“Nothing has more power to heal and transform the body than the mind.”
~ Deepak Chopra
“Thousands of years before modern medicine provided scientific evidence for the mind-body connection, the sages of India developed Ayurveda, which continues to be one of the world’s most sophisticated and powerful mind-body health systems. More than a mere system of treating illness, Ayurveda is a science of life (Ayur = life, Veda = science or knowledge). It offers a body of wisdom designed to help people stay vibrant and healthy while realizing their full human potential.” ~ Chopra Center
The two guiding principles of this age-old philosophy is that our mind and body are inextricably connected and that the mind holds the power to heal the body. Our resident Ayurveda teacher, Natalie Hain, shares with us why springtime is the best time to cleanse, meditate, and heal our bodies.
Why Do a Cleanse?
An Ayurvedic cleanse will eliminate toxins from the body, relieve stress, support healthy weight management, improve digestion and promote optimal well-being. Spring is the perfect time to partake in a cleanse because the body is naturally releasing toxins from the body. We are constantly being bombarded with stressors; everything from environmental toxins to the food we eat to the things we see and hear impact our health and wellness. It is vital as part of an Ayurvedic lifestyle to practice cleansing. An Ayurvedic cleanse will help the body slow down the flood of information so it can re-set and recuperate.
What to Expect During a Cleanse
During a cleanse there will be highs and lows. It’s not always easy to take control of your health! In our culture we are used to instant gratification and eliminating foods and drinks from your diet that give you pleasure takes self-control. However, once you decide to make the investment in yourself the choice becomes easier. There may be days you feel tired or like you can’t do it, and that’s normal. Cleansing is a part of the yogic lifestyle and yoga is a practice. Some days the postures come easier than others. An Ayurvedic cleanse comes with the same set of challenges and rewards.
Days 1-3: Eliminate all caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, recreational drugs, processed and refined foods from your diet. Eat simple, whole foods.
Days 4-8: Eat a mono-diet of kitchari. You can eat as much as you want but try to only eat 3 meals/day if possible.
“Kitchari provides solid nourishment while allowing the body to devote energy to healing. You can safely subsist on kitchari anytime in order to build vitality and strength as it helps balance all three doshas. For restless vata, the warm soup is grounding; for fiery pitta, its spices are calming; and for chilly kapha, it provides healing warmth.
Ayurveda believes that all healing begins with the digestive tract, and kitchari can give it a much-needed rest from constantly processing different foods while providing essential nutrients. The blend of rice and split mung beans offers an array of amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Its mixture of spices is believed to kindle the digestive fire, the Ayurvedic description for your innate digestive power, which can be weakened by poor food combinations.” ~ Yoga Journal
Days 9-11: Begin to eat normally again. Continue to leave out all the foods and drinks you gave up in the first 3 days.
Up to 3 months after cleanse: Continue to eliminate food and habits that do not promote health. Eat rejuvenating foods like dates or honey. Sweet tastes help keep the body in a good state.
An Ayurvedic cleanse is a wonderful way to find inner awareness and empowerment. When you are done you will feel energized, strong and your body and mind will be in balance. You may even feel this way months after the cleanse! Take control of your health and wellness. You won’t be sorry you did!
[Photo from The Ayurvedic Institute, https://www.ayurveda.com/recipes/kitchari]