What is all the hubbub about springtime cleansing? Well, in Ayurveda we call these seasonal changes the “glitches” that can either create havoc or help us swim with ease in the river of life.

So how do you know when you need to cleanse?

Here are a few hints…

• When we move from the cold, rough, hard, icy, cold winter to the wet, heavy, cool and dense and gooey spring we can see our bodies express this change with various symptoms.

• Seasonal Allergies Why? Moving from the light and dry winter to the heavy and wet spring will create issues if we are imbalanced. Those imbalances show up in a variety of symptoms. The most common are spring allergies that bring mucous-related issues. Tissues, wet cough, post nasal drip or stuffy noses…all signs of excess kapha or springtime qualities.

• Inflammation issues Wait, if this is a meeting of Vata and Kapha how can it profit a Pitta or inflammation imbalance? Well, when we are dehydrated, fatigued and hit a wall (heavy energy of kapha) we will see swelling. This means “itis”—sinusitis, gastritis, ear infections, eye stys, and uncomfortable joints or headaches,

• Sleep Issues Either way, feeling sluggish and lethargic so all you want to do is sleep, or an ability to sleep by the buildup of winter qualities that can spike our anxiety and stress response.

• Weight Gain Yep, our digestion will move from taking sweet tastes to support building and supporting tissues all winter to taking astringent, bitter and pungent tastes that are the boon of the seasonal harvest of spring. These tastes help us detoxify and lighten up. However, the excess sweet mixed with the heavy quality of Spring can create sluggish digestion. This means we are less likely to detoxify and often get clogged drains (John Douillard) or lymph. When the lymph tissue is clogged, the digestion is slow, we gain weight, water retention or fat tissue.

So ayurveda recommends this as the ideal time of year to cleanse. The concept of cleansing is a specific idea in ayurveda, to detoxify the Vata elements—light, dry, hard, rough and mobile qualities of winter so we can embrace the inherent qualities of spring with greater ease. This is not done by starving. This is done with creating a mono diet with specific spices and herbs, teas and practices that support healthy detoxifying. More to come on cleansing