This simple cleanse is designed to nourish the Wood element in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and is quite gentle for most. Springtime is an ideal time to do it.
Take three days to slow down and commit to clearing excesses from your life. Reduce the accumulated Kapha ("sluggishness") from the winter. Eat simply. Drink a lot of warm water throughout the day and/or CCF tea (see below). Do your Dinacharya (daily routine, see below. It’s optional, but recommended!). Find ways to unplug from cell phones, media and outside stimulation. If possible, include a day of silence. Triphala (an herbal digestive aid which can be found in the health food store) can be taken in the evening with warm water. The cleanse stimulates your body to remove toxins, burn fat and purify the deep tissues. Refrain from consuming fat. Your diet should consist of steamed or cooked veggies, hot cereal, warmed fruit, rice and beans. Make sure the majority of your food is warm or hot, not cold. No snacking between meals.
On day 4 start back slowly into your regular diet, while keeping in mind a low-fat diet, which helps detox and support your liver. You can also support your liver by adding 1 tsp ground milk thistle (capsules are OK) to morning smoothies or added to your hot cereal. Benefits of the cleanse continue for many days after.
It isn’t uncommon to have feelings of frustration or anger occur, but remember this is a process and our organs and tissues store a lot of our emotions. A cleanse is removing these blockages. Be kind to yourself. Take it easy and honor your body and mind during this time.
If you like how you feel, you can eat kitcheri once a week to support your organs/tissues. Kitcheri is a complete protein of rice and beans and is a short-chain polysaccharide that the body can break down easily. It’s great for building and nourishing during/after an illness, during pregnancy, while nursing, or any time you want to give your body a digestive break.
Example of your day (customize as necessary):
1) Wake before sunrise. Evacuate your bladder, drink a large glass of warm water, brush teeth and scrape tongue, use neti pot and follow with oiling your nasal passages. Do some simple yoga stretches and pranayama for 30 minutes. Take extra time to do a thorough abhyanga (self-oil massage), then follow this with a warm shower. (This practice is called Dinacharya. If you have questions about that, let me know. You can choose to skip the neti pot and oiling of nose and body. I highly recommend using a tongue scraper to remove toxins that have been building overnight from the tongue.)
2) Make your Kitcheri for the day (see recipe below) or the night before.
3) Breakfast. Prepare your CCF tea for the day. You can eat the kitcheri, which is recommended, or steel cut or oat groats. Make a hearty, warm cereal for breakfast and top with raw sunflower & pumpkin seeds, dried apricots, raisins, dates, honey or maple syrup and cinnamon, cardamom and/or nutmeg and almond or soymilk. Eat a large bowl so you feel very satisfied, almost full.
4) Lunch. Eat a large bowl of kitcheri or soup, but remember no oils other than the ghee that is used to make the kitcheri.
5) Dinner. Kitcheri with steamed veggies of your choice. Remember: eat lightly. Walk away from the table before you are super-full. Stay awake for the first little "burp;" this is the biological way to know when to stop.
It is important to drink warm water or CCF tea throughout the day. To further stimulate digestion, you can take 1 oz of the lemon honey ginger nectar before meals.
CCF tea or Digestive Tea (cleanses our toxins and is hormone-balancing:
For each cup of water: add 1/3- 1/2 tsp each of cumin, coriander and fennel seeds.
Simmer until seeds sink to bottom. Strain and drink throughout day. For simplicity, make several cups at once. To make for a whole day: simmer 9-10 cups of water with 4 TBL each of the herbs (or to taste).
Combine equal portions of fresh, grated, and squeezed ginger, fresh lemon juice and raw honey. Take one ounce before meals to enliven the digestion. If you wish you can prepare a batch, freeze it in ice cube trays, thaw and drink when you wish. (I like to add this to hot water and make it into a warming drink.)
Kitcheri for Spring
Ingredients (makes 2-3 servings):
* 1/2 cup split mung beans * 1 cup basmati rice * 1 tbsp ghee * 1 inch piece of fresh ginger * 1 tsp turmeric * 1 tsp each of powdered fennel, cumin and coriander * 1 bunch kale, chopped * 6 cups water
Or get the Kitcheri mix from Banyan and follow the instructions on the package directions.
Wash mung beans and rice thoroughly. Heat the ghee, add the spices and cook for a minute, taking care not to burn the spices. Add rice, beans and water, then bring to boil. Turn down to simmer for 45 minutes or until mung beans are very soft in pot on stove (or make in crockpot cooking overnight; be sure there's plenty of water if you're making a much larger batch to activate the heating elements in the crockpot). After about 20 minutes, add the chopped kale. After cooking, add salt to taste. (Amount of water and cooking time may vary, depending on the rice and the beans you are using.)
It's best to eat fresh, but if time is an issue and you have leftovers, freshen it up the next day by adding water and more spices or a bit more vegetables when heating. This brings more prana/life back into the kitcheri.
Guest post by studio BE Senior Facilitator Marije Paternotte
Marije Paternotte, E-RYT 500, offers a unique approach to yoga; balancing movement and breathing practices of traditional Hatha and Tibetan Yoga with the stillness of the Taoist Yin Yoga, awareness of Chi flow, and an emphasize on mindfulness and the Buddha Dharma. Her teaching style is understated and compassionate. She has the ability to present complex concepts, and an in-depth knowledge of yogic anatomy and philosophy, in a simple and approachable way, for which she is loved by beginning and advanced practitioners alike.
Marije was born and raised in Amsterdam where, after her training to be a professional ballet dancer, she studied law and worked as a corporate lawyer. A yoga retreat in Bali led her to the United States where she took her first yoga teacher training. She currently lives in a small beach town in New Jersey with her husband, and teaches yoga workshops, retreats, and teacher trainings around the world, as well as locally. Marije is also a guest teacher at the renowned Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Massachusetts and the Mandali Retreat Center in Italy.
Marije received both her foundational and professional level yoga teacher certification at the Kripalu Center, and is certified to teach Yin Yoga and Mindfulness by Sarah Powers’ Insight Yoga Institute.
Feature photo by kostrez/Adobe Stock