The ancient art of cleansing.

"To heal is to feel."--Words of wisdom from my wonderfully inspiring yoga teacher, Jill of Power Yoga of Cape Cod. The truth is emerging during this time and space in our universe, based on planetary energies. The lunar and solar eclipses that are happening from now until June 8th are causing us to really feel and to change.  We cannot deny what is surfacing and it's time to get really honest with ourselves and our situations.

I've talked about the significance of the waning moon before, but if you are not familiar, the two weeks from the full moon until the new moon is a time to let go.

The planetary influence of the moon directs our ebb and flow of life within the laws of nature. Always look to the moon when deciding whether to bring new energy into your life or release what does not serve you.

The full moon started last thursday, so these next two weeks offer the support of letting all that does not serve you to be removed from your life.

Just as the tides change with the moon, the seasons change too. In Ayurvedic practices we move from wet to dry and dry to wet climates, or from cold to warm and warm to cold climates. It is optimal to cleanse during the spring and fall according to this philosophy.

Even if we lead a clean and healthy lifestyle, the outdoor environmental elements create what is known in Ayurveda/yogic/Indian cultures as 'Ama', or undigested food particles left in the colon as a result of an improper lifestyle. 

If you don't know already, 80 percent of your immunity starts in your digestive tract. We can care for our bodies with all the loving intention possible, but we cannot deny nature's affect on our functionality.

To be in the flow of life, we must look to our inner compass by working with the seasonal changes and laws of nature.

During the spring, in Chinese medicine, our liver is actively seeking to discharge all toxins. Each season correlates to a different organ, just as certain foods stimulate specific organs. This is the yin and yang to life, and the reason why eastern medicine practices look to foods and herbs as preventative health care.

Ama is a sticky, gooey coating that appears on the tongue when you first wake up. Tongue scrapers are recommended for proper Ayurvedic care so we can measure our Ama situation. The body is constantly seeking balance, and this is one way we can give it a daily check up!

Scraping the tongue from back to front and then looking at it to see the film that attaches itself to the metal device, is what we should be doing first thing in the morning. At night the body works hard to bring this ama up to the surface from deep inside our colon. It's silly not to get it out.

It may take up to 10, 20, 30 scrapes til the metal runs clear, but wouldn't you rather it come out than re circulating in the body? Over time your immunity will improve and you will have less scrapes, indicating your knowledge of your personal health--you are your own doctor! This is your measurement of health. The tongue tells the story of our physical well being.

Ama will eventually leave us feeling heavy, lethargic and will ultimately lead to disease if not properly balanced and eliminated.

In Ayurveda, they say, "Disease leaves us, the way it enters us". We are constantly digesting life, whether physically starting in the mouth when we eat, emotionally or mentally.

What does not serve us will rear its ugly head in some form, either manifesting itself as disease, or creating discomfort in our physical bodies, emotions or thoughts.

The seed of this dis-ease starts with the subconscious thoughts. Everything is connected through mind, body and spirit. Food is the mirror image of how we feed our mind and soul.

Seasonal detox is a great cure for scrubbing your whole self clean. Be prepared to face the uncomfortable stuff.

These two weeks offer a chance to be gentle with yourself and do less. "Simplicity is Divinity", as my spiritual teacher, Dr. Levry states.

I am letting go of all that does not serve me so that I can make room for the best that is yet to come.

During these next two weeks, I am doing an Ayurvedic Cleanse using herbs and spices through cooking, teas and capsules. My Ayurvedic practitioner is here on Cape Cod. Her name is Julie Wardwell of Chalice Well Ayurveda in Dennis, MA.

It is said in Ayurveda, that if you take herbs for 6-9 months, they can cure the root problem. Herbs are nature's antibiotics.

Combined with a diet that supports what is known as 'Soma', or the nectar of life--aka Optimal health, we can ignite a vibrant immunity!

Soma is a special state of being that is only created after ama is eliminated and agni (the digestive fire) is satisfied.

Agni can be best understood as the body's metabolism. There are seven layers to the digestive fire, starting with the cellular intelligence, the blood, muscles, fat, bones, nervous and reproductive systems.

Therefore, the life force (prana) that we put into our bodies directly relates to the quality of our health. Prana comes from the quality of our food and our breath, which is why we need to be mindful of our diet and lifestyle choices.

The cleanse lasts 10 days during the spring and fall, and is based on eating the Ayurvedic dish known as Khichari for three meals of the day.

It's composed of two main ingredients: basmati brown rice and mung beans. Depending on which dosha you are cleansing for, certain vegetables and spices are added accordingly. Food is used to build or to cleanse--here we are focusing on lightening up.

Ghee is an ingredient used in the dish to support 'soma'. I was opposed to this at first because it is derived from a cow, and I avoid eating dairy, but this is known to be the "finest oil in the world". I couldn't resist trying it for these next 10 days to see how I feel.

There are only three foods in the world that produce what is called 'adga' (a special quality) that ignites soma. Ghee is one of them, along with dates and raw, locally unprocessed honey.

From what I understand, Ghee does not process in your body the way dairy does. The milk solids and derivatives have been skimmed away, leaving only the oil behind. The harmful affects of mucus and inflammation build up that comes from consumption of dairy is null.

Eating our meals at appropriate times of the day, based on the sun rising and setting, strengthens our agni.

The meals are simple yet satisfying because all six tastes are addressed using spices and herbs. 3-4 hours between meals are important to complete the digestion process--snacking is avoided. Going to bed by 10pm is also imperative to allow the body to rest and to heal.

The simplicity of this cleanse offers a chance to be gentle and still in your body. Rest when you need to. Be quiet and do less. The art of being still is a practice we over look, because we are too consumed with distractions in this modern world.

If we take time to be with ourselves and really pay attention to what comes up, our consciousness rises and we can change what isn't working in our lives.

Give yourself the gift of doing nothing and consuming less. Let nature heal you through herbs and spices. Release the toxicity and strengthen the immunity.

Your physical body connects the dots to your emotions and thoughts. Journal your incessant thoughts and get some sleep. Walk on the beach or in nature, meditate and do yoga, or get into your body somehow.

Let yourself feel and get uncomfortable. When you detox you heal as you feel.

If you want to evolve, you must remove yourself from distractions in your path. Ask yourself, "what in my life is not serving me right now." If it's not working, then change it!

In health and happiness,

Kate