It’s hard to believe but the first day of spring is just over a week away. Even though I’m sure winter will still have a few flurries of excitement left for us, now is the time to start harnessing this new energy to prepare our minds, bodies, and our environments for the budding season ahead. That’s right! I’m talking about our annual spring cleanse.
Spring is a transitional season, carrying nature from the inert, conservative state of winter into the high activity of summer. So the goal of the spring cleanse is to lighten up our system and make ourselves more vibrant and efficient for these increased physical challenges and activities.
In Chinese Medicine, spring relates to the wood element and to the liver and gall bladder. As such, the liver is the main focus of our spring cleanse. The liver relates to the emotions of unresolved anger and irritability. Spring is characterized by the strong energy of growth and change so it is important to allow this energy to flow smoothly without blockages. By engaging in exercises and movement, being in nature, and relaxation techniques for the heart and mind, such as meditation, one can experience relief from congestive emotions and support the health of their liver (and consequently, the entire body) at the same time.
There are a number of critical dietary measures and cleansing supplements that can dramatically increase the beneficial results you get from a spring detox. I will be going into detail about these crucial cleansing protocols in my next newsletter. In this issue, I’d like to offer some holistic mind/body preparation tips to help you get the most out of your spring cleanse. Depending on your personal goals, you may choose to make your own detox regimen more or less involved. Just remember that it’s important to begin any type of cleanse under the supervision of an experienced healthcare provider who can guide you in the process—especially if you have health concerns or chronic ailments.
Planning your spring cleanse
A spring cleanse can be as short as three days or as long as 21 days—but I find that 10 to 14 days is optimal for most individuals. You might choose to start with a preparation phase, followed by a middle segment that is more intense, and wind your cleanse down by repeating the preparation phase. But however you plan your detox, the basis should always be a fresh, healthy diet with a focus on plenty of organic vegetables, whether steamed or raw, in addition to high quality nutritional supplements to support the various phases of detoxification. And don’t forget plenty of pure water (and herbal tea). Hydration is extremely critical during a cleanse.
If you can plan for time off of work during your cleanse, this is ideal. Giving yourself the space to expand, relax and mediate on the things you wish to let go of can help you release toxins of all kinds: emotional, physical, mental and spiritual. If you can’t take time off of work, try to give yourself a few hours a day to create a sacred space to unpeel the layers of obstructions that may be affecting your health and vibrancy.
Cleansing and purifying your home, work and other environments is also an important preparation step. Cleaning out the stagnant winter energy, dusting and removing pathogens that may be lingering inside your home and getting rid of clutter in your surroundings can have a profound positive impact on the health of your body, mind and spirit.
Designating a sacred space for meditation, relaxation and contemplation, etc., sends a message to your entire being that your commitment to vibrant health, clarity and anything else is sincere and profound. See what positive changes will arise when you focus your energy into a sacred healing space for yourself!
Preparing your mind for spring detox
If you had the opportunity to experiment with and experience meditation and inner reflection during the winter, you’ve likely discovered aspects of yourself that you no longer need to hold onto. So, as part of the cleansing process, it’s always useful to decide what it is you’re prepared to let go of as you move forward into the summer.
An expansive approach to detoxification looks at the “cleanse” as a means of increasing your degree of freedom and openness. We can take our example from nature: Just as the day expands from dawn to dusk and the weather warms with the arrival of a new season, we can allow our perceptions to expand. One of the most profound ways to do this is through the use of meditation. By engaging in regular meditation, we can embrace those things in life that previously troubled us. Letting go of our afflictive emotions which have so much control over our perception of reality is an important part of the cleansing process.
That’s why, when engaging in a cleanse, we should always begin with the ultimate goal of creating greater freedom and opening up. This can be done with simple mediation practices which focus on your breathing, such as Shamata meditation. Click here for more information about this simple and profound healing practice.
During this unfolding process, our overloads and afflictions are released and allowed to dissipate like dew in the morning sun. As we detoxify and let go of some of these limiting perceptions and emotions, we find that the same stimulus no longer brings the same response, and that life naturally becomes easier.
A successful cleanse can do just this and more. In addition to more vibrant physical health, we can also develop a deeper sense of compassion, understanding, and release and transform negative patterns—allowing us to move forward into the next season with a healthy heart and mind, too. For more tips on preparing for your spring cleanse, click here for two of my informative videos. I invite you to take part in nature’s energetic preparation of this important transition, to help harness the rewards of lasting health and vibrancy for all aspects of your being, all year round.
Dr. Isaac Eliaz, a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine since the early 1980's, is a respected author, lecturer, researcher, product formulator and clinical practitioner.
Since 1991 Dr. Eliaz has maintained a busy private practice in northern California that focuses primarily on integrative, holistic protocols for cancer patients. He leads an integrative medical team at Amitabha Clinic in Sebastopol, California with focus on cancer and other chronic ailments.
To learn more, please visit www.dreliaz.org.
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