Ah Spring……..tulips, daffodils, budding trees, the promise of a new beginning, a feeling of freshness in the air……
From an Ayurvedic perspective, Spring is the perfect time to begin anew – to clear from our digestive system the undigested “stuff” that we have accumulated in there. We might not even realize we have “stuff” that is not allowing us to assimilate and then digest as well as we could…..but most likely that “stuff” is there! It’s this stuck stuff we want to clear out by doing a Spring cleanse – kind of like what you do when you clean out your closet – get rid of what has been lingering around so there is more space for what you really want and need in there.
The ayurvedic term for this “stuff” is ama. On a physical level, food that is not properly assimilated and then digested turns into a sticky, icky toxic substance called ama. It’s the leftover residue from food we have taken in that has not been properly digested. And – while ama is not toxic in the sense of poisoning you right away – according to Ayurveda – ama is the root cause of many diseases. It is what creates “dis ease” in our bodies.
Ama may be present if you experience any of these symptoms –
A feeling of heaviness or dullness
Constipation, diarrhea or gas/gas pains
Bad breath or have a thick coating on your tongue
Generalized body aches/stiffness
And – if that wasn’t bad enough – ama may also be the residue from undigested or unprocessed mental and/or emotional experiences – “food” on a mental level – and may create mental ama.
Add the above on the list of reasons why doing a Spring cleanse is so important! Springtime is the ideal time to clear out this stuff – to care for and cleanse both body and mind. A gentle spring cleanse will help us to transition from the cold of winter and the dampness of spring. It will create a fresh beginning so we can then move into the intensity of summer feeling vital and refreshed!
I’ll use the analogy of a kitchen sink – many times we just keep stuffing stuff down into the dreamstime_s_16855390plumbing. But if what is put in there is not getting properly ground up or not moving thru efficiently, at some point the system gets bogged down and stops working the way that it should. Our digestive process is more complex – but I think you can see my point.
During a spring cleanse, we intentionally give our digestion a break by eating a simple mono-diet of mung beans with white rice that we season with fresh vegetables, delicious spices along with adding nourishing oil or ghee to the mix. This short digestive break helps us clear out the “stuff” we have accumulated in our gut and will bring our digestion into a more optimal balance. It is also a time to nurture ourself on a mental, emotional and energetic level – taking time to slow down, reflect on our lives, our habits, practice self care that nourishes us from the outside in, while we are practicing dietary self care thru the simplicity of our food. Also helps us to begin to see our relationship to food – do we really eat because we are hungry? Do I eat to fill an emotional void? Eat certain foods when I am stressed to comfort me? All interesting things to consider…….
To find more information on doing an Ayurvedic Spring cleanse – check out kathryntempleton.com. Kathryn offers an online spring cleanse and her newsletter lists many Spring cleanse classes being done by Himalayan Institute Ayurvedic Yoga Specialists around the country. Yoga International also offers information on Ayurveda and Spring Cleansing.
You can join me at Shri Life Yoga in Palm Beach Gardens FL March 13 or March 15 for our Spring Cleanse class. Happy Spring and good health to you!