Fall Equniox and What a Cleanse is Really About

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!


Cleasning to Love - Not Change - Yourself

So often in modern culture a cleanse or detox program is undertaken because we don’t like something about ourselves – we want to lose weight, to get rid of cellulite, to get our insides as squeaky clean as our kitchen counters. This thinking promotes the idea that there is something “wrong” with us or that we are inherently unclean.

One simple shift that can have a profound impact on your spring cleanse is to take a good look at what your intention is in cleansing. Is it to change something, to remove something unwanted? Or is it to spend time loving yourself? In the Ayurvedic cleanse, we spend a lot of time practicing self care and the benefits people experience are much deeper than weight loss or smoother skin. (Although these often happen, too!)

When the intention shifts in this direction, so much of the rest of the psychology around cleansing also shifts. Instead of wanting to push harder (no pain, no gain!) we start to soften and submit to the process. Mentally, we are able to accept that everything is as it should be. We can trust that this cleanse process, which has been practiced for thousands of years, is working to support us in being the very best version of ourselves. When we soften in this way, the level of cleansing actually is deeper - when we are relaxed, the body is more willing to release stored toxins and body systems begin to function optimally.

A cleanse supporting us to be our very best version of ourselves – now, this is very different than seeking a change. This mentality reminds us that we already have everything we need. We are perfect the way we are. The work is to clear the space for the perfection of our being to shine. This is the gift that Ayurveda gives us. At its roots, it teaches us that we are perfect and that when we are in balance, we are able to fulfill our work, or dharma, in the world.

As you enter into your spring cleanse this year, take some time to set an intention that is positive. What would your cleanse be like if you make your cleanse all about love for yourself? How might that shift the results you get? How might that play into how you feel on a day-to-day basis after the cleanse? How might that shift what you choose to eat or how you choose to structure your days once the cleanse is over? From this place of deep love for the self, all of our actions suddenly align with allowing the very best version of ourselves to shine.


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