The New Orleans Yoga world is feeling it…it’s almost springtime! Mardi Gras is over and everybody is doing some kind of a cleanse and classes are packed! Get on board and begin your cleanse for spring. Hope to see you on the mat soon!
Spring Cleansing: A Spring Checklist for Cleansing the Body, Mind and Soul
– Margaret Hyde
There are so many fad cleanses out there that I wasn’t sure where to start and what I could actually realistically commit to and complete. I love good food — so I could never do a fast, and I do not think that I could keep up with my four children powered by juice alone. I also don’t have time for a tedious and complicated mental and spiritual cleansing. I managed to find some inexpensive, relatively easy ways to cleanse myself from within.
“The mind’s first step to self-awareness must be through the body.” — George Sheehan
1) Detox With Lemon Water — Add to a glass of water half a fresh squeezed lemon to your morning routine, BEFORE coffee. The lemon juice helps cleanse the liver and aides its ability to remove toxins and fats from the body.
2) Add Cleansing Foods and Juices — The following are foods known to help the body’s natural cleansing and detoxifying abilities:
- Celery and Celery Seeds
- Flax seeds and flaxseed oil
I try to add one of these foods into meals I already like and regularly eat, but my favorite way to get cleansing vegetables and fruits is to juice.
My favorite juice combination, which is also great for supporting the liver’s cleansing and detoxifying, is the following:
- 2 medium-sized beets
- 1 cucumber
- 1 lemon
- 3 medium-sized carrots
- 1 apple
You could also add flaxseed oil or any of the detoxifying foods listed above.
Add all ingredients to a juicer.
3) Try Dry Brush Exfoliation — Dry brushing is an ancient Ayurvedic health practice that helps promote circulation, detoxing, is very relaxing and feels great. The skin is one of the largest detoxifying organs of the body, although most of us don’t ever think of it that way. You always dry brush with a clean brush on bare, dry skin, preferably before showering. Traditionally, you brush away from the heart and press lightly. It is easy to do it yourself at home, but if you want to splurge it is great as a part of an Ayurvedic massage. There are many spas offering this now.
“Drag your thoughts away from your troubles… by the ear, by the heels or any other way you can manage it.” — Mark Twain
Cleansing the mind by shedding negative thoughts and perceptions can take a weight off your whole being. Dr. Andrew Weil says, “Many health professionals identify depressive rumination as the root cause of unhappiness.” There is a whole school of psychology today called positive psychology, pioneered by Dr. Martin Seligmen, whose sole focus is to help people do this kind of mind cleanse. Positive psychology helps get rid of negative thoughts by helping people get rid of the judgments they form about things that are happening in their lives.
There are several positive psychology techniques called “interventions,” which may be beneficial.
- Three Good Things Every Day — Try writing down three things that are going well and why. Do this every day for a week.
- Using Signature Strengths — Try writing down what you believe are your personal strengths (e.g., creativity or loyalty) and then use them in a different way daily.
- Five-Minute Rant Write Down — This is a technique that I created for myself based on the core ideas of positive psychology that I have found invaluable for cleansing my mind. Take five minutes every week and write down every negative thought that comes into your mind. Then take that piece of paper and tear it up, bury it or shred it.
- Spontaneous Happiness by Dr. Andrew Weil
- Positive Psychology in Practice by Linley and Joseph
“The Soul, like the body, lives by what it feeds on.” — Holland
Soul cleansing is the cherry on top of the personal cleansing process. It is the part of the process that lightens the spirit and helps leave you feeling clear, purposeful and content.
1) Meditation — Try meditating every day, even if it is just a minute or two. All you have to do to meditate is sit quietly for a few moments and let the thoughts come and go and breathe deeply. Be sure to turn off your phone, computer or whatever distracts you. Just be still with yourself. Mediation is an ancient practice that has been rigorously studied by modern medicine as well. It has been shown to lower blood pressure and improves overall health. I truly believe that it does all of those things for the body as well as uplifting and cleansing the soul.
2) Gratitude — Each day try waking up asking, “What am I grateful for?” Go to bed asking the same question and throughout the day express your gratitude to those around you.
Try keeping a gratitude journal. Write down 10 things every day that you are grateful for. Once a week, try writing a note or sending an email to a person in youe life expressing your gratitude for them and the things that they have contributed to your life.
Gratitude lifts the spirit and fills the soul with positivity. In terms of measurable health benefits, researchers maintain that gratitude fosters optimism, which has been shown to positively influence the immune system.
For more information on the power of gratitude, check out this website.
3) Service — Try being of service by giving back to others, whether it is a few hours a week, or a month or a year. Find an organization in your community (or beyond) that speaks to your soul and one that you feel you can really contribute to.
Maya Angelou said that she found that “Among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.”
Whether you’re cleaning your closet or cleaning out the clutter in your mind, the energy and renewal that comes with cleansing is worth it for your body, mind and soul.