CLEANSE + RESET FOR SPRING - THE PLAN
Earlier this week, I shared a shopping list of everything you need to do a spring Cleanse + Reset. This time, I give you: the master plan. This is a very gentle Ayurvedic cleanse that will leave you feeling renewed and ready to take on the world, so you can fully enjoy the blooms and the birdsong. Spring is a soft, warmer, moist season that nurtures the body. It calls for different rituals from wintertime in order to ward off any potential allergies or illnesses that can arise.
In the Ayurvedic tradition as well as in many ancient civilisations, a change of season calls for a short period of fasting to allow us to reconnect with our bodies and prepare them for the new season. “Fasting” is often thought of as a drastic period of abstaining from food, but it can also mean a time of eating more simply and mindfully, giving the body a break from excess and supporting it with healthy choices, so that you can ease into the change of season and reset again.
This time last year I was on a retreat in the Himalayas to study Ayurveda and undertake a Panchakarma — spending a lot of time outdoors and practising mindful living, I watched as the seasons changed before my very eyes. Everyone I met was honouring the practice of Navaratri (meaning nine nights): the nine days before a seasonal change, when they eat a little more simply, turn inwards and take time with themselves, practising self-care to avoid the colds and other maladies that can happen when the environment changes rapidly. The first official day of spring in the West is between the 20th and the 21st of March. In India, Navaratri takes place this year from the 18th to the 26th of March.
Whether you're feeling worn out or not, my three-day plan is a gentle way to ease you into the brighter days ahead. Yes, the sun will be here very soon! Spring is a time of new beginnings, as flowers begin to bloom, trees recover their leaves and the sun starts to peep through the clouds. If you go into it on the right foot, your body and your life can truly benefit from this rebirth and offset some of the heavy Kapha energy we all accumulate over winter, when we spend a lot of time inside and don’t move as much. This helps us to deal with any Kapha imbalances rather than allow them to drag on throughout the spring, making you feel sluggish, and prone to weight gain and heightened emotions, among other symptoms. A three-day Cleanse + Reset also helps to balance out the mentally stimulating Vata energy that accumulates from our busy, modern, technology-driven world.
So if you feel the calling to, do join me in the coming weekend on a little Cleanse + Reset that you can fit into a busy life. Enjoy four delicious and simple recipes mixed up over the three days for easy-to-digest nutrition and support. Remember that food is not the only way to nourish yourself; we want to look after our mind, body and spirit, so this is a great time to treat and spoil yourself with lots of beautiful self-care, including some much-needed yoga, meditation and breathing exercises. I love the Movement for Life Yoga Programme, which has everything you need to bring your yoga practice into your home. Think of it as a stay-cation and home-spa in one.
So click here to see the plan. And if you’d like to know a little more about Navaratri read on.
WHAT IS THE NAVARATRI FESTIVAL?
The Navaratri celebration, like so much of Hindu tradition and mythology, is not simply about superstition, but rather is a tangible way to help us connect with nature. Take for example the Ganges, worshipped because water is so essential for life — these rituals and traditions are beautiful reminders for us be present, to be grateful and that we ARE nature.
In India, the Navaratri celebration is a powerful way to acknowledge what is happening around us in nature, namely the incredible transition between seasons. It occurs twice a year, at the start of autumn and spring.
In the spring festival, which is coming up, Navaratri marks the awakening of nature, taking us and our environment out of hibernation. Of course, the nine days are not a randomly picked number: they are divided into three parts of three days each.
The first part celebrates the goddess Durga, whose warrior spirit invites transformation. The second are meant for Lakshmi, who represents abundance and nurture. Finally, the third is dedicated to Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom and creativity. The resulting life-force energy, called Shakti, is said to bring us wholeness and renewal, a life full of prospects and hope. So you can see how they use what some might see as religious symbols to remind us: ‘tis these stories that make us human.
The tradition of Navaratri recognises that, as nature changes around us with the advent of spring, we can’t treat our bodies the same as we did in winter: we must adapt to our surroundings. That’s why doing a cleanse, in the Ayurvedic sense, is a good idea.
We accumulate a tonne of toxins over winter and now is the time to shed them! Hot drinks like Detox Herbal Tea and hot water can help on this mission, as can a bit of extra exercise — try getting off the bus one stop early, or walking instead of driving a short distance. For more tips on how to reset for the season of flowers and birdsong, click here for my Cleanse + Reset plan. It includes plenty of lifestyle tips to restore you from head to toe — breathing techniques, yoga for relaxation and some easy ways to detox from all your technology. It’s a holistic plan for you to make a lovely little staycation at home for yourself.