Springtime is when we plant the seeds in our gardens outdoors. To prepare for the year’s crops, we first clear out the soil beds to receive new seed. Likewise, we engage in “spring cleaning” of our homes and welcome warmer weather with a clean slate.
Physical cleansing to purify the body has gained much popularity for addressing a variety of issues, especially weight loss. Much focus is applied to the diet, though a successful cleanse is a purification of much more than the physical body, and must be done mindfully with care, as cleansing can be very taxing on the system.
Stagnation occurs not just in our minds and bodies, but also in our environments. A thorough cleaning of nooks and crannies, as well as weeding out your belongings can provide an invigorating sense of release and bring a sense of clarity and peace to the mind. Starting the processing in the beginning of your cleanse can also be motivational, setting the energetic stage in your space for your activity.
Detoxing is tough on the body, and cleansing can often be confused with deprivation. Balancing the elimination and cleansing process with plenty of sleep and nurturing activities is essential for a successful cleanse. Bodywork is not just relaxing – it also supports the body’s loosening and elimination of toxins. Spring cleanse is the best time to carve out time for extra self-pampering and emotionally healing activities, such as journaling, retreat and energy work. It’s important to plan for this before you start your cleansing process to ensure you don’t miss out.
Ayurveda recommends these rituals every day, though let’s face it – we don’t achieve perfection. Spring cleanse is the perfect time to get disciplined and ensure you check off your daily rituals off each day, as it will maximize your body’s ability to detox. Dinacharya begins at bedtime: getting enough sleep and sleeping at the right time (in bed by 10:30 p.m., awake by 6 a.m.) is the first order of business. In the morning, tongue scraping, warm water with lemon, self-massage with oil, or abhyanga, cold shower and exercise are recommended to start the day right.
For 2 weeks to 21 days, limit or completely eliminate animal protein (dairy, meat, eggs), sugar, caffeine and any additional food sensitivities, such as wheat and soy. Focus on plant-based foods with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables. A mono diet of khichadi for at least 3 days is incorporated in traditional Ayurvedic cleansing. A lighter plant-based diet is easier to digest and therefore removes the energetic burden of processing heavier foods, as well as providing a strong dose of nature’s medicinal scrubbing brushes – fibrous fruits and veggies and cleansing herbs to energize and support the body in sussing out the deeply-seated toxins, or Ama.