“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world—that is the myth of the “atomic age”—as in being able to remake ourselves.” Mahatma Gandhi
Spring has officially begun. The trees are starting to show leaves, even a few flowers. The markets display bright berries and vibrant green asparagus. The clothing is getting lighter and shorter. This is the precious time of transition.. from heavy clothing to light, dense grounding foods to light, airy foods.. from season to season. Spring (and fall) are times we typically do deep cleaning.. .. open up our homes to let out stale air, clean our closets and cupboards and throw out or donate the stuff that we don’t use and just occupies space. When we clear out the old, we can invite the new in.. literally and symbolically. While some call this “spring cleaning,” I call it “spring detox”.
My teacher David Life used to say, everything you own owns you. Look around your space. Every clothing item, kitchen or toiletry item needs to live someplace in your home. It must be cleaned, organized, and kept track of, so we know where we can find it should we need it. If we use it, we have to make sure we care for it so it doesn’t break or become lost or stolen. That requires a lot of mind space.. If we aren’t conscious, we can start to accumulate clutter – so many belongings that they become disordered, disorganized and create physical and mental confusion.. Know what I mean? How many times have you lost something in the bottom of your purse or backpack? And had to take out the dozen or so other items you didn’t even know were there until you found it? When we "detox" our homes, purses or bags, our homes, by proxy we de-clutter our minds and free up our consciousness for things that matter more.
Clutter accumulates in our bodies too. The Ayurvedis call this ama - which means undigested. Ama is basically toxins/that which wasn’t digested. Because Ayurveda is holistic, toxins could be physical (from poorly digested food), emotional (from unresolved feeling or relational, familial or ancestral “baggage”), mental (holding on to old, outdated thought patterns) or intellectual (outdated beliefs or belief systems). Yogis would call this unresolved karma that is nested in the causal bodies (koshas). When our bodies are filled with ama, it’s hard to see who we really are… just like it’s hard to see how bright and shiny our home or our purse is when it is too cluttered. Same thing.
If you already started your spring cleaning of your space, great. You are physically doing what your body also craves at this time of the year – to get rid of things you don’t want anymore, or are out of alignment with how you are evolving. When we detox the body, we make time to slow down, get honest about our health and lifestyle habits, and put on our big girl (or boy) pants and make some changes. While we detox whenever we need to clean things up, the beginning of the spring and fall seasons are intuitive places to start.
I just finished my spring detox. I start the day scraping my tongue, drinking tons of water, moving and breathing and sitting in silence. Green juice, or chia pudding, porridge or kitchari if I am really hungry for breakfast, plants with an easy grain for lunch, and soup or salad for dinner. I sip warm water every 20 minutes or so between meals and don’t snack. If I have chocolate, it’s one small piece at the end of lunch. This year I added intermittent fasting several times a week into the mix (eating from 10am -6pm, following a 16/8 schedule) to give my digestive system a deeper rest.. I cut down my social commitments to the things that I’m super stoked about, and let the rest go. Since my current diet and lifestyle is pretty clean, this simple and not-so-regimented detox works for me. In the past, after grad school finals or other stressful times when my lifestyle wasn’t as clean, I did more intense juicing and living foods detoxes. Both are great reboots for the system, depending on where you are and where you want to go. Ayurveda says like increases like. So if we are eating crap, we want more crap! That's how it works! These cravings are gone after detox, and you have a whole new operating system that runs a lot more efficiently (like when you clean your desktop of unused clutter that makes it slow down).
Curious about detoxing? Not sure where to begin? Or need some support to keep you on track to feeling awesome? After following detoxes for many years, I am teaching my first 2 week Yogi Detox on August 12th (right before Oktoberfest begins for you Munich friends). It will include lectures, coaching sessions, a detox manual, recipe book, and yoga, meditation, and relaxation materials. It's my first time teaching it, so you get a 20% discount if you sign up on my maiden voyage. There are 2 options: in person (in Munich) and online.
Yogi Detox is a good prep/precursor to my 10 week program Align to Thrive, an Ayurveda and Habit change course that designed to improve your digestion, sleep, energy, physique and most importantly comfort with yourself. Contact me for details or to schedule a chat. I would love to hear from you.
I am also teaching my Second Annual Surf and Yoga Retreat in Ericiera, Portugal September 17-24. We had a blast last year and met many other lovely like-minded yogis from all over the world.