The grass is green, flowers are blooming, everything is covered in pollen ... it's spring! I love spring--and not just because of the sunshine and bright colors! I also love it because it feels like a fresh start.
For a lot of people, a thorough house scrubbing is a part of that fresh start. It has also become popular in the yoga community to do an internal spring cleaning--by eating clean foods to clear out the toxins that find their way into our bodies through our diets and environmental factors.
A couple of years ago, I took part in this ritual. I thought about doing it again this year, but after writing about the debate here, I decided against it.
1. It's a little too much like a crash diet. I'm sure cleansing feels GREAT for some people, but my experience was that it felt a little too much like a punishment--like I had to deprive myself because I'd eaten poorly the rest of the year. Plus, if you buy into the part of yoga philosophy that says we're perfect the way we are (including our flaws), cleansing seems like a moot point.
2. I trust my body to "cleanse" on its own. My yoga practice has empowered me to trust my body's strength, wisdom, and defenses. I also believe that if I pay attention to my body's signals, I should naturally gravitate toward "clean" foods, anyway. Mindful eating seems a lot more balanced to me that a restrictive diet.
3. My intentions weren't quite right. I pondered the idea of another cleanse because I love the idea of releasing toxins from my body. But when I was really being honest with myself, that's not the biggest reason I considered it. First of all, my teachers and mentors cleanse every year. I look up to them, and I want to be disciplined and serious about yoga like they are. Second, it's a way to lose a few unwanted pounds. That's not the purpose of a cleanse, and if it's even in the back of your mind I think it could be a very dangerous undertaking.
4. I don't have the support system in place right now. The last time I tried a cleanse, I did it with a friend. Through the entire experience we chatted about what we were going through, compared notes, and supported each other. This was my saving grace, and I don't think I could have done it without the extra support. This year, I'm on my own--and I know that's not a recipe for success for me.
5. There aren't enough yummy fruits in season in the spring. The last cleanse I did called for eating only fresh fruits and veggies for several days. I didn't really crave things I wasn't supposed to eat, but I found myself really hankering for juicy peaches and watermelons. But, alas, these things weren't in season yet!
Are you planning to cleanse this year? Why or why not?