Yogi Tips for Spring Cleansing

Spring is the ideal season for cleansing. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, spring is related to the wood element, which tends the liver and gall bladder. These organs focus on the cleansing process: secretion and detoxification. As things get moving in nature, our bodies need to get moving too in order to avoid winter stagnation that manifests in digestive disrupts, respiratory congestion or headaches. Supporting detoxification, drainage and circulation with food choices and movement can help kick off our spring cleanse.

Food for Cleanse

Any cleansing is good cleansing. At the minimum, avoiding stimulants like coffee, sugar, alcohol, and other simple carbs help to reduce cortisol production and lessen the body’s response and “crash” pattern. This sugar roller coaster can leave one feeling heavy or fatigued. The goal of a spring cleanse is to lighten that load.

A plant-based, whole foods diet will allow your body to focus on cleansing and not converting sugar or digesting more burly foods, like meat. More intense cleanses include juice fasts and should be conducted with the support of health practitioner.

Wild foods that grow in your yard are nature’s superfoods that aid in spring detoxification. Many can be added to salads or made into a pesto like the recipe below. Some of our other favorites include: Chickweed, Dandelion, Chickory, Plantain and Watercress.

Chickweed Pesto Recipe

4 Cloves of garlic
½ cup of olive oil (extra virgin)
3 cups fresh chickweed leaves
¼ cup parmesan cheese (grated)
1 tbsp of lemon juice
½ cup of walnuts
Sea salt to taste
Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend well.

Herbal support during cleansing can include these plants:

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Burdock (Arctium lappa)
Nettles (Urtica dioica)
Red Clover (Trifolium pretense)
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa)

Yoga for Detox

A spring yoga practice that focuses on compressions and twists in the abdominal region will support cleansing. Cardiovascular exercise will assist detoxification, allowing for better secretion and elimination. In addition, restorative poses can help integrate your cleanse, while providing gentle support to a rigorous fast.

Here are some cleanse-supporting poses:

Bharadvajasana I (Seated twist)
Salabhasana (Locust Pose)
Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch)
Parivritta Utkatasana (Revolved Chair Pose)
Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior 1)
Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)
Viparita Karani (Legs-up-the-Wall Pose)