Autumn is a season of transition, perfect for a gentle detox to reset body and mind and prime your system for winter wellness.
The view in Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science of medicine, is that all of nature—including us—is bound by the relationships among the three doshas, or primal energies.
Vata dosha is associated with the elements air and ether; it governs creativity and change, and tends to grow stronger and then weaker again. Pitta dosha ios governed by fire and water, it is the energy of transformation, achievement, and metabolism. Kapha dosha is associated with earth and water; it suggests groundedness, stability, and growth.
We each have a mix of the three doshas, although we tend to be dominated by one at any given time. The seasons are also governed by doshas.
Detox, Refresh, and Renew Your Body and Mind
Your body is remarkably intelligent and incredibly hard working. Day in and day out, it processes all kinds of inputs—distinguishing what’s good for you from what’s not, doing its best to eliminate any harmful substances alongside routine metabolic waste. But these days, our bodies are inundated with a never-ending barrage of stressors: environmental toxins, processed foods, unresolved emotions, and psychological stress, to name a few. Inevitably, in attempting to “digest” it all, we accumulate some degree of toxicity—which, over time, can build up in the system, deposit in the tissues, and compromise our health.
But there is something you can do to give your body a break. Actually, this is precisely the idea behind an Ayurvedic cleanse: to minimize the variety and complexity of inputs (and potential toxins) so that the body can rest, recuperate, and repair itself. And amazingly, when the deluge of damaging inputs slows, your body will immediately take advantage of the lull to do some very deep cleaning.
The practice of cleansing is considered a vital part of an Ayurvedic lifestyle, with great potential for improved energy, strength, and immunity, as well as a renewed love of life. At its root, an Ayurvedic cleanse improves the strength of agni (the metabolic fire) in the GI tract and throughout the body by resting and purifying the digestive system. Ayurveda sees balanced agni as one of the most important requirements in achieving optimal health.
Why detox in Spring?
We have just emerged from winter are beginning to feel the energy of spring in the air. We may have put on a little extra weight, eating extra food to keep us warm, and for fuel and comfort to keep our metabolism regular during the colder months. This gain, however, can lead to a buildup of toxins called ama, the white coat on your tongue in the mornings. That white coat is just one of the signs of what’s going on inside your body. When the buildup is high, it’s a great time to consider a spring cleanse!
Why detox in Autumn?
According to Ayurveda, Summer is represented by Pitta Dosha (fire and water element) while Autumn is represented by Vata Dosha (air and ether element dominant time of season). You can see that in the Fall, the air is cooler and much drier, lightness brings winds and leaves start to fall from trees and change colors. Many times these transitions between seasons make us more susceptible to illness or dis-ease.
How can a seasonal detox help?
In Eastern medicine prevention is key to good health. Ayurveda teaches us that these transitional periods between seasons is one of the best times to detox (Summer to Autumn and Winter to Spring is best). It’s the best way to clear any excess heat from the summer and to assist the body in the natural detoxification process that is already occurring. Cleansing also allows the body to rest and reset itself, a great way to implement new eating or dietary habits or patterns.
Signs of Toxicity
1. You have gained weight and it’s not going away
High body toxins slow metabolism, leading to weight gain. Struggling to manage the high toxin content and prevent the toxins from reaching vital organs, the body expands fat cells to absorb some of the toxic load. Once created, these fat cells are very difficult to eliminate. If you find that even if with careful attention to your food quality and intake, the fat stays on, this is a warning sign your body needs deeper cleansing to trim and purify.
2. You feel generally tired or fatigued
In the morning, you drag yourself out of bed no matter how many hours you have slept you don’t feel like you’ve had enough. By evening, you feel exhausted and depleted.
3. You have aches and pains in your muscles
If you can’t tie these to your workout yesterday, could be that the toxins in your life are working away at your muscles and joints. This is more likely if you experience muscle aches on a regular basis.
4. You have cravings
Most people never experience the healthy sensation of feeling hungry. In fact, most desire to avoid it. Feeling hungry is actually a wonderful guide that your digestive fire (Agni) is healthy and working. When we eat out of true hunger, food tastes much better and we are physiologically primed for proper digestion. Hunger, in the true sense of the word, indicates to us that it is time to eat again. When you feel fatigued how do you cope? If your answer is “more coffee” or “sweet foods”, you can bet that you’re only making the problem worse.
5. Your bowel movements aren’t right
Sometimes constipated, sometimes bloated, sometimes too loose. You feel that whatever you eat you are always at risk of indigestion. Increasing the fibre in your food and water intake is generally beneficial, but also keep in mind that the bowels need seasonal detox.
6. You don’t feel good emotionally
The fatigue, the lethargy, the possible insomnia – it all adds up and affects your mental and emotional state as well. Do you find it difficult to focus at work? Do you feel ‘low’ even when there is no obvious cause? Easily depressed, perhaps anxious, nervous or insecure or moody? Cleansing could help get you back in the groove!
If any of the above describe your condition, your body is telling you it needs to detox. The Autumn cleansing period is most important to prepare you for the winter ahead.
Join our 21 Day Yoga & Pilates Detox
Our community is ready to support you. Join Yoga Teacher and Ayurvedic enthusiast, Lainie Jenkins, on this 21 day guided Ayurvedic journey towards deep inner clarity and balanced health.