A cleanse or detox is best done in the autumn or in the spring when the weather is neither too hot nor too cold. It’s a chance to rest and reset the mind and body. The ideal length of time for a cleanse or detox really depends on the person. I suggest three to five days.
An ayurvedic cleanse works on all levels of the being – physical, emotional, psychological and even spiritual. Quiet time and rest is key. Physical and mental activity during a cleanse is meant to be kept at a minimum. The food plan is also intended to be simple and easy to digest. This way energy is directed towards rejuvenation and healing. It’s important to reduce responsibilities and if possible, take time off work. Think of this as a stay-at-home vacation. If you can get away from your normal routine and be in the country, that’s even better.
Take the time to prepare, schedule and plan for your cleanse. If you need a personalized cleanse to address specific concerns, I suggest making an appointment with an ayurvedic practitioner.
Here is a simple tridoshic cleanse perfect for autumn:
Vegetable detox soup (see below) or stewed apples and pears / apple sauce; herbal tea; green juice – see recipes for green juices; If you can’t take time off work, then reduce workload and responsibilities as much as possible and eat kitchari instead – recipe below.
Vegetable Detox Soup – Broth is easy to digest and cleansing – recipe from Vaidya Anita Sharma
• 2 c water
• 1 c broccoli (chopped)
• leek (chopped)
• 1 c peas (fresh or frozen)
• 1 c swiss chard (chopped)
• ½ c fennel (chopped)
• ½ c parsley (chopped)
• 5 garlic cloves
• 1 c green cabbage (chopped)
• 1“ ginger (freshly grated)
• pinch cayenne pepper
• pinch salt
Put everything into a pot & bring to a boil. Then simmer for 15-20 mins. Strain and drink broth only or blend.
Take Triphala ¼ tsp 3x a day or ½ tsp am & pm with good amount of warm water. It’s a tridoshic (good for everyone) herbal blend for cleansing.
Other herbs – optional:
• VATA for nervous system: Bramari ¼ – ½ tsp in water at night and/or ashwaganda ¼- ½ tsp am & pm
• PITTA For liver: Milkthistle in capsule (2 x 500 mg am – first thing) or Kutki 1-2 capsules (500 mg) am;
• KAPHA for congestion: ½ tsp Triphala Guggul am & pm; Trikut may also be good.
REST & LET GO
• Reduce mental work and pressure – best to take time off work and computer*;
• Rest – go to bed before 10 pm; Take naps if needed;
• Yoga Nidra– deep yogic rest or a long savasana (Richard Miller has fantastic guided Yoga Nidra practices);
• Letting go exercise: Write out all your frustrations, worries and fears on paper. Be brutally honest –even curse and swear. Dig deep and get out all your emotions. Then, as safely as possible, burn the pages as a symbolic release. Do this daily, maybe even twice a day, during your cleanse.
MEDITATION & BREATHING
• Meditation morning and evening – download a 30 min guided meditation;
• Om chanting, prayer and/or expressions of gratitude and devotion;
• Pranyama Breathing: Alternate Nostril Breathing & Kapalabhati 4 x 50 per day – download instructions;
• Ayurvedic self massage – instructions via Chopra Centre
• Journal about your dreams, desires, and the things you love and appreciate in life;
• Artistic pursuits: draw, write, paint, knit, etc.
• Read uplifting or spiritual texts (jnana yoga).
• Walk in nature – particularly soothing for Pitta;
• Gentle Yoga – download the pawan muktasana series for joint mobility;
• Ayurvedic Massage & Shirodhara is recommended.
Best to ease back into responsibilities and work. For food, I recommend keeping the diet simple for several days after cleansing. Eat small meals. Having kitchari, a stew of lentils and rice, is ideal an transition meal. Here’s a kitchari recipe, also inspired by my teacher Anita Sharma:
• 1 c split mung beans or red lentils (soak for 1 hr before)
• 2 c rice or quinoa (or 1 c quinoa & 1 c barley for kapha)
• 4 1/2 c water
• 3/4 tsp sea salt & black pepper
• 1 tbsp freshly ground cumin
• 1 tbsp freshly ground coriander seeds
• 1 tbsp freshly ground fennel seeds
• 1 tbsp turmeric
• Optional: pinch of hing for Vata; or pinch of cayenne pepper for Kapha
• Desired veggies – chopped (add leafy greens at the end)
Put everything into a pot & bring to a boil. Then cover & let simmer for on Low for ~45mins. You may enjoy with 1-2tsp of ghee (clarified butter) or plain yogurt can also be good with this dish.
Good luck! Let me know how it goes.