This is packed with all sorts of information on how to do a fall cleanse and some basic Ayurveda concepts to to help you along the way. Enjoy.
Fall Equinox Blessings to you. What does the Equinox mean really? It is when the Northern and Southern hemispheres experience equal amounts of daylight and darkness. And marks the beginning of the fall season for us here in the Northern hemisphere.
These seasonal shifts can teach us about balance when we slow and take it in.
In Ayurveda Ritucharya is the seasonal practice when we shift our daily practices of diet and routine to meet the ever-changing elements of nature.
Fall is the season of vata and the elements are ether + air. Vata’s qualities are, light dry, rough, cool, and mobile.
During this time of the year, we are working to balance the shifting of heat that is leaving our body and those qualities of the summer/pitta season with the contrast of that of fall/vata season.
How do we do that? With a short seasonal cleanse. Wait, what?! I know, know, you didn’t sign up for this. No worries. If this idea of a seasonal cleanse is new to you start with a day or just simply shifting your daily routine to reflect the seasonal change.
· Aids in better digestion
· Supports better sleep
· Reduces the accumulation of heat from summer that may be causing inflammation
· Help to strengthen immune system – decrease ama in the body
· Often improves energy
This is a great way to prep the body and mind for the coming colder months of winter and to help build immunity buy reducing ama that may have accumulated over the summer month. Simply put, a buildup of excess toxins/ama that now needs to be release and cleansed out.
But what is ama? Ama is “undigested” food. You know the coating on your tongue? That’s ama. It also can be fatigue, congestion
If you’d like to give a cleanse a try keep reading OR skip to the bottom for a delicious Kitchari recipe and upcoming shop-update info.
Fall Cleanse How Too
Your cleanse can be anywhere from 1-7 days, it is up to you.
Here is what a fall cleanse could like:
Prep – 2 days (or more depending on your time)
Actual Cleanse – 2 days
Reestablish – 1 days (2-3 days if cleanse is longer)
The Prep –
· This is where you mentally and physically prep for you cleanse. I don’t know about you but I need to mentally get my mind ready to dedicate time and space for a cleanse. This takes discipline. Also, you need to go shop for you items, prep your menu, plan how you’ll take meals to work, and change your daily schedule to make extra time for meal prep.
Actual Cleanse –
· This is up to you and how long you’d like to cleanse. For fall I’d say no more than 7days. The longer your cleanse phase the longer your reestablish phase will be so keep this in mind. You are working to clear toxins and boost your digestion/agni.
· You may need to plan around any family gatherings that are planned or special events if you can.
Reestablish Phase –
· Do not skip this phase. You’ve done the work to cleanse, clear, get rid of toxins so go slow when adding more dense seasonal foods back into your diet. Work to eat local and what is in season. Not always easy to do. Try to aim for 80/20 rule when eating this way.
Now that you’ve completed the cleanse remember to take your cue from nature. Slow down as fall progresses. As the leaves drop and the weather gets colder, nourish yourself with warm soups and hot drinks. Like attracts like. If you find the buildup of mucus and are feeling the scratchy throat take a look at the qualities of what you are eating or is it warm, soft, smooth, liquid, as opposed to dry, rough, hard or light. The later are qualities of vata which we want to counter. This also goes for what you read, watch, and those you interact with, deep I know. It’s all digestion of one type or another. One step at a time.
What to eat on your cleanse – example of a day is at the bottom with recipes.
Easy to digest simple foods are best during this time. Following are some basics:
· Fresh vegetables (local if you can)
· Fresh fruit (local in season)
· Whole grains – barley, basmati rice…
· Nuts/seeds – raw almons, pumpkin & sunflower seeds
· Homemade soups, khichuri, smoothies (yes if done correctly it can be OK – not frozen)
What we are leaving out for 3-5 days:
· Frozen foods
· Processed food
Warm/hot water with lemon first thing in the morning. – why? It helps to stock your Agni, digestive juices. So, this is a really important step each morning when you wake up before you eat.
CCF, cardamom, cumin, and fennel tea throughout the day will continue to stock your Agni/digesting and help with the cleanse. So, keep a pot of this brewed every day so you can sip on it. If working outside of the home then fill a thermos. You can find these whole seed spices at your local grocery store or through me.
15 – 20 min - Vata reducing gentle yoga practice
· Seated postures with hands touching the earth
· Standing postures that are slow moving and rooting
· Forward folds
· Savasana/resting corps pose – long 10-15 min
Meditation & Pranayama – Helps to anchor the vata and ease with the transition of the season.
· Alternating nostril breath 9 rounds
· 5-10 min of meditation
Snack on raw peeled almonds, dates and fresh seasonal fruit in between meals. Do not eat fruit with meals.
Sip on CCF tea through the day or other warming herbal teas.
Example of a Day –
· Breakfast – Hot Barley/Rice Cereal warming spices add honey to sweeten and ghee OR Green smoothie (above)
· Lunch – Kitchari – add roasted veggies or add veggies to kitchari while cooking
· Dinner – vegetable soup of some sort
Recipes and extra information are found by subscribing to my newsletter.
If you’re interested in working with me and learning the foundations of Ayurveda and how this ancient practice can help click the link below.