HOW SEASONAL CLEANSING THE AYURVEDIC WAY CHANGED MY LIFE
Good Morning! Jenn and Amanda here. Over the past year we've made seasonal cleansing a part of our lifestyle. That means that at the juncture of every season we take anywhere from 5-14 days to re-set our systems. Outwardly, it can seem mainly physical...making better food choices to help optimize our digestion and being more mindful about our movement. BUT we also re-set our minds, spirits, and souls by slowing down, coming back to our meditation and breathing practices, and engaging in more self-care rituals. We started last summer, made our way through fall, and just wrapped up a 14-day holistic winter renewal. We spend 5-7 days preparing- cleaning up our diet, reaching for more nutritious options, meal prepping and menu planning. The next 1-3 days are spent giving our digestive systems a break from overly complex food combinations by opting for easy to digest foods (warming soups, healing kitchari, and a variety of juices). Our guide, Claire of Vidya, gives us tons of recipes. The purification stage involves eating kitchari (an ayurvedic preparation of rice and mung beans mixed with a ton of healing spices) and we've done variations where we incorporate fresh juices throughout our day. Afterwards, we spend 5-7 days easing our digestive systems back to whole foods by being really mindful about what we reintegrate back onto our plates.
Detoxes and cleanses can sound harsh, and when done improperly with minimal guidance or preparation, they can definitely cause imbalances in the mind, body, and spirit. When we are driven by this idea that we are "toxic" or are desperate to lose weight, we often fall victim to those gimmicky "results in 3 days!" methods. Ayurveda, the holistic medical system considered the sister-science of yoga, encourages a more gentle approach. Ayurvedic philosophy teaches us that, ideally, we cleanse every season because it allows us to get in sync with the rhythms of nature and in turn assists us in becoming more tune with our own bodies. It's amazing how nature sets us up to maintain balance from within. Many places in the world, have a natural balance between light and darkness, encouraging us to dedicate equal time to rest and restore as we do to being productive. During our cleanses we try to eat earlier, lighter dinners (ideally by sunset) and be in bed by 10 (9 would be a dream!). Even different foods are available at different times of the year, giving us the opportunity to appreciate how each season gives us different sources of nutrition. We now look forward to incorporating new ingredients at the turn of each season and love cooking with seasonal foods that are at the peak of their freshness.
Our Ayurveda, Alignment, and Yoga Retreat offering is all about approaching food, movement, and life from a balanced place. On the food front, we've collaborated with Claire Ragozzino of Vidya, an Ayurvedic-inspired, plant-based chef. She not only has been the culinary genius behind all of our retreat menus, but has also been the goddess that has guided us through all of our seasonal cleanses this past year. She often talks about shifting your diet and lifestyle in a positive way by adding things that are more nutritious and beneficial instead of focusing on what you're excluding and eliminating.
Here at IWR, we're always looking for ways to eat more nourishing foods, bring down stress levels and find more balance in our day-to-day. Thus, we've committed to the slow, steady, consistent lifestyle changes, as opposed to trying to radically overhaul our lives and diets. Gradual changes inherently take more time and a whole lot more patience, BUT the results feel that much more fulling! Jenn is going to take it from here explaining her 9 month journey with seasonal cleansing and the 3 "upgrades" that have made the biggest impact on her life thus far...Enjoy!
Jenn here! As an event planner my schedule changes almost everyday. Creating consistency with my daily health and wellness habits has been an ever present challenge for me. When it comes to routine, I love a warm cup of coffee to start my day and a great glass of wine is one of my favorite ways to end the day. However, I am also committed to making lifestyle shifts that overtime replenish and revitalize me vs deplete and break me down. The upgrades I've been working towards this past year have given me more consistent energy levels throughout the day and made me feel more in tune with my body. Overall, I feel a sense of just being more present and authentic in my day-to-day. Don’t worry, glasses of wine still end many days… but not all of them :) Below are my 3 favorite upgrades that have changed my life this year.
No. 1 | Start my day with warm lemon water
In Ayurveda, we focus on self-care rituals, especially in the morning. This creates a routine that has the power to balance your mind and body and fight disease. Drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning helps to cleanse your body of the prior day and prepare it for the day ahead. Lemons have strong antibacterial and antiviral properties and can help detoxify and cleanse your liver. The warm temperature of the water also allows your body to process the liquid more easily. Aside from all of the physical health benefits, I also find that mentally it prepares me for the client projects and travel demands that often fill my days. I practice the simplicity of being present and within this stillness I can better enjoy the beauty of each morning – This is a tip I got from Amanda and I love it!
No. 2| Trade coffee for fresh juice in the morning
My only routine….coffee in the morning…or so I said. Now after my lemon water, it's fresh pressed juices made from fruit, veggies, or whatever is laying around! It gives me longer lasting energy throughout the day and makes me feel like I start the day doing something good for my body. The coffee, though delicious, gave me too much of a high and then a low around mid-morning. The juice makes for a consistent and fresh start to my day.
No. 3| Enjoy a home-based yoga practice
I always made excuses for bailing out on my yoga practice because of my busy travel schedule. Now with YouTube and Podcasts, it’s easy to bring my practice with me where ever I go. Even if I don’t have the patience to do a full hour sequence, I try to do a few poses and stretches every day. Some days I head outside and stretch, other days I just flow to my own playlist messing around with different transitions to see what works and what doesn’t. It's easy to rely on others to guide you and we all make excuses for why we don't move more. I am realizing how empowering it is to take more responsibility for my day-to-day yoga practice and am now so much more grateful for those opportunities when I can make it to a class and experience a well thought out sequence with more guidance.