I generally like to start that seasonal habit at the Sivananda Ashram in the Bahamas. It’s a great place to get a jump-start --- a week or two of yoga, meditation, spiritual guidance and a really clean vegetarian diet with no alcohol and no caffeine. Returning home with mind and body feeling so refreshed and rejuvenated makes it easy to continue the regimen for a while. I am not able to make that pilgrimage at this time, but the fact is that those goals can be achieved anywhere -- it’s just a matter of setting the intention.

Our bodies endure an endless amount of stressors -- environmental toxins, processed foods, drinks, unresolved emotions, and psychological stress. As our bodies try to digest all of this, we accumulate some degree of toxicity, which over time can build up in the system, deposit itself into our tissues, cells and organs, and compromise our physical and emotional health. Giving your body a little respite will allow it to rest, recuperate and repair itself, and can address the root causes of any imbalances. It’s like a deep cleaning for the body.

Since the mind and body are one unit -- what happens in the mind affects the body, and vice versa. So a cleanse not only rests and purifies the digestive system, but also clears the mind and becomes a detox for the soul. Toxic emotions and experiences from the past can sabotage or keep us stuck with the same old thoughts, patterns and regrets. A good Fall cleaning can help to clear away the difficulties of your past and help bring you to the present moment with a clean slate and a fresh start, with improved energy, strength and vitality. Adding daily yoga, meditation and a little inspirational reading to this experience will help you to truly get in touch with your feelings, all the way down to soul level, and guide you toward balance and equanimity.

Your detox does not have to be complicated in any way -- I like to keep it pretty simple. Here are some basic guidelines:

  • Eliminate caffeine, alcohol, tobacco products

  • Eliminate fast foods, processed foods, meats, refined sugars and sweets

  • Eat as many simple, whole foods as possible - fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds (Chicken and fish if strict vegetarian diet is not appealing)

  • Drink 6 - 8 glasses of water daily, along with herbal teas

  • Practice daily yoga, meditation, inspirational reading, reflection and journaling.

And that’s all there is to it. Coffee drinkers may experience a slight headache when first eliminating caffeine, but that will dissipate within a few days, and after 21 days your body and mind will be grateful to you for nurturing them and will reciprocate in ways that will make you feel really good about yourself. You may sleep better and feel more vibrant and energetic during the day, you will think more clearly, your skin will look more vibrant and rested, and your eyes will shine more brightly. So, what have you got to lose? Perhaps you’ll even lose few pounds in the process. It is, of course, always a good idea to start your cleanse when you have some time and space with no upcoming parties, celebrations or other social engagements that might try to dissuade you.

Happy Fall and happy cleansing! I wish you peace, joy, love and light.