The Fall Cleanse
According to Ayurveda, fall is a season that is best for a cleanse/detox. Fall is a symbol of transition which has a strong effect on us as individuals as well as a great time for transition in our own lives. The fall tends to be of milder weather, typically not to hot nor too cold. Ayurveda advises against cleanses during the more extreme weather months i.e. summer and winter. Performing a cleanse during these months may weaken the body which needs to be strong during times of harsher weather.
By the time fall rolls around, we have accumulated plenty of heat in our tissues from the summer which is dominated by the fiery pitta dosha. To learn more about the doshas go to about Ayurveda. Summer tends to be a time of travel, late nights, more social activities, drinking cool or iced beverages. These can all weaken the digestion. And our immune system is in our digestion. Hence, if the digestion is weak than the immune system is weakened as we go into the fall and winter months. Do you notice the fall and winter months are a time of flu's and colds? This is a sign of imbalance in the system.
As we come into fall we see the leaves dry up and the wind begins to blow which the vata dosha begins to take over. Vata is about air and ether that is marked by change, instability, and anxiety. So when we add random blasts of air (vata) to fire (pitta), it fans the fire and burns even brighter. As the fire of pitta burns even brighter and accumulates in our system it can lead to mental and physical burnout, stressing our adrenals and nervous system and causing an overheated digestion.
Our body's natural detoxifier to assist with this accumulation and the imbalances in the mind/body is the Liver and one of the primary organs in which pitta can accumulate and cause problems associated with increased heat in the body and mind. If the liver cannot do it's natural job, the liver as well as the gallbladder become congested. The most common reason is stress, a history of sluggish bowel function or irregular bowel function, pesticides on our foods, a diet of processed and refined foods, etc. An overtaxed liver can result in migraines, irritability, rashes, anger, etc. We get tired, we get sick, we lose too much weight or put on weight. This is when we have a toxic sludge build-up made up of all the waste products that the body has not been able to properly break down, digest or get rid of. This toxic sludge build-up in the body is called Ama (a Sanskrit term meaning, "That which harms or weakens"). This accumulated ama is the basis for much of the disease and emotional malaise.
The Ayurvedic cleanse is unlike some popular cleanses. The Ayurvedic Cleanse is designed to support, instead of shock your system. Rather than aiming to eliminate toxins at any cost, Ayurveda gently balances the whole person so they can detox without destabilizing the body. It is a path that uses nourishing foods, herbs, and self-care techniques to rejuvenate the body rather than stripping it down which can leave you more vulnerable to disease or sickness going into winter. The cleanse works on all levels of the being - physical, emotional, psychological and even spiritual. The food is intended to be simple and easy to digest. Let's welcome fall as a time to rest and reset itself with an Ayurvedic Detox.