Spring is here! Birds are chirping, snow is melting, and the sun is shining. Time to start Spring Cleaning! This is a great time to clear out stagnation, reset the body and mind, and create fertile ground for new growth and abundance.
Contrary to popular belief, detoxifying the body and mind doesn’t mean starvation or strange concoctions from your local health food store. It means getting the nutrients you need from real food while resting the organs, which most of the time run on overdrive. Below are simple routines which can be incorporated into daily life. Choose a few or try them all.
Happy Spring Cleaning!
Morning Routines to Eliminate Toxicity in the Body
These morning routines aid the body’s ability to eliminate built up toxins.
Dry Brushing: This is an ancient practice to awaken the skin and stimulate the lymphatic system to drain, which supports the immune system. Similar to brushing your hair or teeth, dry brushing is the brushing of the skin in a specific manner with natural bristles. Other benefits of dry brushing are increased energy and blood flow, cellulite reduction, and skin exfoliation. You can purchase a dry brush at most stores that carry health and beauty supplies. Amazon also carries several options (click here).
Tongue Scraping: During the night the body eliminates unnecessary mucus from the internal organs through the mouth. This build up of mucus, if left on the tongue, can be re-ingested and assimilated into the body. This can compromise the digestive and immune systems. There is a simple solution: tongue scraping. There are several types of tongue scrapers on the market which are available at most drug stores, or buy online (click here). If you’d like to “try before you buy”, use a spoon from your kitchen and reap the benefits. Advantages of tongue scraping include improved breath, promotes gut health by eliminating toxin build up, and enhances one’s sense of taste.
Oil Pulling: Practiced in Ayurvedic traditions for over 3,000 years, oil pulling does as the name suggests: pulls toxins from the mouth before they can be ingested. Place 1-2 tablespoons of an organic coconut or sesame seed oil in your mouth, swish inside the mouth (do not gargle or swallow) for 5-20 minutes. Spit the oil into a trash can (avoid the sink so as not to clog it). Do this after scraping the tongue, but before brushing. Benefits of oil pulling include whiter teeth, toxin elimination, and boost in oral health. Oil pulling may also help reduce the severity of headaches brought on by detoxification.
Nourish with Real Food
To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. ~Buddha
Try the following regimen for 1-7 days and be rewarded with mental clarity and physical well being.
Lemon Water: Begin each day with warm lemon water to awaken the digestive and elimination systems of your organs, loosen toxins, and resupply hydration, vitamins, and minerals. Add a splash of Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar to support gut bacteria and stimulate the liver. Drink 4-8 ounces before consuming any other drink or food.
Vegetable Juice: Mid-morning, or whenever hunger strikes, grab 16-32 ounces of vegetable juice. Make fresh juice at home with a juicer or blend vegetables with water then strain using cheese cloth or a nut-milk bag. If possible, stick to fresh juices. They contain more micro-nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. If time is limited, go to your local health food store and purchase your favorite vegetable juice, but beware of added salt and sugar.
Green Smoothie: Noon to mid-afternoon enjoy 32-64 ounces of green smoothie. Below is a basic green smoothie recipe. Feel free to change any ingredients to fit your personal taste and nutritional needs. Remember, greens aid the body’s elimination process and rid the body of built up toxins, try to eat as much of them as possible!
- 5-6 cups greens (chard, kale, romaine, or spinach)
- 1-2 bananas
- 1 cup frozen fruit (berries, peaches, cherries, etc.)
- 1-2 whole fruits (apples, pears, oranges)
- 1 tbsp- 1/4 cup plant based protein (flax seed, almonds, walnuts, etc.)
Salad or lightly steamed vegetables: For dinner make the world’s biggest bowl of veggies and eat enough to satiate hunger. Use one of my salad dressing recipes to massage into kale or top grilled romaine. Get creative and enjoy!
A note of recommendation: During the detox process, strive to break from the use of seasonings (salt, pepper, chili powder, etc.). This will allow your digestive tract to relax and recover. Also, juices and smoothies aid in this process of digestive recovery because they are already broken down. This allows the body to focus on toxin elimination. During this time stick to normal activity, but not overexertion. This is not the day to run an ultra marathon or go on a 4 hour mountain bike ride. Listen to your body.
Minding the Body
Meditation: Meditation relieves negative effects of stress on the body and mind, eases anxiety, and establishes an overall feeling of well being. Begin by putting on comfortable clothing and taking a comfortable posture – sitting is preferred, but lying down works great too (just don’t fall asleep!). Choose from one of the below guided meditations or set a timer. Focus on the breath and bodily sensations.
Body Scan with Dave Potter: 32 minutes or 20 minutes
In the body scan, we are developing a greater intimacy with bare sensation, opening to the give and-take embedded in the reciprocity between the sensations themselves and our awareness of them. As a result, it is not uncommon to be less disturbed by them, or disturbed by them in a different, a wiser way, even when they are acute. Awareness learns to let them be as they are and to hold them without triggering so much emotional reactivity and also so much inflamed thinking about them.
Return to Presence with Tara Brach: 21 minutes
It’s natural that our attention wanders, and the more we relax back, the more that becomes our habit…returning to presence. This meditation opens with conscious breathing and awakening through the body. We then rest in open awareness, and when the attention drifts, guide ourselves to rest our minds, over and over, in the aliveness and presence that is right here.
Sitting Meditation with Dave Potter: 32 minutes or 20 minutes
We call the heart of the formal meditation practice “sitting meditation” or simply “sitting.” As with breathing, sitting is not foreign to anyone. We all sit, nothing special about that. But mindful sitting is different from ordinary sitting in the same way that mindful breathing is different from ordinary breathing. The difference, of course, is your awareness.
Yoga Nidra with Jennifer Piercy: 38 minutes
Yoga Nidra—known as yogic sleep—is a meditation and conscious relaxation practice that is intended to induce total physical, mental, and emotional relaxation.
Yoga (Āsana): Asanas are designed to enhance the body’s function, which allows one to sit in meditation. In these postures, it is important to be steady and comfortable, yet firm and relaxed. Below are links to two basic yoga sequences: A flow yoga sequence and a traditional Hatha sequence.