Spring Cleanse – Relax, Restore, Rejuvenate!


Ayurveda Seasonal Cleanse

SMC Community Ed is pleased to offer a new class: “Ayurveda Spring Cleanse Retreat,” by Lois Leonhardi. This three-day urban retreat will be held April 24-26 (Friday evening and full days Saturday and Sunday) at our Bundy Campus. To ensure individualized attention, class-size is limited, so register early!

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is an ancient, holistic system of medicine from India that has been used successfully for thousands of years. It emphasizes preventing disease using diet and lifestyle recommendations tailored to the individual. Seasonal cleansing based on an individual’s body type was an important practice.  It was used to clear toxins, prolong life and rejuvenate.  Many consider cleansing to be equivalent to drinking from the “fountain of youth”!

Why do we need a spring cleanse?

Lots of reasons! Stress, wrong diet, depleting lifestyle, repressed emotions, seasonal changes and environmental pollutants impact our state of balance. When we are imbalanced, our agni (digestive fire or metabolism) becomes impaired which can result in unprocessed food, thoughts or emotions. Unprocessed foods, thoughts and emotions create ama (a Sanskrit word that refers to physical and emotional toxins).

Ama is a sticky glue‐like substance that enters the blood stream and clogs channels as it accumulates throughout the body. If left unchecked, it eventually results in disease. Aurveda recommends periodic removal of ama via seasonal cleansing. Seasonal cleansing kindles agni and draws physical and emotional ama out of the tissues and into the GI tract for elimination. This restores balance to our body and mind allowing for natural cellular rejuvenation and a return to our youthful glow!

What are the best times to cleanse?

Seasonal transitions – especially spring and fall – are the best times to cleanse. Spring cleansing will flush stagnant physical and emotional energy and ama accumulated during the winter months. It prepares you for new growth for the year ahead. Cleansing during the fall removes excess heat in the body accumulated during the summer and prepares the body for winter. Seasonal cleanses can set in motion the following actions:

  • Elimination of toxins (physical and emotional) from your body
  • Strengthening of the immune system (via kindling agni and resetting the internal clock)
  • Removal of mental stress (restoring deep relaxation and mental clarity)
  • Cellular regeneration (resulting in a youthful radiance and vigor)

What is the traditional cleanse routine?

Ayurveda treats each individual as unique so the cleanse routine will vary per individual (i.e., depending on their unique needs and circumstances).

In general, a traditional cleanse consists of three phases: preparation phase (1 day to several weeks), cleansing phase (1 day to several months) and rejuvenation (1 week to several months) phase. The preparation phase and rejuvenation phases are essential elements to the program and are the key to lasting positive change.

In general, everyone eats a mono‐diet of kitchari (a stew made of mung dal and basmati rice) for the duration of the cleanse. The kitchari recipe is modified depending on the season and the individual. Kitchari is light and easy to digest. It stokes the digestive fire, which, during a cleanse, is busy processing ama that has been pulled into the GI tract.

Herbal tonics, teas and ample water throughout the day are recommended to facilitate the process. The ancients viewed foods, spices and herbs as medicine; these were strategically used in alignment with the season and individual’s constitution to maximize cleanse results.

Traditionally the cleanse was done in a setting that cultivated internal peace and clarity. Unplugging from the daily routine and spending time walking in nature, meditating and doing restorative yoga helped to remove mental toxins and restore a sense of calm.

How does this provide rejuvenation?

By removing physical impurities and releasing destructive thought patterns and behaviors, the body, mind and spirit are rejuvenated. The beauty of this holistic approach is that by working in sync with the rhythms of nature, our body’s internal clock can “reset.” The body intuitively adapts to this restored state of balance. With a renewed sense of awareness, you will instinctively seek healthier diet and lifestyle choices creating lasting results. Try for yourself and experience the benefits!

Are there any precautions we should be aware of?

Ayurvedic cleanses are gentle, but for best results, it is recommended that they be done under the supervision of an Ayurveda Practitioner. You don’t want to do this from a YouTube Video! Ayurvedic cleanses are tailored to the season and individual. They are modified according to an individual’s current state of health; types of medications/herbs currently in use; medical conditions (i.e., high BP, cholesterol, bi‐polar, depression, hypertension, etc.); amount of ama, etc. The spring cleanse retreat that we will be doing at SMC will be “food-based” – we will not be taking any herbs. The spring cleanse workshop is not intended to diagnosis or treat any health problem. As a precaution, you should always consult with your healthcare professional before taking any medication, herbs or making dietary changes especially if you are pregnant or if you have, or suspect you might have, a health problem.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a Certified Ayurveda Practitioner, educator and author of “Eat Well, Be Well: Ayurveda Cooking for Healthy Living.” I trained under Dr. Lad at the Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico and in Pune, India. I have more than 20 years of experience in holistic studies including ayurveda, yoga and Buddhism. By following the ancient practice of integrating yoga with ayurveda, I will help you achieve balance in your modern life. I’m based in Los Angeles and there’s more at my website: www.yogawithlois.com.

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