Ayurveda describes disease as the final expression of toxic accumulation in the mind-body physiology. Every impulse of life can be considered in terms of whether it brings nourishment or toxicity to body, mind, and spirit. A nourishing experience brings you health and happiness. A toxic experience brings misery and contributes to poor health.


We need to purify both emotional and physical toxins on a regular basis in order to experience true health and emotional freedom. Addressing emotional toxicity is the first step to total rejuvenation, for if we allow toxic emotions to accumulate, the emotional toxicity ultimately leads to physical toxicity as well. Whenever you carry resentment, hostility, regret, or grievances in your heart, your health and vitality are eroded.

At the Chopra Center’s Perfect Health program, participants are guided in a five-day healing process to release both physical and emotional toxins, including Panchakarma (a timeless Ayurvedic cleansing process), therapeutic massages, Primordial Sound Meditation and optimal nutrition. Guests also learn a powerful seven-step process for processing and releasing toxic emotions.  This is a technique you can use when you find yourself in emotional turmoil – as well as when you’re feeling depressed, “flat,” or empty.

Here are the steps:


  1. Identify the emotion. When you find yourself in a state of emotional turmoil, find a quiet place and ask yourself, “What am I feeling?” The answer may be anger, sadness, fear, and so on. Define and describe what you’re feeling as clearly as possible.
  1. Witness the feeling in your body. Notice where you feel the emotion in your body. Observe the feeling and allow your attention to stay on the sensation. Breathe into the feeling. Fully experiencing the physical sensations allows the emotional charge to dissipate. 
  1. Take responsibility for what you are feeling. Understanding that you have a choice in how you respond to and interpret your experience is the key to healing the emotional body.
  1. Express the emotion to yourself. You can write about your feelings or speak them out loud in private. Describe the situation and the effect it is having on your heart and soul. This will help you gain clarity and insight as well as release the emotional toxicity.
  1. Release the emotion through a physical ritual. Experiment to find what works best for you. You can dance with abandon, do some deep breathing, get a massage, or go on a long run. Allow your body to release the tension that is stored with the emotion.
  1. Share the emotion. Once you’ve released and calmed down, share what you felt and experienced with the person involved in the situation. If you have processed steps 1 through 5, you should be able to share without blame and without trying to manipulate the other person for approval or pity.
  1. Celebrate! Now it’s time to reward yourself for identifying and releasing the painful emotion. Do something special for yourself . . . listen to your favorite music, buy yourself a present, or enjoy a delicious meal.



Deepak Chopra, M.D. is a best-selling author and the co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing located in Carlsbad, California. The Chopra Center offers a wide variety of programs in stress management, mind-body medicine, emotional healing, and personal development. For more information, visit chopra.com

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