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Sensing the Right Time for Pre-Cleanse

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After spending two weeks working in Mexico, teaching yoga and helping with an Iyengar assessment, I found my digestion badly out of balance.

In Ayurveda, this is an important observation NOT to ignore. Of course, it is also busting out spring here in the Austin area (and Queretaro was ahead of us, Monterrey about the same). I’ve always been sensitive to spring pollens. As a child I was pumped full of a medicine I think was called chlortrimeton, don’t know if it is even made anymore. What works better for me now as an adult is regular cleansing, of hair with frequent shampoo (and once a week oil treatment), of nose (with neti pot) and of tongue (with tongue scraper).  As I bring these practices back into my life (NEXT time, travel with these things, note to self!), I can feel balance beginning to be restored.

The cardinal sign of imbalance was not really anything concrete, but a strong craving for sweets. The mexican vegetarian diet is heavy on carbohydrates, and when I don’t add sufficient protein, my sweet tooth goes crazy. It’s rare that I find myself in an airport looking for cupcakes, but there I was (and fortunately did not find any). Now that I’m home and able to add the nuts and yogurt and occasional eggs to the daily fare, things are coming back together.

The signs are here, though, to begin a pre-cleanse, a prelude to a week of nothing but nonfat kichadee/kicheree/kichadi (it has various spellings) with an increasing dose of ghee at the beginning of the day. This is the ayurvedic practice of deep cleaning the intestines: a non-fat legume and rice diet for up to a week or two, with ghee in the mornings. I actually look forward to this time of year, and usually do it twice, spring and fall. During the pre-cleanse, I let go of sugar and caffeine completely, and gradually lower the amount of fat in my diet, adding in more vegetables and grains, simply cooked. As I prepare myself for the radical mono-diet of kichadee, I can feel my bodymind appreciating life in a deeper way.

My book “Physical Poetry” describes in more detail how to undertake this practice. It’s important, too, after the week or weeks of only kichadee, to take triphala or castor oil to purge the large intestine, and to go back to normal eating slowly, beginning by adding a little ghee or olive oil to salads or grains and vegetables. This way, the kapha accumulation of winter will not overwhelm us and we can ease into spring and summer renewed.


Written by algarita

March 13, 2015 at 2:20 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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