September 22 is fall equinox this year – when the nights become longer than the days in the Northern Hemisphere. Whether you love or despise this darkening and cooling weather, fall equinox is an excellent time to turn our energy and thoughts inward and contemplate our shadow side. Sometimes it’s the shadow that allows us to better see the light.
My favorite fall ritual is a seasonal cleanse to prepare my mind and body for the dark days that are approaching. Sometimes, the protocol can feel overwhelming. But this year I have taken a step back to look at what the cleanse really entails: Simple food. Less activity. Fewer distractions. Breathing. Moving mindfully. As long as most of these pieces are put into play, regardless of how you work them, your cleanse will be a success. In this busy world, our mindbodies crave these simple, basic things.
The Ayurvedic cleansing tradition is a journey of self-reflection and self-realization, as well as an opportunity to understand the true nature of everything around us. While we are able to access these experiences on a daily basis by putting our energy into our meditation, yoga or prayer practices, so often we don’t. Intentions are good but busy schedules prevail. The cleanse is a delicious opportunity to set aside two weeks to focus on these practices we want to do but don’t always find time for.
The cleanse works on the physical level by removing excess heat in the body from summer and by removing toxins that have built up in the GI tract. It clears the liver to allow intake of heavier winter foods. However, the cleanse also works on the mental, emotional and spiritual levels by clearing the cobwebs of the mind, calming the central nervous system and allowing the space to connect more deeply with nature and our surroundings. I have seen amazing transformation in the space of 14 days on all of these levels.
A cleanse may serve you well if you experience:
· Digestive troubles of any kind
· Difficult elimination, such as constipation, irregular elimination or loose bowels
· Low energy or fatigue
· Foggy thinking or difficulty concentrating
· Difficulty expressing emotion in a healthy way
· Feeling nauseas after eating a heavy meal
· Inflammation or pain in the body
Whether your fall cleanse is a simple 3-day mono-diet with lots of water and rest, or a full 2-week purification program, the first step is to clear the space on your calendar. Even if you don’t know right now how it will look, setting aside the time and being clear on your intention will allow your cleanse to unfold naturally. Engage other people if you like the accountability or guidance – find a cleansing buddy or contact me to set up a private cleanse session. And finally, don’t judge. Whatever time or energy or money you have to put into your cleanse is acceptable, as long as you follow through and acknowledge yourself for putting your intentions into action.
Blessings on your journey!