So we are just a few days past Christmas and already I have had a number of conversations about how to cleanse in January. It seems to be part of our cultural pulsation that we somewhat overdo it during the holiday season and then get serious about our fitness and health in January. To support you in making lifestyle shifts that will support your overall health and wellness this year I’d like to offer the following tips on how to cleanse safely and comfortably in January, keeping in mind that seasonal cleansing is ideally done in Spring and Fall when nature supports us in eating lighter. We are still in the midst of deep winter (in the Northern Hemisphere) in January which means we are still deep in the Vata (cold & dry) season. This means that staying nourished, eating high quality fats and not stressing our digestive systems with cold and raw foods is important for overall health. These guidelines offer some very simple tools that can support you in releasing excess and up leveling your overall wellness though the next month without provoking imbalance.
- Boil a kettle of water each morning and pour it over thinly sliced ginger or turmeric root and add fresh squeezed lemon juice. Pour this into a thermos and sip it throughout the day.
- Plan your meals for the day (or even the week) ahead of time so that you are less likely to make unconscious choices when you are feeling hungry or tired.
- Buy yourself a crock pot and make fresh soup or stew every other day to support your digestion and warm you from the inside out.
- Eat whole cooked grains with ghee, bean or meat stews, or omelets to start your day with a good dose of fat and protein, otherwise consider green smoothies a lighter breakfast- just add lots of fresh ginger and avoid frozen fruit so you don’t chill your digestive fire.
- Eat more veggies, favoring dark leafy greens such as kale and collards, root vegetables and winter squash. Try cooked spiced apple sauce for a sweet treat when needed, but avoid tropical fruits.
- Buy yourself a big bottle of extra virgin coconut oil and make a batch of ghee so you have healthy fats on hand as your body does need more of it this time of year. Use these fats in your smoothies, on your cooked grains, or in your soups to nourish you deeply without congesting your system.
- Avoid refined sugars, processed foods, white flour, hydrogenated oils and fast food.
- Avoid dairy products and excessive amounts of meat or poultry.
- Try green tea instead of coffee for the time you are cleansing if you feel you can’t go entirely without caffeine.
- Avoid alcohol and intoxicants. It is almost impossible to make lasting change if you don’t have a clear mind and your body will be more able to process ama or toxins if you can avoid these substances.
- Move your body every day. Do yoga, swim, run, ski, surf, or hike. Don’t be afraid to get a good sweat going.
- Meditate every day even if it’s only for 5 minutes each morning and evening. Clearing your mind of excess is key to releasing excess in the subtle channels of your body and will allow you to stabilize new and more positive habits.
- Go to bed earlier (before 10pm ideally) and get up earlier (by 7am if possible).
- Don’t eat past 7pm at night. Sip tea, broth, or warmed spiced almond milk if you feel too hungry too sleep.
- Give yourself and Oil Massage each day to stimulate circulation and soothe your senses.
- Rest consciously when you are tired but avoid napping as it increases Kapha dosha and congestion in the body and mind. If you are tired just go to bed earlier.
- Overall take in less. Less media, less food, less noise, less activity. Give yourself space to feel what is arising and enjoy simplicity.
If you’d like more support and want to take on a more structured cleanse check out my Yoga For Life program starting on January 5th!
As well please feel free to ask questions in the comment section below or email me at any time if you want to chat.
Here’s to a healthy and clear transition into 2012!