Several months ago I began a journey into Yoga Therapy.
The program in which I am enrolled incorporates Ayurvedic concepts which makes perfect sense when one understands that both Yoga and Ayurveda are founded in the same Vedic scriptures. I am fortunate that my lessons in Ayurveda happened to coincide with a change from Winter to Spring and such a change in season is the perfect time for an Ayurvedic cleanse.
In our Western culture, the word “cleanse” is often met with thoughts of restriction and ‘less.’ An Ayurvedic cleanse is not that at all – it is about nourishing the body, allowing it to expel toxins and then heal as the body knows how to do. How does the cleanse work?
It consists of 3 phases: pre-cleanse, cleanse and reintegration. The pre-cleanse phase asked me to look at my current eating habits honestly, remove toxins and addictive substances (caffeine, alcohol, processed foods) and evaluate my daily habits – what suits me and what does not. Then came the cleanse phase, a mono-diet of kitchari and veggies for 3 meals a day. For me this was simple because I’m a vegan and not a big foodie, in fact I found myself missing the kitchari when I moved out of the cleanse phase.
And finally, reintegration. After almost 2 weeks of pre-cleansing and cleansing, it was time to move away from the mono-diet and figure out what my new dinacharya(daily routine) was going to be. Sounds simple enough, right? Yes and no. During the cleanse, I learned it was not all about food. Simple changes like no coffee in the morning, saying no to the stress eating of pita chips and hummus and saying yes to simple food and restful habits created an emotional upheaval and energetic shift in me that was unexpected.
Throughout the experience, emotions surfaced that I didn’t realize I had. Anxiety was an underlying toxin that bubbled up in the beginning of the process and eventually exited my space leaving a sense of calm unlike anything I had experienced prior. Energetically there were ups and downs, some quite intense. I remember on a number of days thinking “why is gravity pushing me down so much today” only to realize that was my body releasing toxins and forcing me to feel true oneness with the physical world. And then there was the headache that endure for a couple of days, physical and mental fatigue and at times difficulty managing surfacing emotions. While the possible side effects are disclosed in all materials and discussions related to the cleanse, we as humans always think “that will never happen to me.” Well, a lot of it did happen to me and there were days when it was a quite a challenge and required mental and physical effort to not quit. All of that said, would I do it again? Absolutely. As with most things, the cleanse came to an end and I reintegrated back into a new dinacharya where I found myself living with more peace and ease, more energy and more awareness. That way of being is what attracts to so many of us to yoga - my appreciation for it all has truly grown. I am honored to have discovered all that I did in this much more profound and integrated way. This small step on the journey into Ayurveda has shifted my focus forward to further incorporating Ayurveda into my life. The alignment with my being is something I feel, recognize and welcome every day. Namaste. Om Shanti to all.
Betsy Nagy, MS, LMHC, RYT
Integrative Psychotherapist specializing in parent-child relationships and holistic mind-body connections to health.
Betsy comes to ActivXchange with a passion for sharing all she has learned on her own path to holistic wellness. Along her life’s wellness journey, she has studied psychology, mind/body healing, and yoga. She integrates lessons from multiple approaches to best benefit the complex beings that we all are. Recognizing the importance of wholeness and balance of being, Betsy believes human mind, body and soul interconnect - one does not exist without the others. She understands that wellness begins with acknowledging and respecting all that we are and all that life’s journey has given us; that it is from a place of love and acceptance that we develop, grow and honor the best version of ourselves. Betsy has a Bachelor’s degree from the Ohio State University and Master’s degrees in Business Administration and Psychology. she is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a certified yoga teacher (RYT 500).