October 29, 2012

5 Essential Tips for A Successful Seasonal Cleanse. {Bonus: sample detox recipes}

It might sound lame, but the first thing that came to my mind when I signed up for an online detox was losing the final extra five (or so) stubborn pounds.

I am not sure why most of my female friends and students think they need to lose any pounds, but nonetheless…I’ve been working hard to cultivate mindfulness and positive change in my life’s patterns, ever since I embarked on the path of  transformation as a yoga student.

But, sometimes the old patterns (samskaras) do resurface—and just like weeds in my garden, recently two of these not-so-healthy patterns—kleshas (obstacles)—came into full bloom once again.

One of the kleshas is to overload on activities.

I had barely learned how to ride a bike when, instead of my planned 10 minute journey, I ended up cycling for three solid hours, only to tumble off the bike and hurt one of my chest muscles. My accident left me sore and not able to do anything active for a while—not clever!

Anyway, with lots of practice, I’ve been learning how to work with my injuries and adjust my routine—as I’m sure many of you have experienced, however, the second I stop exercising, I find myself indulging in mindless self-pity—my second klesha.

With all that happening in my life, the time to cleanse was perfect!

Don’t get me wrong, the body has a robust mechanism for cleansing and digesting; it’s just that we tend to overload ourselves with toxic air, food, products and thoughts. So, if you have never cleansed before, I would recommend an easy cleanse to start with.

Please consult your doctor if you have any health issues; and you should definitely educate yourself as much as you can and do your own homework, before you get started on a program.

Another very important part to cleansing is to keep reflecting on how you feel throughout the cleanse and adjust what you’re doing accordingly.

The cleansing guidelines below were adapted from Vixi and remixed by me.

1) Intention

Source via Julie on Pinterest

Most important of all is to have a clear intention to help you steer clear of distractions. Also, it’s wise to give yourself a few days before and after to ease gently into and emerge out of detox.


* Blender
* Juicer
* Pressure Cooker


* Epsom Salt
* Body Brush
* Coconut Oil
* Tongue scraper

2) Preparation (aka the grocery list)

Source: Isabelle on Pinterest

The on-line program provided the grocery shopping list; in addition, I made use of any seasonal veggies and fruits I already had lying around. Most of the juices require cucumbers, celery and apple as a base but on top of that I had fun mixing a variety of veggies and experimenting.

One of the most important functions in our body is digestion. As Ashley mentioned during her program, most people skip this step—but when it comes to the ability to digest food, our food habits are just as important as our food choices. The deliberate actions of slowing down, remaining present, eliminating distractions and saying grace increase the body’s ability to fully digest what we’re eating.

It also allows us to focus on the sensations of hunger or fullness—ideally, we want to eat only until we feel 3/4 full. As you’re probably picking up, cleansing is basically just like the practice of yoga!

3) Establishing daily rituals

* Wake up a bit earlier than you normally do (as part of your practice). Ideally, I would recommend as early as five-to-five-thirty in the morning, but I can see for some people this could be a bit too early. So, depending on your schedule, just make sure you allow yourself some time before you rush out of the door.

* Dry brushing/oil massage

* Drink one liter of lemon water upon waking; for a change, try mixing it with two tablespoons of crystal pink salt

* Eat at the same time every day


Photo: Anna Sheinman

4) Morning yoga practice

I strongly believe that your practice should be individualized. It is much better to do less than more, as long as it’s daily. Yoga practice should be well-rounded (i.e.: asana (physical), pranayama (breathing) and the appropriate meditation). Consult your teacher to find the right balance (doing very different things day-to-day isn’t the best way to care for your mind).


5) Winding down

Wind down with an Epsom salt bath; run a bath at room temperature, mix in two cups of Epsom salts and soak for 15 minutes.

Before bed, take about 15 minutes to journal your thoughts—this doesn’t have to be a long process, just notice whatever comes to mind and do a short meditation practice (again, this is best provided by a teacher). Try to go to bed no later than 10 p.m. to really make the most of your beauty sleep.

Here are a few sample detox recipes, adapted from Vixi:

 Breakfast: Green juice, 9 a.m.: 16 to 20 ounces of Urban Zen:

*two-three large romaine leaves
*two leaves kale
*one green apple
*one stalk fennel
*one stalk celery
*one cucumber
*¼ yellow pepper
*three oz baby spinach

Mid-morning pick-me-up (around 11 a.m.): 16 to 20 ounces of Happy Buddha:

*four large carrots
*two oranges, peeled
*one lime, peeled
*½ inch ginger
*six mint leaves

And lastly, I really enjoyed my very own signature, easy-to-make soup (around 6 p.m.):

*one sweet potato
*¼ cup of quinoa
*one cup of vegetable stock
*one stalk celery
*one stalk parsley

I used the pressure cooker to make it—but if you like, you can mix all the ingredients in a pan, bring to boil, simmer for 30 minutes and garnish with parsley.

Not only was I able to lose my extra five pounds, I used this time to take care of my injury, give myself some space to chill out and allow myself some time to properly digest the move.



Editor: Bryonie Wise

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