by Jim Montrose, Ayurvedic Specialist
Spring Detox – Coming Here and There
Spring is the king of seasons in The Bhagavad Gita, where mother earth wakes up and restarts the cycle of growth and life for the entire planet. The whole planet wakes up, we feel more energetic, and venture outside.
It is a time of celebration. It is warm, moist, gentle and unctuous (oily). The body starts to liquefy and run. Many people get spring colds and flowers shed their pollen causing some, especially Kapha doshas, to experience hay fever and allergies.
This is the time to do a spring cleanse, or spring detox, to reduce and eliminate these symptoms. Good time in life to clear out old and bring in the new also.
Pittas and Vatas generally love spring, while Kapha doshas are most affected during the spring. [Don’t know your dosha? Try our self-test or for more accuracy come in for a dosha pulse reading with Jim 071 959 0786 to schedule].
To live in harmony with this natural cycle we must modify our foods, herbs we use, the type and amount of exercise, the clothes we wear and other aspects in order to maintain good health.
Early spring has some of the winter characteristics and shares some of the same qualities like coolness or even cold (this year especially). Early spring cleanses and fasts are recommended to remove excess Kapha and to prevent allergies, hay fever, colds and sinus congestion.
Herbs like ginger and black pepper and a tea of equal portions of cumin, coriander and fennel are useful. Late spring takes on more of the characteristics of summer and we must prepare to change for the summer Ayurvedic routine and a more cooling diet.
Next month we will talk about spring foods specifically and cooking for spring (sign up for our newsletter now at the bottom of the page)
Choose a Spring Detox Cleanse for the seasons
At the major changes of seasons, Ayurveda often recommends oleation and a therapeutic fast to drop toxins into the gastrointestinal system in preparation for removal of excess doshas with panchakarma (the five treatments) to cleanse the body.
We can do a shortened version of this centuries old practice to help prepare ourselves for the season of our most prominent doshic imbalances.
A short mono-diet Kitcheri fast, prayer, meditation and media fast allow us to reset our taste buds, our mental states and start the season renewed and invigorated.
Or an intermittent fasting approach for one day or two days on a weekend with self-care pampering, prayer, meditation and emotional cleansing also works well.
Regardless of which fast you decide on prepare as follows: Schedule two days to focus on your fast, preferably when you are not involved in the challenges of everyday life and have a lighter day(s) to rest and reflect. A weekend starting Friday night after 6pm often works well to schedule alone time to turn inward, be more aware, contemplative and change your life routine for the reset.
Optionally you can start to loosen and move the physical toxins into the gastro intestinal tract by taking 1 tablespoon of flax oil or ghee morning and evening for 2-3 days prior to your mini fast (for example on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday).
Control your environment and input:
Prepare by getting distractions out of your environment for the duration of the fast You want to remove the distractions of foods that are not allowed, visual stimulations, and technological interferences (email, phone, TV, news, heavy work commitments, etc.).
Ayurveda has for thousands of years suggested returning to the quiet embrace and healing space of nature. According to Ayurveda, the sights, scents, noises and other things you expose yourself to have a lasting effect on what you think, how you act, who you become, and the state of your health.
The desire to watch stimulating, violent, and thrilling content is common in the modern world. It is the mind seeking satisfaction outside of itself. These over-stimulating, addictive, reward-based experiences are disappointing in the long term as they never amount to more than temporary relief and always leave you wanting more.
Do you demand organic, sustainably-produced, healthy food? Demand the equivalent from your visual input—positive, sattvic (harmonious) and nourishing visual stimuli.
Eat a plant based real food diet on the intermittent fast or just kitcheri on the kitcheri fast.
for the fasts avoid as much technological interaction and stimulation as possible. Spend time in nature and inward contemplation as much as possible. Consider it a time to rest, rejuvenate and recharge your batteries (a media/technology fast). Take a nap, read an uplifting novel, talk with your partner, walk in nature, swim, love yourself and others, etc.
new to meditation see our quick introduction to meditation, turning inward wherein resides the supreme self. Connect and align to your true self, your eternal being, the observer and witness. Connect with spirit and recognize your expansive self.
