Updated: Sep 17, 2021
A seasonal cleanse can be a good way to shift seasons.
It is called 'Ritushandhi' and it is a very important time in Ayurvedic Lifestyle.
Gradual change is easier to adopt and easier for the body to adjust to.
Ayurveda is such a powerful ancient wisdom available and I'm committed to make available to modern day busy women to help them heal. I want to teach it like a language that practice makes permanent rather than over complexifying it and making it non accessible.
Before we start a reminder that ayurveda recognises that the human being is a microcosm (a small part, a reflection) of the macrocosm (the big picture, the universe).The human body is made up of the same elements that make up everything around us. Feel free to look at the 5 days elemental challenge to go deeper.
Ayurveda Doshas and Cleansing
For me, I went to see an Ayurvedic practitioner to get an Ayurveda massage in Mumbai around 16 years ago. As a Vata-Pitta constitution, I was told what types of foods to avoid. It is just so incredible to be given this knowledge which helps guide me through life.
But even more than my natural constitution paying attention to the season as they all have their own doshas has been even more impactful. It is all about bringing awareness within and outside of yourself to bring more balance and flow in your life.
Most people who have heard of ayurveda have heard of the doshas, you can learn more about them here.
We will go in more detail about the qualities of each doshas and understanding the 7 constitutional types and your own constitution in the course about Ayurveda in Biz, but right now it is enough.
In Ayurveda the doshas, or constitution, are based on a blend of two elements each.
We move with the same energies and forces that move the oceans, the winds, the stars and the planets. That’s why it is important to learn more about the impact of the seasons.
The Ayurvedic Lifestyle is all about finding peace in your daily rituals called 'dinacharya' (go deeper by reading this article about 5 daily ayurvedic rituals) and seasonal rituals for self-care called 'ritucharya'.
Let’s start with a conscious connection with the shift of the seasons
This world operates in rhythm (e.g. cycle of the Sun, Moon, tides & seasons) and so do we. I invite you to notice the difference between the colours of the land, trees & The Earth.
With the change in season, the change is very evident in the environment we live in. We see various changes in bio-life around us, such as flowering in spring and leaf-shedding in autumn in the plants, hibernation of many animals with the coming of winter, and so on. As human beings are also part of the same ecology, the body is greatly influenced by the external environment.
The transition between seasons is a very important time in Ayurvedic lifestyle. Texts describe a two week period as when the weather changes back and forth between the previous season and the one that is rising. During this time it is ideal to cleanse and prepare to transition in the next seasonal rituals.
I'm going to start by reading an extract from Katie Silcox and her book Healthy Happy Sexy.
Let me share a brief passage from this book:
'As time passes, our state of mind as well as our physical body undergoes vast changes.
Seasonal changes have a direct influence on all of us creatures and change can be tough.
Traditional societies understood this and created season based rituals and celebrations to ease the shift.
By getting together, sharing food and honoring the changes, we experience a kind of quick catharsis that lift individuals consciousness and making it easier to change season.
Today we have less and less of these critical rituals, we warm our beds with electrical blankets in winter.
While these technological advances definitely have their advantages, the downside of our useful mankind devices is that they disconnect us from the intimate and languageless relationship between the human body and the natural world. This connection is crucial for our well being.
Sometimes we need to feel the drip of sweat pour our breasts, smell of the earth of July and say yes this is summer living within me and outside of me.'
The Six Seasons in Ayurveda
Aboriginal Australia has a six season cycle. Ayurveda also has six seasons in a cycle.
Both Australian and Indian indigenous culture acknowledge six seasons. That is because both this individual culture, lay an emphasis on the transition season.
Of the original six seasons, each spanning two months, three are warm and three are cool.
Ayurveda texts describe the tendency of the doshas to accumulate during a season for similar qualities. Without proper management, these seasonal changes hold the potential for impending dosha imbalances.
In Ayurveda we pay attention to the transition between winter and spring and between summer and autumn.
Those transition phases may be longer or shorter. In Ayurveda we are particularly focused on detoxifying during those transitions, particularly between the end of the heat moving into the cooler weather and from the cold moving into a warmer weather.
The two junctions in the seasonal cycle.
Let's get into some detox programs to ease the junction for you. You can do it between three days seasonal cleanse and up to 7 to 10 days.
With global warming we may see the time of season changing. Aboriginal culture didn't have a date for the season, it was based on the observation of a natural shift: this flower blossoming etc. which is really coming from a divine feminine approach rather than a calendar, set in stone date.
A year consists of six seasons, namely, Shishira (winter), Vasanta (spring), and Grishma (summer) in Uttarayan (northern solstice) and Varsha (monsoon), Sharata (autumn), and Hemanta (late autumn) in Dakshinayana (southern solstice).
As Ayurveda has its origin in India, the above seasonal changes are observed predominantly in the Indian subcontinent.
Before doing a cleanse
There are a few important steps to consider that people tend to forget with a cleanse. These include:
Embrace each of the seasons
Write down how you can embrace it more
For example: enjoying an early night in autumn in your cosy home with candles
Eating a simple diet and practicing daily oil massage to help the body to clear out the channels of elimination
Cleansing can also be clearing of old habits, energy patterns or messy desk space
A seasonal cleanse can be a good way to shift the season.
The most important point is to slow down enough to take stock of your daily rhythms, your diet, your daily rituals/practices (e.g. Dinacharya) to see how they are serving you.
Where do you need to bring more balance?
These seasonal junctures are optimal times to cleanse the body.
Spring Cleanse Flow
As the temperatures become consistently warmer, accumulated heavy/dense and sticky/moist qualities, which protect us from winter's cold, begin to soften. Your body prepares to break down and discharge what it no longer needs.
This simple sprint cleanse maximises your body's natural inclination to get right of excess of fat and mucus in spring.
In the morning : scrape your tongue 7 times + gargle for 1-2mins with warm salt water
Exercise on an empty stomach
Neti: think of neti, irrigation of the nasal passage, as being life flossing your nose. Use a small amount of salt water. I like to use it under the hot shower
Stick to a monodiet of Kichari made with one spring vegetable per batch
Drink warm water, nothing cold
Daily oil self massage to help your body release impurities and calm the nervous system = use 1/4 - 1/2 cup of organic sesame oil
Try the following program for 3 to 7 days when winter is turning into spring. Recognise when the air feels moist and temperatures are above freezing.
Fall (Autumn) Cleanse Flow
As temperatures cool, the body prepares to release excess fire and water elements that accumulated during the hot and humid weather.
The dry winds of fall can stir up the fire element and compromise immunity, inflammation, acidic digestion, skin problems, allergies and a short temper.
Assist your body in its natural release of hot, sharp , oily qualities by an Ayurveda fall cleanse.
In the morning : tongue scraping + neti + contemplation, meditation, pranayama, a walk outdoors or restorative yoga
Avoid alcohol, spicy food and coffee
Stick to a monodiet of Kichari made with one fall vegetable
Sip warm water or herbal tea or mint water
Daily oil massage
Going to bed early or nap if you need it
Try the following program for 3 to 7 days when summer is shifting into fall. Recognise when the increasing dryness, cooler temperatures and possible winds.
Rest & Relaxation are key elements of detoxification.
The body will not get rid of the toxins until you carve out some time and create a restful, safe environment for detoxifying.
Signs of a successful cleanse:
Any white coating on your tongue clears up
Your breath is fresh
You have regular bowel movements without gas or bloating
The whites of your eyes are clear
You feel brighter and more energetic
Any lingering sinus or chest congestion is gone
If you join the Ayurveda in Business, you will also get access to some recipes and more tips to help you with a cleanse.