Spring Cleaning the Ayurvedic Way
There is something about spring that inspires us to throw open our windows, clean out our closets, and lighten up in every sense.
Thank goodness for this urge to purge, otherwise the dust bunnies under our beds may never see the light of day, and our wardrobes would consist only of black leggings and bulky sweaters. Our yearly spring cleaning certainly does serve its purpose to lighten our load and hit the reset button.
That said, why is it that we only offer our homes this treatment?
In the practice of Ayurveda, periodic cleanses are encouraged and believed to rid the body of toxins that build up over time. If you hear the word “cleanse” and immediately cringe, don’t panic just yet, and keep reading. You will not be living off celery juice alone when you follow the Ayurveda style of cleansing. Instead, you will be feasting on an Ayurvedic staple: Kitchari.
Kitchari is a mixture of grains, spices, and (optional) veggies. This healthy dish tends to be gentle on your body and full of nourishment, making it a great option to give your digestive system a break while still providing sustenance. There are many takes on kitchari recipes, we love this version from the Ayurvedic Institute:
1/2 cup basmati rice
1 cup mung dal (split yellow)
6 cups (approx.) water
1/2 to 1 inch ginger root, chopped or grated
A bit of mineral salt (1/4 tsp. or so)
2 tsp. ghee
1/2 tsp. coriander powder
1/2 tsp. cumin powder
1/2 tsp. whole cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
Handful of fresh cilantro leaves
1 and 1/2 cups assorted vegetables (optional)
For preparation instructions, visit the Ayurvedic Institute website.
If you’ve gotten this far, safe to say you are considering this. So, here’s the plan. An Ayurvedic Kitchari Cleanse typically lasts around three to five days. You can eat as much kitchari as your heart desires, and be sure to drink plenty of tepid water. Adding lemon to your water or substituting with ginger tea is a great option to mix things up a bit. (As always, before starting any cleanse program, be sure to check with your doctor or healthcare provider to be sure it is safe for you.)
In addition to cleansing your digestive system, the end of Kapha season is a wonderful opportunity to cleanse in other aspects of your life as well. After all, spring cleaning isn’t just the closet… it’s the whole house. This could mean a break from social media or screens all together, a few days off from work, or avoiding situations you know induce stress. Use your free time to journal, meditate, or just be with yourself. Life moves quickly in our culture, giving your mind a few days of quiet could be just what you need to process any emotional or energetic heaviness. Remember, our bodies naturally reset while we sleep, so do your best to get plenty of rest during your cleanse.
Once you have taken a few days to cleanse, be easy with yourself as you transition back to your regular routine. Notice how your body feels and make mindful choices about what you bring back in to your life, and what you may have cleansed… for good.