If you take the time to be with yourself during the fast and reduce the external distractions of everyday life you may become aware of emotions coming up. Vata’s may experience anxiety, nervousness, or sadness. Pitta’s may feel anger, envy, judgment, or perfectionism. Kapha’s can feel greed, attachment, laziness, or lethargy. It is important to transform these energies so they do not spill out onto friends, family and co-workers. Ayurveda has a simple process that allows you to fully experience the emotion and release it so we can learn from them and resolve positively.
When a feeling comes up, look deeply into it. Take a deep breath, feel the emotion and exhale it out. Name it to release it. Let the feeling totally express itself within yourself (see it honestly and feel it). Breathe into it, surrender to it and be with it. Breathe it in and breathe it out. Soon it will dissolve by itself (the impermanence of all sensations and feeling – all material life). At the same time be aware of the external thing – whatever or whoever is saying or doing the thing that brings the emotion on. And at the same time be aware of your inner self and the feelings it has brought on inside yourself. When we experience this two pointed awareness of the external (outer) and inner simultaneously – the understanding becomes total. This resolves the situation and leaves the mind scar free or clear of a lasting imprint. We have given freedom to the thought internally and have not infected those around us by an emotional outburst nor kept it as an imprint to be relived thus freeing ourselves. Let it flower and let it fade away.
Do an intermittent fast one day a week
Follow my intermittent fasting blog for an easy Spring Detox:
21 DAY CLEAN, PURGE, BALANCE Day 9 (Purge 2) – Letting Go: Purge to rebuild the body.
And add in the procedures above.
Do a two to three day Kitcheri monodiet
To do the Kitchari monodiet read the article and follow the directions, for a easy more complete Spring Detox:
Add Spring Foods and Lifestyle hacks to your Life to accompany your Spring Detox
Spring is associated with the qualities of Kapha: heavy, cold and oily. To stay balanced, focus on foods and activities that are light, dry, and warm.
In wet season, usually spring; take lighter, drying foods, herbs and lifestyle like spicy herbs and saunas. Spring is when Kapha becomes aggravated (sweet, sour, salty tastes) so balance it with tastes of bitter, pungent and astringent.
No matter what dosha you are, you can eat more foods of the light, warming and non-oily variety that help calm the heavy, cold, and oily Kapha qualities that imbalances you during spring.
In the spring most people naturally are drawn to eat light, fresh foods after a long winter of heavy carbohydrates and sweets.
Eat fresh, steamed veggies (not raw veggies), greens (including broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage), broth, brown rice, and a variety of legumes, which are astringent and bitter.
Eat fewer foods that are sweet, sour, salty, heavy, cold, and oily, including fried food and cold or frozen dairy, such as ice cream. Warm your food using pungent spices in the cooking such as ginger, black pepper, lemon and turmeric.
As spring unfolds we do well with added movement such as taking a walk outdoors, allowing the warmth of the sun to warm you, while at a deeper level the stimulus of sunlight activates rhythms via the pineal gland and hypothalamus in the brain and rebalances energy.
Our metabolism changes to feed the additional needs of increased activities in our muscles. We move out of the dark season and into the lightness of spring. Making “lightness” a priority for spring through meditation, play, laughter and joy is a great way to welcome the rebirth of nature.
Spring brings renewal and freshness that we can mirror by buying fresh flowers, eating fresh and natural foods. Make yourself fresh and new by cleaning out the accumulation of toxins both physical and mental. Consider emotional release and media fasts to free your old patterns.
Clear out excess mucus by performing neti by irrigating your nasal passage with warm salt water. Snuff the warm salt water in one nostril and blow out the other nostril. Always follow with nasya. Perform nasya by dipping a Q-tip in warm sesame oil, swirling it inside your nostrils, and inhaling deeply.
Cleanse well and enjoy the warming movement of nature from winter to spring as you do a Spring Detox,
Jim Montrose, Living wholeness Ayurveda, Ayurvedic Specialist, 071 959 0786
PS Join us next month for the spring diet and food guide.
Keep warm, eat well and calmly this winter,
Jim Montrose, Ayurvedic Specialist
Living Wholeness and Ayurveda, 071 959 0786
PS Join us next month for the spring diet and food guide.
P.P.S. Make an appointment for your individualized Detox Plan Now or an overall assessment and Ayurvedic balancing, email or call Jim at 071 959 0786. Consider our On-Line Ayurvedic Balancing course to master your balance.
P.P.P.P.S. sign in and make a comment about this article and join the VIP Happy Food List for monthly food tips.
Copyright September 2022