Are you feeling the urge to lighten your load as we move out of winter and into a fresh new season? These top 5 tips for a Spring cleanse inspired by yoga and Ayurveda will help balance your energy.
One of the greatest joys of growing a spiritual practice like yoga is awakening to subtleties.
Yoga helps us to become more aware of small changes in ourself, our energy, our environment and our relationships and respond appropriately.
When we become more sensitive, we feel the natural shift in our needs and learn to act to give ourselves what we really need - rather than waiting until our life or our health is in crisis.
Through yoga and other spiritual practices, we learn to listen to the whisper of our body,
There is a shift away from loud environments to quieter places in nature. Away from abrasive people, to those who build up us. Away from harsh chemicals in our food, clothing and cleaning supplies, to more natural alternatives.
According to yoga’s sister science, the ancient Indian system for overall health called Ayurveda, Sping and Autumn are the perfect times to give ourselves a break with a gentle cleanse.
Why practise an Ayurvedic cleanse?
Your body is intelligent and works hard everyday processing everything life throws at it - distinguishing what’s good for you from what’s not, doing its best to eliminate any harmful substances alongside routine metabolic waste.
But we are inundated with stressors: environmental toxins, processed foods, unresolved emotions, and psychological stress.
Inevitably, in attempting to “digest” it all, we accumulate some degree of toxicity — which, over time, can build up in the system, deposit in the tissues, and compromise our health.
Ayurvedic cleansing is all about giving your body a break, slowing down the flood so that the body can rest, recuperate, and repair itself.
If you want to give your body a break and boost your energy, here are 5 ways to lovingly and kindly support your transition into Spring:
1. Declutter your physical space
Have you gone all Marie Kondo on your stuff yet?
Well what are you waiting for? It's time for a Spring clean!
Creating space to reflect is the first step to detox your current patterns and create new habits.
Creating more space in your home, and even on your phone, is crucial to creating space in your mind.
So tackle your wardrobe, kitchen cupboards, and even the old files on your computer so you can make space for the new.
I also LOVE smudging the home to release old energies - just make sure you open all the windows to let fresh air in.
2. Refresh your morning routine
I am a firm believer that your morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. Of course, the key to a good morning is a great sleep, so I try to start my bedtime routine around 8.30pm so I'm asleep by 10pm. WILD.
According to Ayurvedic science, a cleansing morning routine, mainly focussed on the mouth, is important for getting rid of accumulated toxins.
I'm always experimenting with little tweaks to my morning routine to make it more nourishing and set me up to feel good all day. These are some of the habits that work for me:
3. Create a badass bathing ritual
Personally, I need no excuse to luxuriate in the bathtub.
Creating a bathing ritual will serve you incredibly well at any time of the year, but particularly when you feel in need of a mind, body, spirit cleanse.
I like to use epsom salts and essential oils and it's best to spend at least 20 minutes soaking to get the benefits from the salt. If you want to go ALL out, repeat affirmations to yourself like, 'I am cleansing myself of anything that doesn't serve my highest good'. Why not?
Ayurveda is also very keen on self-massage (yay!). Known as Abhyanga in Ayurveda, self-massaging is often practiced in the morning and/or evening.
It calms the nervous system, improves immunity, softens skin, and tones muscle. Use warm oil, such as coconut or sesame. Start at your scalp and extremities, then work your way towards your heart. For maximum benefit, let the oil soak in for about 20 minutes.
You can also try skin brushing to help drain the lymphatic system and stimulate movement of energy. Go nuts.
"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea."
4. Eat only Kitchari for 3-7 days (yep, really)
I got into making Kitchari a few years ago when I felt like my digestive system needed a reset. There are loads of recipes out there and it's one of those dishes you can experiment with to find what works for you.
Essentially it's made with moong dal (split mung beans), basmati rice and spices. It’s a one-pot vegan and gluten-free porridge-like dish which you can make a big batch of and eat EXCLUSIVELY for 3 to 7 days.
It's a great way to cleanse without sacrificing, you know, actual food. You can get on with your day without feeling like you're being deprived since Kitchari is incredibly filling.
I can't lie, after a few days of JUST Kitchari, it can start getting pretty boring. But the chance to give your digestive system a rest pays off big-time in terms of improving your digestive fire or agni so you can feel more balanced.
This is a recipe I like to use from the Ayurvedic Institute. Enjoy!
1/2 cup basmati rice
1 cup mung dal (split yellow)
6 cups (approx.) water
1/2 to 1 inch ginger root, chopped or grated
A bit of mineral salt (1/4 tsp. or so)
2 tsp. ghee
1/2 tsp. coriander powder
1/2 tsp. cumin powder
1/2 tsp. whole cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
Handful of fresh coriander leaves
1 and 1/2 cups assorted vegetables (optional)
Wash rice and daal separately in at least 2 changes of water. Add the 6 cups of water to the rice and dal and cook covered until it becomes soft, about 20 minutes.
While that is cooking, prepare any vegetables that suit you. Cut them into smallish pieces. Add the vegetables to the cooked rice and dal mixture and cook 10 minutes longer.
In a separate saucepan, sauté the seeds in the ghee until they pop. Then add the other spices. Stir together to release the flavors. Stir the sautéed spices into the cooked dal, rice, and vegetable mixture. Add the mineral salt and chopped fresh corriander and serve.
5. Perform an energetic cleanse
There's something about this time of year when I get all 'OUT WITH THE OLD AND IN WITH THE NEW'.
As well as clearing through belongings, ditching old files on the computer and clearing out the email Inbox, now is the time to clear your life of outdated stories, belief and even relationships that are holding you back.
There are SO many ways you could do this. For example, I'm a bit fan of writing down what you want to let go of and burning the paper.
Or you could release into the earth. The earth is strong and can hold big emotions.
When in doubt, squat down, put your hands on the earth, and affirm:
"Mother earth, I give this energy back to you. Please absorb it."
I hope you find these ideas helpful as we transition into Spring. As always, follow your own inner guidance and do what's right for you. You always know what you need most, the trick is to listen.
If you want to go deeper into working with the energetic system of the body, my 6-week journey through the chakras is back! We start Saturday 2nd March and throughout six 90-minute classes, we'll travel up the energetic superhighway of the spine to balance your energy.
The Curious Souls blog is a place to learn more about creating rituals in your life that serve you, connecting with your natural rhythms so life becomes easier, and living consciously so we can create a more peaceful world.