First off, let me say I was never the “lets do a cleanse type of guy!” While over the past few years I’ve becoming increasingly aware of taking care of this vehicle called a body, I need to let you know where I’m coming from. Cleansing wasn’t something that was discussed too much in the circles I ran in,
other than the few Yogi friends I have come to know and appreciate. I work in NYC, get up early to start my day, and proceed to embrace this fast pace, make it happen lifestyle that embodies city life. I love it, don’t get me wrong but in the process I sometimes find it difficult to slow down. Or at least slow down without the overriding anxiety of thinking I’m either missing something or not doing enough. As I began to eat healthier, and implant a healthy daily regimen, it seemed like that was enough. However, I heard my body telling me that it was worn down after a brutal NYC winter, filled with frigid temperatures, constant snow, rain and stress.
Yesterday I completed a 10 day detoxification called the Ayurveda Cleanse (see link below). It was one of the most fulfilling health related experiences of my life. I feel reinvigorated physically, mentally and spiritually as a result of my first stab at this cleanse. As a certified personal trainer I know the benefits of healthy eating and living but no one is immune to toxins. We all need time to allow our minds and body to cleanse from the wear and tear of daily living. I decided that the spring was perfect time to do this, and teamed up with an accountability buddy to take this journey with me. I initially set out to do this “spring cleaning,” as a way to reenergize my body, mind and spirit after the tumultuous winter. I also had shoulder surgery after months of trying to fight through the pain of a torn labrum. With surgery comes foreign substances and toxins being put in your body for the purpose of aiding the healing process. However, they were foreign toxins none the less. In addition, I was constantly on the run, getting up every day before sunrise, living in Starbucks and hardly taking time to slow down. To say I needed to focus on self-care, slowing down, and cleaning out was an understatement. My goal was to clean the toxins in my body that accumulated over the winter from food, surgical procedures, lack of adequate sleep, and stress.
Before starting I had to take the Dosha Quiz, which identified which body constitution I was (Pitta, Vatta, Kapha). I happened to be Pitta (fiery), so that determined the types of vegetables and fruits I would be able to eat during the cleanse. The first step to team up with a teacher to take this journey with and guide me in the process. We agreed to help each other through the cleanse and share experiences and support for one another. We also committed to implementing a consistent Yoga/Meditation schedule for the duration of the cleanse. This was crucial in ensuring that we were stretching and circulating blood properly throughout our body throughout the cleanse. Secondly, I had to buy the Kitchari spices for the rice and Moong Dahl (lentils). This would be my primary meal for the next 10 days. Then I picked up organic sesame oil to message the joints in the body and clean the mouth; as well as a tongue scraper to remove the toxins from the mouth. If you’ve never used a tongue scraper I recommend you try it. It’s a eye-opening process and one that I guarantee will make you think twice about kissing anyone ever again. Lastly, I needed a Neti Pot to clean the nasal passage and Triphala herb supplement that was to be taken daily. Here is what I experienced during the 10 day detoxification process:
1) Days 1-2– Definitely felt the withdrawal from caffeine and food. Highly anxious and irritable. Body was going through the shock of change and I felt delirious at times. I would recommend starting on the weekend, so your irritability doesn’t spill over to the people you work with. By far the roughest two days of the cleanse. Hang in there, it gets better.
2) Days 3-5- Started becoming comfortable with the changes in my body and enjoying the cooking process(yes me cooking). Part of the cooking ritual was to take time to connect with the process and think about how the food became available. This allows for you to express gratitude for the framers and all the people who made this meal possible. Physically I began feeling comfortable but mentally I felt all over the place. It was difficult focusing and I noticed losing my sharpness of thought.
3) Days 6-7- Mental clarity returned and my mind-body connection felt more in tune. Meditation during this time was amazing with real mind body awareness.
4) Days 7-10- These were the days that felt unbelievable, so much so that I decided to extend the cleanse from seven to ten days. People at work, in the street and in my life made several comments about the glow in my skin and brightness in my eyes. I felt different, my mind-body awareness was at an all time high and it felt soul satisfying.
5) Day 11- Celebrated with a nice Tri Doshic meal at the Ayurveda Cafe in upper Manhattan. I wanted to break the cleanse without shocking the body and this was the perfect meal to do it. Since the cleanse I’ve also come to realize three important things that I will continue to take with me now that the cleanse is over:
A) Self Care is Important- Its the airplane scenario. They always tell you in case of an emergency, put the mask over your face first, before you attempt to help anyone else. Same concept here: If you don’t take time to care for yourself in all its aspects (mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual) you will be of no good use to others.
B) Starbucks Isn’t A Must- There goes my lifetime subscription to “the bucks.” In reality, before the cleanse this was my major reservation. I had no inclination to stop my daily morning Starbucks run. As the cleanse went on, I realized that the caffeine addiction had been arrested and I could re-institue (if I wanted) the “bean” back in my life at my leisure. Right now I’m still on the fence whether I want to go back to coffee and this is a major revelation, believe me.
C) Slowing Down is Work- As I said, the slowing down process often feels unproductive to me but I realized it was quite the opposite. Assessment and Re-assessment is an essential part of any self-improvement plan. This time allowed me to reflect on my “wins” as well as those routines in my life that could be discarded or adjusted.
Overall, the Ayurveda Cleanse has been an experience that has truly enlightened, awakened and de-stressed my entire being. I’ve attached a link below that describes the specifics of the cleanse for all interested. Take time and care for yourself, your are worth it!
“Do Something Today, That Your Future Self Will Thank You For”