If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve been hungover… It sucks, I know, we’ve all been there and the older we get, the more it hurts. Let’s be honest, part of living a modern lifestyle involves being healthy and active while the other half includes being social and drinking. We all work hard  and sometimes we need to blow off some steam. I’m not here to tell you to drink less, you’re a grown up, do what you want. I am here however to share my “extensive” field research in bars (yes, yoga teachers get just as drunk as the rest of us) and help you get over that Saturday morning hangover so you can get out there and take on your weekend like a champ. So here it is, The Big Yogi’s time-tested way to “Detox to Retox.”

Young red hair woman on bed waking up with hangover and headache

Let’s first start by identifying what a hangover is: Headaches, feeling sick, dizzy, sleepy, confused and/or dehyrdated. Also sometimes accompanied by anxiety, regret, shame and depression (depending on if you went home alone last night or if you’re reading this on your walk of shame). When you drink to much, you become dehydrated with an increased blood-alcohol level and your brain lacks oxygen. You need to get yourself hyper-hyrdated and get your blood moving so your body cleans itself out faster. Being hungover is comparable to a dirty, stagnant pond. We need to get you to back to a clean, flowing river.

  1. Preventative Maintenance: During your nightly binge, stay away from the cheap stuff and try not to mix up your drinks- stick to one thing and stay away from the sugary stuff. This means beer, alcohol on the rocks or vodka/waters for example- NOTHING makes a hangover worse than sugar. Remember, a big cause of hangovers is dehydration, so drink one glass of water between each drink while you’re out. Finally, when you get home- drink one last glass of water, go to the rest room and take an Advil (were not concerned with health right now, we’re concerned with preventing your hangover- so go for the 500mg ones)
  2. Get fluids into your system ASAP:  Wake up and immediately begin to hydrate yourself with water (maybe even grab another Advil or two). Then say to yourself: “juice!!!” Carrot, beet and cucumber is a detox cocktail and a life saver.  Your body needs some love, so provide it with some essential vitamins and minerals to get yourself back into balance. This juice godsend cleans your liver and hydrates your skin. We’re focusing on getting these toxins out so there’s room for more alcohol later and so you don’t feel like crap now. Don’t skimp on the cheap ones in a bottle either, you’re a mess and you need the good stuff. Get to the closest juicer in town and go for a large.
  3. Get moving: This is gonna hurt more before it gets better. When you don’t move, you’re blood doesn’t move. When your blood doesn’t move, you stay hungover. Nothing is going to hurt more than your first downward dog in yoga class or first mile on the treadmill, but nothing is going to get you back on track faster either. During exercise you want to sweat, a lot. Sweating removes toxins and clears your system out, add in some twists now your literally ringing out your liver and kidneys. These two organs are responsible for cleaning you out- the more you take care of them, the more they take care of you. The secret to hangover recovery is actually in the breath, as deep breathing fills your body with fresh oxygen, the stuff your blood is mostly made from. When you’re hungover, your brain lacks oxygen because that’s where alcohol is processed. Deep breathing through exercise oxygenates your blood, removes toxins, rebalances your system and is the quickest way to get rid of a headache. So go to class, sweat it out and ask the teacher to crank it up so you can get yourself back to normal.

Two Yoga Moves for Hangover Relief:

  1. Breath of Fire:  This practice hyper-oxygenates your blood. Sit crossed-legged and begin to breathe very quickly through the tip of your nose for thirty pulses. Take a deep-breath and repeat two more times.
  2. Headstand at the wall: Get all of your blood moving to your head. Your brain needs oxygen and fresh-blood, headstands deliver both and clear your brain of toxins, fast. If you’re too drunk still to get into a headstand, hold a prolonged child’s pose. It won’t work as well, but something is always better than nothing.

 Bonus tip: D.A.D.S “The Day After Drinking Sh*ts.”: If you haven’t gotten one out yet, you’re not fully recovered from your night’s binge. If the juice, exercise and yoga poses didn’t do the job (drink less next time) go eat some fibrous fruits like an apple or berries (do not eat bananas as they clog you up) if none of this works there’s still hope, your old friend Mr. Coffee. I know, coffee dehydrates you and were trying to get hydrated, but you’re desperate and need to get clean from the inside out. I’d suggest going for the most bang for your buck, Pete’s Coffee. Again, get the large to get things moving- some heavy drinkers even claim your not fully recovered from your hangover until your second D.A.D.S. Hey, better outside than inside, right?

That’s it.  Takes some preventative steps during your binge, hyper-hydrate by drinking water and juice, get your ass to the gym, do some deep breathing and maybe stand on your head. Finally, drink a large Pete’s coffee to get things moving if all else fails. If all that doesn’t work, there’s probably a brunch spot somewhere that serves a great Bloody Mary to ease the pain.

Let me know your results below and feel free to add some of your own tip! And always remember to detox before your retox.