Tomorrow I enter what I consider to the be the second half of my life. I will be halfway to seventy. Not that I think I will die at the young age of 70, but I might, and I want to feel like I have accomplished everything by 70. I hope to be able to enjoy my senior years with my family, students and sangha. I am thankful that I have found yoga and nutrition so early in life. I know this relationship to health has been integral in my life for the past 10 years and will continue to be ingrained in my soul for the rest of my days.
But I am certainly far from perfect and I usually end up in sort of a rut for one reason or another. This is when I know it is time for a change. I feel this need now which is great because the fall is the perfect time to do a cleanse. I usually do some mini cleanses throughout the year and one or two longer cleanses. In 2001, I had just finished 30 months in the Peace Corps. A friend of mine recommended I try out a cleanse on the beautiful island of Koh Samui in Southern Thailand. It seemed like the ideal way to finish almost three years in Southeast Asia and boy did I need it.
I had never fasted before, but I found it hugely clarifying for my body, mind and spirit. After an initial couple of days of detox, everything felt fantastic and rejuvenated. The next year my sister and I traveled back to Thailand and we have been cleansing every year since. It has been a welcome annual retreat and special time for my sister and I to reconnect. I have used a few different methodologies over the years and this year, I will incorporate my favorite bits and pieces from along the way.
I have decided to start after my birthday celebration tomorrow. Not because I plan to over-indulge, but several people are coming together to share food with me and I do not want to miss out on all the fun. But it will cause me to reflect as I make my choices for dinner tomorrow night and I am sure I will be moderate. I have already given up alcohol and meat and I am limiting my intake of sugar, salt, dairy and caffeine. I will start on Saturday because it is nice to have at least a couple of days of relative silence where there is no work-related email or phone conversations necessary through the long weekend.
Here is the basic layout of the next 4 weeks. I will add more detail through my daily posts, but for now I am mentally preparing for the weeks ahead.
Sept 4 - 6 - Days 1 - 3
Lots of Lemon Water
Limited social interaction including phone, email, internet and news.
Only Whole Grains, Vegetables and Legumes - no dairy, alcohol, processed foods, processed sugar, or caffeine
Nature's Sunshine Clean Start - this is a two week detoxification herbal supplement which includes
Daily Detox Yoga and Gentle Walks
Sept 7 - 1 0 Days 4 -7
Same as above
End of week Treat - Yoga For Mood with Judith Hansen Lasater
Sept 11 - 18 Week Two
Same as Above
More Pureed Foods
End of Week Treat - Herbal Medicine Foundations
Sept 19 - 24 Week Three
Only Fresh Fruit Juice
Coming out of the fast will be much like going into the fast, which is to add in vegetable juices, then pureed foods and finally whole grains and vegetables over the course of about a week. My intention for the cleanse is to eliminate dairy ( except some yogurt ) , caffeine, processed sugar, wheat and soy from my diet. At the moment the addiction I feel I will miss the most is actually coffee. I love the way it smells. I love the way it tastes and I actually currently love the way it makes me feel! This surprises me because I have tried it so many times after a cleanse and I could not believe how badly it made me feel. So I KNOW it is time for a change. Yuck! Stay tuned.