“Every April, God rewrites the Book of Genesis.” ~~Author Unknown
They say that Spring is the time for cleansing the body from winter’s slumber, as winter tends to make us more sluggish. That has certainly been true for me this year, it seems! Many people take advantage of the Spring as a time to not just spring clean their homes, but to also do the same for their bodies. How many of you have been noticing all the ads everywhere for various detox and cleanse programs? I don’t think I’ve gone a day in the last month without seeing at least one ad for some type of program like that.
It seems like so many cleanses have you basically starve yourself, or eat just one thing for an ungodly number of days. I can’t do that. I’ve tried some of these things in the past, and it was torture for me. In every instance, I ended up sabotaging it within a matter of hours (yes, I have NO willpower, I’ll admit it). So now I steer clear of that kind of thing.
But since attending the Ayurvedic training at the Asheville Yoga Center a few weeks ago, I’ve been fascinated with all things to do with Ayurveda. The doctor who ran our training mentioned that his practice was kicking off a 10-day Spring Cleanse (which started yesterday), and I was interested, but not sure if I could do it based on my past history. All I could think of was everything I’d have to give up. My friend and fellow yoga teacher, Ashley (who went to the training in Asheville with me), said she was interested in it as well, and that we should sign up and participate together.
Again, like other things in my life lately, I took this as a sign that the Universe was trying to tell me I couldn’t ignore this, so I decided to sign up and give it a go.
This cleanse is not just about the food part. It incorporates healthy, vegetarian meals for 10 days, all of which are specific to my particular needs/issues (based on a survey I filled out prior to the start). It also encourages a variety of Ayurvedic practices which lead to a healthy routine, and it was cool to see that I am already doing a couple of these things pretty regular (dry skin brushing and tongue scraping, for example). And finally, it incorporates a yoga practice suitable for this time of year. There’s a great Facebook page for participants, so we can communicate with each other and share our experience, and there will be a total of 4 live calls throughout the 10 days, the first of which was yesterday. If you are interested in learning more about this cleanse, go to Dr. Scott Blossom’s Web site, and click the “Spring Community Cleanse” link in the top list of scrolling pictures.
As I reviewed all the recipes, the suggested routines, and the suggested yoga style, I became super excited. I had to wait until today to officially start, as I didn’t have the final recipes until late Saturday night. I completed my grocery shopping yesterday, and I spent several hours last night getting as much prep work done as I could so that I have no excuse not to do what I need to do. I am the QUEEN of excuses, so I needed to ensure I sabotaged my attempts to sabotage. 🙂
(Check out my Colorful Grain Bowl, which was my lunch today…I topped it with Black Sesame Seeds and Alfalfa Sprouts…yum!)
I had no trouble completing my morning routine today, and I feel amazing already! Of course, I think it helped that I did some prepping through last week, because I knew I was going to be caffeine-free during this time. So I spent last week weaning off the morning coffee, drinking less and less each day. I am a TAD bit tired today, but I can’t expect EVERYTHING to be roses, now can I? That’s OK…my yummy dinner of homemade Asparagus soup made up for my it. Check it out…doesn’t it look delicious???
I’m only teaching one yoga class this week, my Chillax Yoga Flow, and we’ll be doing a practice that is suitable for this time of year. In the Spring, it’s important to have an invigorating and stimulating practice, which will help improve sluggish digestion, aid in the detox process, encourage the lymph to move, and prevent congestion.
If you can’t make it to class, try it out at home. Here’s what I plan on doing…I’m happy to answer any questions you may have about the poses.
- Warm up with a few poses that move the spine in all 6 directions
- Add some poses that loosen up the ankles, wrists, neck, shoulders and hips. Simple “joint rolls” work awesome!
- Make sure to incorporate Knees-to-Chest Pose, which will help to stimulate the large intestine…this aids in detoxification.
- Sun Salutations (These help pump prana through the body, which brings in more oxygen and encourages sweating…sweating helps with the detox process.)
Vinyasa Portion (continue moving through this portion keeping your sweat going…try holding each pose for 3-5 breaths)
- Twisting Chair (twisting helps to detoxify the organs and strengthen metabolic fire)
- Revolved Crescent Lunge (another twist…let’s get that detox going!)
- Crescent Lunge
- Warrior 2
- Peaceful Warrior
- Extended Side Angle
- Revolved Side Angle (yet another twist…get the idea now?)
- Grounded Airplane
- Standing Splits
- Repeat entire sequence with the opposite leg leading
Transition Between Vinyasa and Yin (stay in these poses for 45-60 seconds)
- Camel Pose (Backbends are energizing and revitalizing…critical for when we may be a bit more sluggish)
- Rabbit Pose (This pose will help to tone the kidneys and the bladder, which regulate water and emotions in the body.)
- Child’s Pose (Try making two fists and placing them in the soft part of your abdomen before folding all the way into the pose…this will help to improve digestion.)
Yin Portion (Spend 3 minutes in each of the following poses)
- Sphinx (This is another nice backbend to bring some energy and vitality)
- Caterpillar (This is very much like Seated Forward Fold, but there is no muscle energy happening here. This pose will help to tone the kidneys and the bladder, which regulate water and emotions in the body.)
- Half Butterfly (In Yin, this looks like Janu Sirsasana…but again, there is no muscle energy in the Yin version. If you choose, you can twist in this pose, which gives you yet another detox opportunity.)
- Square Pose (This is like Firelog Pose, but again, there is no muscle energy in the Yin version. If this is uncomfortable for your knees, you can do a simple cross-legged seated pose…the idea here is to loosen the hips and the back).
- Savasana (Spend at least 5 minutes in this pose, taking the opportunity to notice how rejuvenated you now feel.)