It’s not an accident that spring is a popular time for cleansing. As we shift into kapha season in the Ayurvedic calendar, we enter into a time when we are especially prone to feelings of sluggishness, lethargy and overaccumulation. Just as accumulated snowfalls melt at this time of year, we too have an instinct to transform and release anything in our bodies, minds or physical space that has served its purpose.
In the age of the Internet, we have access to thousands of cleanse regimens at our fingertips. While I don’t think there is one optimal cleanse for everybody, I do think there are some common traits that differentiate the most effective cleanse from less effective routines.
Here are five things in particular I urge you to consider when choosing a cleanse:
1) Find someone you trust: There’s a ton of information in books and on the Internet about how to cleanse, but nothing compares to having a real person to go to for questions, support and encouragement. If you’re considering a cleanse with someone you don’t already know, take some time to get to know them via their website/social media and feel into your heart to detect if you feel a resonance with that person and their message. If the answer is no, keep searching until you find someone who feels more aligned with you.
2) Look for Options: The best cleanses I have done give suitable options for people with different lifestyles, body types, activity levels, etc. A good cleanse should have some flexibility built into it and be able to support you wherever you are in your life. If you have special circumstances or concerns in your life that may impact your ability to cleanse, have a conversation with your cleanse guide to learn about modifications that can support you.
3) Avoid Too Many Pricey Supplements: I’m a big believer in the power of food to help us detox, rejuvenate and heal. You don’t need dozens of supplements to have an effective cleanse experience. Supplements are often just a money-making tactic for cleanse leaders, who get a cut of every bottle sold. I’ve also seen cleanses where supplements are recommended without much explanation. If you choose such a cleanse, ask your cleanse guide for information on what the various formulas do so that you can be informed. Someone I know recently did a cleanse that required over $500 worth of herbs, many of which were left over after the cleanse. If you are considering making a substantial investment, it is worthwhile to get a sense of dosages and perhaps skip any supplements where you’ll only need a couple pills during the cleanse.
4) Go Beyond Food: Anyone who has done a cleanse can tell you that it is much more than a physical experience. Cleansing encourages us to work on our minds and emotions as well. The best cleanses I have come across offer support through tools like articles, discussions and guided meditations around particular themes. If you choose a cleanse that only offers food recommendations, I would encourage you to assemble your own set of tools to accompany you on your journey. This could include spiritual books you’ve wanted to read, podcasts or downloadable meditations, yoga classes and more.
5) Be Skeptical of Weight Loss Promises: You may lose some weight when you do a cleanse, but that should never be the primary outcome you are searching for. In my experience, when people get fixated on a number on the scale, they miss the beauty of the cleanse journey itself, and can spiral down a hole of self-judgment and blame when they don’t lose the weight they were hoping to shed. It’s problematic that so many cleanse leaders make promises about weight loss because each one of us responds differently to cleansing routines, and we don’t always see our waistlines shrink. Honor your body and its own process and trust that whatever outcomes you experience are right for where you are in this point in time.
If you’re looking for a food-based cleanse that is in alignment with all these recommendations, you are invited to join me March 20-27 for the Pranaful Spring Cleanse. This cleanse can also be done in any one-week window of your choice. By signing up, you’ll get all the materials for use at any time.
Whatever cleanse you may end up choosing, I hope you have a positive experience and that you stay curious. I’ve done numerous cleanses over the last 15 years and each experience is different than the last – sometimes wildly so! Keep an open mind and heart and be willing to receive all that this transformational ritual can offer.