Join me for an autumn clear out?
In yoga and Ayurvedic philosophy the transitional seasons (spring and autumn) are the perfect time to have a clear out – physically and metaphorically! Get rid of the rubbish that might have accumulated in our homes, our bodies and our minds over the past months, helping us to move into the new seasons enjoying robust and radiant health.
In Ayurveda toxic build to is referred to as ama. Most often we see this as waste products, perhaps from food choices that might be clogging up our physical body, but ama also refers to unheatlhy thought patterns or unresolved emotional issues.
As part of my wellbeing routine, my ayurvedic practictioner recommends that I do a seasonal cleanse at the start of each season, so this is what I’ll be doing for a couple of days next week to recalibrate my system! Many of my students ask about this and what I get up to, so I thought I would share my very simple 2 day ama pachana. Feel free to follow the whole thing or just pick out the bits that appeal to you.
If you decide to do a simple ama pachana, think always nourishing and nurturing, whilst there are foods that are not recommended during this period you should not be hungry, it’s not about starving or punishing yourself! If you have any health concerns then of course consult your medical practitioner first.
Choose a couple of days when you’re not too busy, so that you’ve time to rest, prepare your food (food is always prepared fresh during ama pachana), eat at set times and hopefully find time for a walk and / or your yoga practice too.
WHAT TO EAT…
This might sound a little austere, but it is only for a couple of days and honestly the results are worth it! Try to cut out alcohol, caffeine, meat, dairy products apart from ghee, sugar, wheat, anything from the nightshade family (tomatoes, aubergines, chillis, peppers, white potatoes), nuts, processed food and raw foods 🙂 You can do it!
I can well appreciate that this might have left you wondering what on earth you can eat! I asked exactly the same question when I embarked on my ayurvedic journey, so I thought it might be helpful to take you through my routine.
My day starts with a couple of mugs of hot water, and a third mug with a slice of lemon and a chunk of ginger in.
Breakfast as near to 9am as I can. I have 1 apple, stewed with a chopped date and ginger. Sprinkled with cinnamon.
The biggest meal of the day is as close to 12 noon as you can, when our digestive fire is at its strongest. Here I have mung dhal, with basmati rice and plenty of green vegetables (I like asparagus, brocolli and green beans). Eat until you are full, this is about nurturing not starvation, though don’t eat so much that you feel stuffed.
Last meal of the day before 6pm. I have something light and easy to digest. I like a thick vegetable soup, and if I’m hungry I’ll also have a little more basmati rice with chopped fresh corriander for taste.
During ama pachana we try not to snack between meals, as we want to give our digestive system time to rest. If you are really hungry though have a date, chew it slowly, so that the sweetness fully satisfyies.
Drink herb teas, rather than fruit teas (fennel and peppermint are perfect) or hot water with lemon and ginger.
Release tension, feel more grounded with crocodile pose
Support your body with steady restorative yoga practices. Gentle twists and back bends to keep your system moving. Rotated triangle followed by crocodile are perfect, effective partners if you need to release some emotional tension or unhelpful habits. Now is a great time to start a meditation practice or if you already have a regular practice, see if you can sit for a bit longer. Remember to do plenty of relaxation and pranayama (deep yogic breathing, kappalbhati or alternate nostril breathing are all good).
Most of us have racked up a sizeable sleep deficit, so now is the ideal time to readdress the balance (cash in your extra hour!). Chances ae you might be feeling a bit under par as your body adjusts, particularly if this is the first time you’ve done this practice. Headaches, aching joints and feeling emotional are all common, I promise though that they do pass and when they do you’ll be rewarded with renewed vigour! You’ll probably be more than happy to get to bed early, go with it and let yourself sleep.
If you get chance to go out for a brisk walk each day do so. It’s a good way to keep your system moving, give your circulation a boost, relax, fill your lungs with fresh air and being out in the daylight will help you sleep better.
After the 2 days, just ease yourself back into things, try not to start your day with a big caffeine hit, choose a couple of dates instead of chocolate to avoid the afternoon slump. I know it’s not the same, I’m a realist, and of course I veer from the path! As much as I can I try to stick to the meal times, as I know my body responds best to these, and I then focus on eating according to the seasons and the foods my practitioner recommended specifically for me, following the 80 / 20 principle. If I stick to the rules for my body 80% of the time, then I can go off piste 20% of the time no problem.
One thing I’ve learned is that nothing really tastes as good as feeling really well feels!
If you have a go at this let me know how you get on 🙂