Spring Cleaning - Detox and Rejuvenate!
Another season, another turn in nature. For many of us, this winter was brutal and long, and some of us are still weathering the final snow. Although temperatures are slowly beginning to climb and signal renewal, new life and fresh beginnings, winter may not prove easy to slough off as Kapha Dosha – characterized by water and earth elements – dominates through the season, often making it tough to simply spring into spring! Allergies abound, and the body is trying to emerge from the stagnation of winter.
If we are living in synchronicity with Mother Nature, as the life science of Ayurveda dictates, we move toward detoxification – not only of the body, but also the mind and spirit. Ideally, we assist our body's efforts through our lifestyle habits and yoga practice.
What changes should we consider? In general, eat lighter and stimulate agni, or the digestive fire, to purge and cleanse any toxicity in the body. Drink tea with ginger, cinnamon and black pepper between meals to keep agni burning.
Try to avoid snacking throughout the day, which, while comforting through the cold and dreary days of winter, will stifle agni and keep you sluggish. You may want to consider Panchakarma – a five- to 10-day cleanse to purge toxins and deepen self-awareness, self-esteem and love.
You may also want to consider a personal retreat. Our current, over-stimulated lifestyle is a surefire recipe for burnout. If you can't take a long weekend in nature or a meditation and yoga retreat, consider simple changes at home. Here are just a few:
- Go to bed 30 minutes early and rise 30 minutes earlier. Start with 10 minutes every few days and before you know it, you'll find yourself retiring early.
- Give yourself a rejuvenating evening massage with sesame or coconut oil.
- Begin a morning ritual of tongue scraping, which will cleanse ama, or toxic residue from your tongue, improving not only your taste sense, but also digestion.
- Use a neti pot in the morning and throughout the day as needed.
- Add short meditations into your week.
- Decrease the amount of dairy in your diet. Limit foods such as ice cream, milk, cheeses, and heavy creams. High-quality, plain Greek yogurt is still good for the digestive system.
- Limit use of the Internet and avoid excessive exposure to news and media outlets.
- Turn off your cell phone at least an hour before you go to bed. Give your system its own chance to restore and "reboot."
- If you like to read before you sleep, read spiritual, ancient wisdom or positive psychological texts to cultivate positive thoughts as you slumber.
What foods are beneficial to assist the bodies detoxifying efforts? Here are some of my favorites:
- Collard and Mustard Greens
- Dandelion Greens
- Spring Pea Pods
Notice the lighter side to all of these veggies. One great way to know what's in season is to visit your local farmers market. The only foods available at farmers markets are what is harvested nearby. A great way to think global and act local! Visit Local Harvest to find one near you.
For a more comprehensive list of what's in season, check out Whole Nine's Guide to Vegetables and Fruits.
Now get out there and put some spring in your step!