Detoxing in the fall may sound counterintuitive. After all, spring—is usually the time we think detox, whereas autumn feels like a time to hunker down and get back to work. We need to follow mother earth’s lead in the fall, it’s about acknowledging that we’re overly busy, slowing down, and restoring the body.
In the past, I have had a love hate relationship with cleanses, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Gentle cleanses do not have to be dramatic or traumatic, in fact, they shouldn’t. Something that has confused me in the past is why, when & if I should be cleansing in the first place. The answer is complex just as much as you are a unique individual.
In Ayurveda toxins in our body cannot process have a name in called ama (Sanskrit for “that which harms or weakens”). Ayurvedic physician Robert Svoboda characterizes ama not only as a kind of physical sludge, but also as a psychosomatic sludge that pollutes the mind. Accumulated ama is the basis for much disease and emotional malaise—and from a physical standpoint, it creates an appealing host environment for cold and flu viruses that blow in on autumn’s winds. Think you don’t have to worry about ama? just living and breathing in a polluted world creates a need for cleansing ama from our bodies “Pretty much no matter who you are, you’ll end up with ama.
In autumn I recommend a middle-path gentle cleanse that uses nourishing foods, herbs, and self-care techniques to rejuvenate the body rather than simply strip it down, which can leave you even more vulnerable going into winter. I don’t think its as simple as taking a prepared mixed drink. A gentle cleanse is best in fall. You need to think about your entire being as well, not JUST your internal organs but also the spiritual, emotional and a energy detox need to happen. So I recommend also using self massage with essential oils & your specific oil for your dosha. I also recommend nasal irrigation followed by nasya oil, herbs, yoga, meditation, reflection and time in nature.
During the cleanse, you need to be free of substances and habits that contribute to liver overload—such as processed foods, sugar and alcohol—and the unaddressed stress that strains your nervous system. You’ll also spend time thinking about what influences you want to keep in your life and what you might want to let go. We will go over all this! In my recommended Autumn cleanse there are 4 pillars. Here they are:
Pillar 1: Slowing Down
This is under rated. Stress is the number cause of dis -ease in my opinion. Reducing stress and mental overactivity is perhaps the most important element of a successful detox plan. Habitual rushing, multitasking, and dealing with information overloads are the trifecta of American toxicity. And like an overtaxed liver, an overtaxed mind and nervous system can lead to a host of health issues, including adrenal fatigue, insomnia etc. The first step in reducing the toxicity created by an overloaded life? Slowing down. During the next several days, adjust your schedule so you have time to prepare and eat your meals slowly in a relaxed manner, practice daily yoga, immerse yourself in nature and take regular meditation breaks. By saying “no” to the outside influences that pull your attention and energy in so many directions—and replacing them with healthier choices—you’ll begin to tune in to your body’s natural rhythms and detox more effectively.
Pillar 2: Detox Diet
Next, you need to nourish your body with healthful, cleansing foods. I recommend one of two daily ( every day!) staples through out your gentle detox. Homemade Chicken soup or Kitchari for vegetarians.
Chicken soup made with proper chicken bone broth contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain. It heals the intestinal lining and fights inflammation.
At the heart of the Ayurvedic dietary program is kitchari, a simple dish of rice and mung beans widely used throughout Asia to purify the body. Its balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat makes for an easy-to-digest yet highly nourishing meal. Kitchari is also tridoshic, which means that it’s appropriate for all three doshas. The lightness of the dish reduces kapha in the body, At the same time, it stabilizes vata by offering a complete source of protein. And the astringent nature of the beans cools pitta, so kitchari is naturally anti-inflammatory. Best of all, eating kitchari twice daily keeps hunger and cravings at bay.
Adding or focusing on certain foods & herbs while on your detox will help throughout the different stages in the detox that I will be going over in the following blog post. I will be guiding you through the detox with whole foods, herbs and self care tips to nurture & cleanse yourself.
There are a few stages of focus that we will be going over throughout this cleanse. In order to get the most out of your cleanse I will be going over the stages in the next few weeks one stage at a time. We will be focusing on the colon the first week, the kidneys the second week, the liver the third week and then finally the lymphatic system. The entire time we will be addressing environmental, emotional & spiritual cleansing.
Pillar 3: Cleansing Yoga & Movement
Specific yoga poses can help expedite the detoxification process. The heating and twisting sequences designed for this plan can help move toxins from your tissues through your lymphatic and digestive systems so that they can be eliminated from the body. In addition, restorative poses, relax the nervous system and mind and help settle the body—which is especially important during and after a detox cleanse. Autumn is a transition into a winter, Take lessons from nature, harvest is over, and it’s time to clear out. It’s an opportunity to till the soil and plant the seeds for next year’s harvest. It’s time to celebrate and dance! Once we do this for ourselves, we can recommit to what is working for us and set ourselves up to get more of what nourishes us in our lives. In these next few weeks I will be giving yoga poses in addition to other recommendations throughout each stage of the cleanse.
Step 4: Self-Study
I always ask myself “Why am I doing this?” during a cleanse. By interrupting your normal patterns, cleansing provides a unique opportunity to practice a self-study. Cleansing almost always brings out emotional cleansing for me, this tends to be the hardest part for me. Take this time to check in and work through any emotional toxins that are coming up for you. It’s a opportunity to check in and let go.
At the end of the cleanse, you should take a day to meditate and observe and to ask yourself questions like what is it time to let go of and what to make more room for in your life. What are you creating? What have you created unintentionally in the past? What contribution are you to the world? If you can, pass a half or a full day in silence, and spend time in nature or journaling about your experience. Get clear on the answers, and your life will get simpler: Do what works; don’t do what doesn’t. “When you temporarily change your daily routines, you open yourself up to seeing and feeling from new perspectives.
Will you join me on this journey?