You know the New Year has arrived when the advertisements for detoxes and cleanses start to come out (present company included). Everyone’s ready to wash off the old year and try on the new.

And that’s not a bad thing… necessarily.

Cleansing is a critical part of the Ayurvedic approach to creating health and healing disease. It’s been around so long because it’s practical… and feels oh so good!

Ayurveda recommends that you cleanse at the change of seasons (when we’re most vulnerable to disease) and sometimes prescribes it as a first step to more a more involved disease treatment regimen.

These days there are more types of detoxes out there than you can shake a green smoothie at! From all water to all juice to raw food to cleanses that focus entirely on the bowels (fun!) or other parts of the body. Cleansing has become a big fat diverse discipline (and business).

So…I can imagine that choosing a cleanse or detox program can be challenging… at best

 Let me make it easy for you.

When it’s time to choose your cleansing program this season (or whenever) ask yourself these key questions:

  •  Will this cleanse deplete me – Last thing you want is for a cleanse to leave you feeling weak and worn out. If it’s right for you a cleanse should leave you feeling clean, clear and energised. If your body/mind are already in a weakened state (due to illness or some other issue) consider programs that will nourish rather than strip the body bare.
  •  Does this program clean what needs to be cleaned – Many cleanses out there work entirely on the body, and while that’s definitely a start, it’s important to acknowledge that your mind and environment play a HUGE part in your experience of heavy or lightness.   I like to think of it this way… cleansing with no regard to your environment (home/work space), thinking or emotions is like washing your car but never changing the oil. Nuf said.
  •  Can I do this right now – There’s nothing more enticing than the idea of clearing the slate. Loosing weight, feeling lighter, cleaner and more energized and ready to take on whatever life can throw at you. Awesome! Remember none of this happens without work and time on your part. So when making your choice, whether it’s a 3-day, 10-day or 30+-day program, consider how you’ll integrate the detox into your life so that you have the best chance of achieving the results you want.

 Ayurveda (in her infinite wisdom and practicality) also recommends that you incorporate detoxification practices into your regular routine (you know a little like cleaning your shower weekly instead of quarterly – you get the picture).

 So with that in mind here’s an approach to regular cleansing that employs all of your senses (which according to Ayurveda are the bridge between the mind body and soul) and takes just a few minutes a day!

  1. Reduce the Sights – Cut back on computer, television and phone usage even just for a few minutes a day. Take regular breaks in your work today to “look away, look away!” – close the eyes or find some nature to look at.
  2. Clear the Sounds – Take off those head phones, turn the radio off in the car or at home. Savour the sounds of silence for a few minutes or more a day.
  3. Simplify the Tastes – Try warm water with lemon in the morning (this is great for cleansing the palate and activating the digestion). Try simple clean flavors. Forget about salt and sugar for a meal or a day and allow the natural flavors of foods to come through. Take a moment to notice what the foods actually taste like.
  4. Strip away the Touch – Try garshan (Ayurvedic dry massage) or dry brushing the skin. It’s great for removing dead skin layers and is crazy-invigorating! Once you’re done you can revitalize the skin with a light layer of oil.
  5. Clarify the Smells – According to Ayurveda the nose is the pathway to the soul (why not keep it sparkling!). Regular neti pot usage is great for keeping nasal passages clean and clear (and for preventing allergies, colds and flu). You can also try essential oils. Lemon, orange, rosemary, and cedarwood are great scents for clarifying the body and mind.

Lighten up and enjoy!

So are YOU cleansing this season? What’s your favorite detox practice? AND how does cleansing make you feel? Share in the comments!

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