-hours a day. Juice cleansing is also a great way to give our bodies the break they deserve while re-focusing our energies where they are best serving you.

AZIAM’s Detox Yoga program gives you a delicious, nutritious, and organic selection of drinks, loaded with Superfoods to help take the guess work out of juicing, giving you simple and clean ingredients so that you can stay focused on your process, progress and healing. Every juice we make is 100% natural, with no added sugars or water. We believe that not having to think about what to eat is another great benefit of juice cleansing. In place of all that mind consumption, you can shift your energy back towards yourself while detoxifying your mind, body and spirit. There are no limits to what you can achieve in your life, and it is to your great benefit to use the vehicle of a healthy, nurtured body that functions at its optimal level. Think of your cleanse as you taking your vehicle in for a yearly tune-up, and when it’s done, you can expect to feel clearer, more optimistic and rejuvenated on the inside, while radiating a truer essence of you on the outside.

The Water

The healing, mineral water in Desert Hot Springs sources from one of the greatest natural geothermal mineral springs regions in the world. The entire town’s plumbing system is connected to these mineral wells, and our hotel sits right on top of the main well. Your showers are pouring out the mineral water, and the faucet water is better than a $5 bottle of mineral water at the health food store. You will notice that your hair will feel softer and fuller, your skin more plump and clear, and your body will feel more hydrated inside as well.

Preparing For Your Cleanse (optional suggestion – 1 week prior)

  • Make 1 quart of lemon water to drink throughout the day
  • Start your day with an 8 oz glass of lemon water
  • Eat only fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and whole grains like millet, quinoa, or brown rice (try to avoid wheat)
  • Drink only non-caffeinated herbal teas and water
  • Limit spices
  • Olive/Flaxseed/Coconut oil is ok
  • No products with food additives, artificial sweeteners, white flour, added sugar, processed foods, junk foods, dairy, chicken, fish, meat, and/or soy products
  • Start and/or end your day with a 30 minute brisk walk followed by some hatha yoga, if possible
  • Drink a cup of “Smooth Move” tea before going to bed

 Possible Side Effects

As your body releases stored toxins, you may experience side effects such as headaches, mood swings, changes in bowel movements, skin inflammation, irritability, dark urine, and/or a metallic taste in your mouth. These should go away a few days into the detox or soon after you finish. If you feel overly fatigued during your cleanse, you can drink a gentle laxative tea first thing in the morning, as well as before going to bed. This will help move the toxins through your body more quickly.

Broccoli Soup!

Brocolli Soup

The Broccoli Puree Soup is one of my favorite recipes from my 21-day mind-body detox program, The Dharma Zone featured in my book, As I Am. The Dharma Zone program is designed to increase your awareness of who you are (and how to stay true to you), while living in a world telling you who you should be. You can join the group event here.


• ½ large onion, chopped

• 1 large garlic clove, chopped

• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

• 1 pinch black pepper

• 1 pinch dried thyme

• ½ bunch of broccoli (cleaned, stems removed and broken into smaller florets)

• ½ head of cauliflower, cleaned and cut into large pieces

• 2 cups vegetable broth

• 1 avocado

Heat a large soup pot with a splash of olive oil, onion, garlic and spices over medium high heat. When it starts to sizzle reduce heat to medium and cook about 5 minutes until lightly brown, softened and fragrant, stirring occasionally.

Add the cauliflower and broccoli and cook a few minutes with the onions. Add the hot broth to the soup pot, increase the heat back to medium high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat back to medium, partially cover and simmer for about 30 minutes until the vegetables are very soft and you can mash them with a fork.

Remove soup from the stovetop and let it cool a bit. Purée the contents with a blender or food processor until smooth. Add more broth depending upon how thick you want your soup. Garnish with the avocado on top.