Calm, Clear & Inspired: Detoxing in January

This morning I woke up earlier than usual, and scraped the frost off my car under the light of a still bring waning moon_mountainsmoon in a clear, starlit sky, so that I could make it to the studio for Julia McCabe’s January Detox Series. Julia is a longtime Sea to Sky yogini who has been teaching, traveling, and studying yoga for over a decade. I love her powerful classes which are a perfect blend of focused stillness, fluid movement,  and fiery strength so I was super excited when I heard she was offering a three week early morning series designed to detox our winter heavy bodies and minds.  As we gathered close to open our class in the pre-dawn darkness this morning she looked at us (with her sneaky little smile) and said “ I am really excited about 2013″…..and this is where she really got my attention….. “ I think it’s because I have such a sharp vision for this next year”. And I thought YES! Exactly.
We all know this is the time of making resolutions and impassioned vows to get healthier, and though I am all for folks getting healthier and more active, I have found that if we come at it from a place of trying to make up for the sins of overindulgence we often fail at creating lasting change and can exhaust, deplete, and disappoint ourselves. Because the truth is that January is not a time for extreme cleansing or aggressive exercising. According to Ayurvedic wisdom we are still in the darker time of the year meant for nourishing and restoring and stronger cleansing is ideal when the land and our blood heats up in springtime.  However January is a great time to dream big, nourish desire, and vision the future. And if we then bring into being practices, rituals, routines, and relationships that take us in the direction of our dreams and visions than we will find that the habits and attitudes that are not nourishing us will generally fall away on their own. So when Julia said she had a sharp vision I caught her excitement too, and it made me want to reach further as I could feel the momentum of her vision and it made all my own heaviness, doubt, and distraction fall away.
Because this can be such an ideal time of year to create more clarity in your life I have included some tips for “detoxing” your inner and outer environments so that there will be an increased feeling of spaciousness in your life, and some room to receive inspiration and insight.
Cleansing Your Outer Environment

  • Get rid of clutter. Go through closets and drawers, clean off your desk and get rid of anything un-needed.
  • Go through your clothes and give away anything you really won’t wear again.
  • Clean up your inbox. Unsubscribe from any newsletters you don’t read and deal with unanswered mail.
  • Organize your paperwork and file folders so you know what needs attention and what has been dealt with.
  • Clean up your kitchen. Go through the fridge and cupboards and get rid of “foods” that don’t nourish you or that have been collecting dust. Organize your spice rack and make room for new ideas.
  • Throw out all the old toiletries and other junk that collects in your bathroom drawers and medicine cabinet. You won’t miss it, I promise.
  • Give away all the books you are never going to read. (and buy yourself one that inspires you!)

 Cleansing Your Inner Environment

  • Commit to meditating each morning for at least 10 minutes. And when you’ve done that for a month add another 10 minutes at the end of your day. Minds get cluttered just like junk drawers and a cluttered mind is rarely an inspired mind.
  • Create guidelines about how much screen time and media time you want to engage in each day. We live in an era of information overload. Make space for silence.
  • Don’t overdo anything. Slow down and resist filling every minute with activity.
  • Do yoga!! Move your body each day and get a sweat going. This is the best way to clear sluggish lymph, detox your blood, and stimulate your digestive system so that it can process food quickly and efficiently and release wastes.
  • Eat clean. Focus on whole foods that are in season such as root vegetables and squashes, and nourishing foods such as whole grains, nuts, beans, and good quality fats. This will allow your body to release toxic buildup while still providing the warmth and nourishment you need. For more on this watch my Winter Wisdom Webinar.

 Get Inspired

  • Hang out with inspiring people. I’ve heard it said we are an average of the five people we hang out with most. If that makes you despair than renew your commitment to spend more time in good company with folks that encourage you to be your best self.
  • Read uplifting literature.  You don’t have to give up your romance or crime novels but add in some texts that shift your perspective, especially if you are a student (or teacher!!) of yoga, which I am assuming you are if you are reading my blog. Some of my favorites are The Bhagavad Gita, The Yoga Sutras, and The Upanishads.
  • Spend time in nature and re-connect to your sense of wonder and awe.
  • Meditate. Really. Just do it.