first time I tried an Ayurvedic cleanse I followed a program outlined
in a magazine, but the many facets of the cleanse were overwhelming
and so was the time commitment — three weeks. The plan required that
I eat kitchari, made with mung beans, rice, vegetables, spices and
ghee (clarified butter), at every meal, so on my first day I doubled a
recipe for a large batch. Unfortunately, the vegetables turned mushy,
leaving me with a series of meals that were, if not exactly
disastrous, barely palatable.
While I wasn’t
able to stick to the strict regime the entire time, I made a weeklong
effort that was good enough to convince me to cleanse again.
though, I sign up for a workshop led by a local Ayurvedic practitioner
and a yoga teacher.
worry if you can’t do everything. Just do the best you can,"
the co-leader tells us with a smile as she gives us our handouts for
the one-week detoxification. And with that forgiving philosophy, I
know I will feel more successful on my second cleanse.
the sister science of yoga, Ayurveda, like yoga, has roots in India
and translates as "the science of life." Through diet,
exercise, meditation, herbs and self-care practices, Ayurveda aims to
balance body, mind and spirit to achieve vitality and well-being.
Ayurvedic practitioners believe the changing of the seasons can affect
this delicate balance and recommend cleansing as a way to ease the
transition, especially in the spring and fall.
leaders say we may experience other benefits such as reduced stress,
better concentration, improved digestion and weight loss — though
the last is really a by-product, not a goal. An Ayurvedic cleanse,
much like other detoxes, intends to rid the body of toxins and, at the
risk of making us sound like machines, reset the system.
all the healthy behaviors come in. Our leaders ask us to prepare meals
using a stove rather than a microwave right before we eat them, and in
my packet I find a different recipe for kitchari as well as oatmeal.
Variety! I’m thrilled. Not only do the leaders suggest that we slow
down food prep but also the act of eating itself — chewing mindfully
and without distractions like reading a newspaper, for example.
In fact, slowing
down is a theme of the cleanse. To that end, the leaders go over
self-care practices to incorporate into our daily routine. After
brushing our teeth, we’ll scrape our tongues to remove the buildup
of toxins there (which also helps to freshen breath). We’ll try oil
pulling, which involves swishing around coconut or sesame oil in the
mouth to further remove toxins. We’ll use a Neti pot to flush toxins
out of the nose. We’ll brush our skin to stimulate the lymphatic
system, and add self-massage, yoga postures (especially twists) and
meditation to the morning ritual. And every night we’ll take a bath
to prepare the body for sleep.
As I flip
through my packet, I wonder how much earlier I’ll have to wake up.
attendee raises her hand. "How long is all of this going to
take?" she asks.
"I know it
looks like a lot, but it really doesn’t take that long," the
co-leader assures us.
turns out to be the case, and I notice how good it feels to really
take my time, spending less of it on screens and more being in — and
enjoying — the moment. I’m also aware of the body-mind connection,
of how caring for the body calms my mind.
I take a deep
breath in and then exhale, knowing that even after this week is over I’ll
continue part of my self-care routine. m
grateful for my guides in my second Ayurvedic cleanse, and you
will be too.
local places where you can find similar support:
You Coaching will have two versions of its one-week cleanse:
one with an hourlong instructional meeting and — new this
month — a virtual option with unique video content. 240
Regency Court, Suite 201, Brookfield, (262)
Ayurveda at Lakeside Centre will offer individual
consultations and a customized two-week, at-home cleanse
beginning in mid-September. Info sessions about the cleanse will
be held Sept. 18. 10345 N. Port Washington Road, Suite 175,
Mequon, (262) 893-1757, bodhi-ayurveda.com
offers guidance with cleanses throughout the year and will
host an informational workshop Sept.
14, which will cover daily cleansing rituals and seasonal
an at-home cleanse. 6789
N. Green Bay Ave., Glendale, (414)