A huge part of Ayurveda is cleansing with the seasons. Seasonal cleansing helps one to get rid of residual energy from the season past. In fall, the main focus is to cleanse Pitta from the body which shows up as heat that is left over from summer. This can result in skin imbalances, aggravation or excess acidity in the digestive tract. Cleanses play a huge role in detoxing the system, removing lymph, and resetting digestion. Cleansing is also a great way to get back to healthy habits and synch up to the rhythms of nature.
The following tips are not an extensive guide to cleansing but the hope is that they will help you get the most out of your cleanse and bring ease to your experience. If you are looking for a more in-depth guide to cleansing there are many books and Ayurvedic practitioners who will be able to guide you. I personally like the Colorado Cleanse by Dr. John Douillard, but there are plenty of different guides on cleansing, and it’s best to look for the one that feels right for you.
Now, let’s dive into some tips to support you during your fall cleanse!
Cleanse for your Constitution
Cleanses are rarely one size fits all. It is good to know what your constitution is before starting a cleanse, and it can be equally helpful to know what your imbalances are. If you tailor the cleanse towards your imbalances, then you should get the best results. You can take a quiz online to find out what your constitution is, and also what your current imbalances are. Banyan Botanicals offers an awesome quiz to help with this, but there are also other sites that offer quizzes that will help you find this information. If it is accessible, it would also be great to schedule a meeting with an Ayurvedic practitioner before you begin.
Use the Buddy System
Cleansing with a group or with friends can make a huge difference. Sometimes it is helpful to have someone who you can talk to about what you are experiencing during your cleanse or someone who you can go out to get green juices with or share kitchari dinners with! This could be a co-worker, a loved one, or a group of friends. It just feels good to know you aren’t having to do it alone. Sometimes, you can even find yoga practitioners and Ayurvedic practitioners who offer group cleanses and ongoing support. For example, my yoga teacher Krista Holland offers 10 days of seasonal cleanse coaching with her Radiant Rejuvenation Cleanse.
The more prep work you can do for your cleanse the better! It can be helpful to plan meals ahead of time and prep the night before. If you are including herbs in your cleanse and have different tablets to take, a pill sorter can be a great way to pre-organize theses tablets so that you have easy access when they are needed. You might keep all of your oils for massage in one place, or have your vegetables and fruit pre-measured and cut. While initially, it can take time to set all of this up, when you are in the thick of your cleanse, you will definitely thank your self for putting in the effort.
Many people think that cleansing equals weight loss, and because of this they tend to think that a cleanse should be paired with intense workouts. This is actually the farthest from the truth. When we cleanse, we are putting our body through an intense process and all of our energy is going towards removing toxins from the body. It can be pretty dangerous to do intense yoga or workouts during this time. It is, however, safe to do gentle yin yoga practices or take relaxing walks, and actually, this can be very helpful because you don’t want to become completely sedentary. Just take time to truly honor your self and take it easy.
Make your Sleep Schedule a Priority
A cleanse is a great time to realign with the rhythms of nature. This is why typically it is recommended to set a bedtime that is between 9 and 10. This is right before the pitta time of night, where it will be much harder to go to sleep. It is important because this time of night is when the body does all of its transformational work. It is when digestion is most high and your body is processing all of the cleansing work you’ve done throughout the day. It is also recommended to wake between the hours of 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. This is the Vata time of day and it will help you to have more energy if you rise before the sun. Since we often process a lot of what we are releasing in the waking hours of the day while we sleep, it can also be a good time to log your dreams.
Practice Deep Self-Love
When doing a cleanse, you are not only ridding the body of physical toxins, but you are also ridding the body of pent-up emotions as well. Because of this, you may experience mood swings during a cleanse. One moment, you will feel fine, and the next you’ll find yourself crying because you can’t find a pen or that dog across the street from you looks so cute it hurts! It may be alarming at first, but it’s okay. We are meant to feel emotions and at this time, it is natural to expect to feel them a bit more deeply than usual. It is the perfect time to practice deep self-love and self-care. Set boundaries for yourself, spend time with friends and talk about things as they come up for you. This reset is a full body, mind and spirit reset and it goes deeper than your digestive health.
Find Time for Silence
A cleanse is a perfect time to make moments of silence a priority. This may look like meditation or taking the time to read a book in the evening instead of turning on the television. Great nourishment comes from silence. We live in a pretty intense world, and moments of silence can be hard to find, so during your cleanse, see if you can increase the number of silent moments you get during your day. It will make a huge difference. Who knows, maybe this will even become a practice you take on beyond the duration of your cleanse.
Keep a Journal
There are many things to log and pay attention to while cleansing, and sometimes it can help to keep a journal. You may want to log your weight or your meals. It might be interested to log the amount of bowel movement or sleep patterns. Anything that comes up that may be interesting is great to keep track of in a journal. Often times during a cleanse, you may even experience mood swings or emotions that have been buried deep inside that come to the surface. Keeping a journal to help process these emotions could be very beneficial. I personally like to set intentions each day and journal about how I am feeling.
I hope these tips help you get the most out of your cleansing experience! Check out next weeks article on Yoga for Vata Season!
Love and Moonlight!