Toasting fall with a carrot, beet, cucumber, & apple juice in Boston.
This may come as a surprise, but I'm not so keen on cleanses. If I'm feeling toxic or low energy or- let's call it like it is- like I've gone hog wild with red wine and chocolate lately, then I curb my overindulgent ways by erring in the direction of raw fruits and vegetables and plenty of water. I go for a run. I meditate. I spend some time in the steam room of my gym. I don't endure days of a liquid-only diet. I don't condone grown ups eating baby food for any reason. And when students or friends tell me they're on the Master Cleanse, it makes me completely anxious.
'Please don't faint in my yoga class,' I think.
'Please don't end up with an eating disorder.'
I see the merit of giving one's system a rest and healthful restart, especially during certain times of the year and with proper supervision, if your organs need it. However, more often than not, I watch cleanses used as starvation diets, with the virtuous disguise of a yogi ritual.
On the other hand, I am a junkie when it comes to lifestyle cleansing. I would detox my home, thoughts, and habits all darn day if I could. Give me a stack of junk mail, and I'll happily go to town. Show me a bulging, bloated closet, and I'll delight in extracting the Mrs. Roper dresses and trucker hats until what remains is a functional wardrobe of wearable clothing. Plop me down on a meditation cushion to consider my toxic thought patterns, and I am IN.
Cleansing of this kind is essential. De-cluttering like this energizes us. Evaluating the pollutants in our lives (both physical and psychological) helps us reconnect to our power source. No forgoing of solid foods necessary . . .
To help you feel re-energized and inspired for the new season, here are my 6 Tips for a Fall Detox:
- Closet Cleanse: Each season, it's important to review your wardrobe and shed items that no longer fit, you don't wear, or could be put to better use at a local homeless shelter. If your duds seem too posh for the castaway pile, try consignment, perhaps using the earned money for a fun, fall purchase.
The fruits of a previous closet cleanse, heading off to Goodwill.
- Technology Diet: Pratyhara is the fifth limb of Patanjali's 8-limed yogic path, and I've been thinking about this guiding principle a lot lately, especially as it relates to technology. Pratyhara teaches us a "withdrawal of the senses," as a way to hone our abilities of delving inward and examining our inner lives. Before you kick off your newest chapter of 2010, try unplugging for a day or weekend. Turn off all iPods, iPhones, Blackberries, TVs, laptops, etc., and experience the quiet and clarity that comes from this simple experiment. You'll immediately notice that you, as well as your devices, will be recharged afterward.
Recharging my laptop and myself at the Denver airport this summer.
- Natural Supplement: To truly appreciate a change of the seasons, no matter how subtle, get outside! Be with nature. Supplement your daily routine with a trip to the mountains, a beach, lakefront, local park, or garden patch. Even the smallest doses of time spent in nature can clear nervous energy and make you feel rooted.
A stolen moment during the Natural Living Expo this weekend, Sturbridge, MA
- Feel the Burn: Sounds like I'm going to tell you to try Crossfit or some other calorie-scorching activity, right? Nope. (That's for another post someday). Fire is one of the most cleansing elements, and integrating it into our lives can be effective for clearing old energy. An aromatherapy candle easily calms, while the first sparks of a campfire excite. Recently, I received the gift of a sacred piece of wood from Peru, known as a palo santo, which is said to purify and protect when lit throughout one's home. I can't wait to try it. The woodsy smell alone is enough to snap me back to the present moment.
- Play with Your Food: Too often conventional cleanses are restrictive and rigid. Why not have fun with your food? To savor the new season, bake apples for breakfast. Be the first on your block to carve a pumpkin. Try a new recipe using seasonal ingredients to connect you to the time of year.
- Go Organ-ic: While I recommend buying organic whenever possible, I'm referring to your organs, here. Twisting yoga poses bring attention to your organs, helping to cleanse internally. No joke. Try adding more twisting poses to your practice right now, such as twisting triangle (parivrrta trikonasana) or a seated twist (ardha matseyendrasana), below.
Have your own surefire ways of clearing old energy and making way for the new? Share them here, and happy fall to you!