After a week of yoga-tastic glory, Wanderlust ended with a soft rainstorm and mellow mood on Sunday afternoon. Laying in my last Savasana of the festival, with the pitter pats of raindrops falling softly from above, I considered how easy life would be if this were my everyday reality. Rising with the sun, walking on the mountain and observing the breath in my body – living the way nature really intended. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be.
With my eyes shut tight, and my toes splayed out I considered the truth. The truth was that in a few hours I would board a plane and fly up through the rabbit hole shocked and blinking into reality. Back to work and to e-mails, to unread messages and over steeped coffee, back to gossip at the cooler and doughnuts in the kitchen. I’d make plans to workout, to walk and read but fall back into old habits; late night burrito binges and the happiest of happy hours. As weeks passed I would feel the call of the studio, my mat would gather dust, and my heart would grow tired and overwhelmed with the weight of living for everyone else. Schedules on schedules on schedules, with a phone glued to my hand, fighting a hangover and longing for sleep. Weddings and friends and weddings of friends would all roll together in the crazy, mixed-up kaleidoscope of my busy, wonderful life – and everything would be beautiful, but clarity would leave.
That got me thinking — how could I keep the peace I’d felt in these four days? Wanderlust isn’t reality, but it makes us realize what we might forget when regular life gets overwhelming. In the practice of Ayurveda we learn our about our doshas, the type of people we are and the weaknesses to which we are drawn. After taking Pamela Quinn’s seminar, founder of The Elemental Om, on Ayurvedic Cleansing which seeks to eliminate toxicity of the body, mind and spirit, I found a suggestion on how to keep peace going. Take a break.
Just a few days, maybe even one, seven if you can swing it; but do a cleanse. The body itself is a wonderful thing. It’s self-renewing, healing and surprisingly resilient. When we make bad choices our body forgives us, even when the mind doesn’t. So consciously choosing to live well unites everything in harmony. For cleansing, I feel the same way as I do about meditation. It isn’t magic, it isn’t visualization, it isn’t some secret sage blend of herbs and crazy spices – it’s you – taking the time, a minute, a day to really focus on yourself. Coming back from travel is the perfect time. Before the bubble of Wanderlust bursts, and you fall back into old habits, reset for the new and try a cleanse.
Lead with your dosha and find out what you are. Based on the principles of Ayurveda the first and most important rule of this cleanse is: do not suffer. If you feel faint, angry, irritable or willing to rip off someone’s arm for a bite of bread, stop, rest and break the fast. Get up at 6:00 am in bed by 10:00. Meditate. Scrape your tongue and massage your body with sesame oil. Eat small portions no more than 2 cups at a meal. Avoid dairy. Avoid stress, the media and your phone. Survive. Do yoga, journal and give yourself a break. Have a spa day. Do your best, and just try.
Day 1-3: Vata, Pitta, Kapha
1. One cup of hot water with lemon first thing in the morning – this may be consumed 15 minutes before any meal today.
2. Within an hour of the lemon water, eat fruit for breakfast, small berries are recommended
1. Ginger tea (hot water with ginger fresh ginger), juice (vegetable based), berries, nuts, dried fruit, or yogi breakfast (heated nut milk- like almond, hemp etc., combined with 1 tsp honey, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg over a handful of almonds)
1. Dahl – A light lentil stew of split peas, lentils, peppers, small potato, turmeric, ginger, and coriander with a pinch of sea salt and cilantro.
2. Steamed veggies
1. Basmati rice and steamed veggies OR broth based veggie based soup with a slice of multi-grain bread
Day 4-5: Pitta, Kapha (Vata cleanse stops day two)
This is a juice based day.
1. One cup of hot water with lemon first thing in the morning
2. Veggie based juice
Day 6-7: Kapha (Vata, Pitta cleanse stops day 5)
1. Water based fasting days. Hot water and lemon is allowed for day six. On day seven, water until noon when the fast is broken.
Life is about choices, and how they force us to grow. They spur change and hold us accountable for our decisions. While a constant supply of quinoa and a yin class at sunrise will keep us happy, learning to make good choices ourselves will keep us sane. So while you’re running to the car, speeding to the post office and knocking on the door to find out that yes, they have just closed and no, they will not open – even if you’re pointing and give mad side eye – remember this: you have a choice – choose peace. Life is a balance of hard and soft, of soul-crushing monotony tempered with bright spots of family, friends and happiness. So keep the balance, keep on going, and feed yourself and your soul with the goodness you make.
Nicole Gurney is a freelance writer living and working in San Diego. She focuses on healthy living, recipe development and exploring the role mindfulness plays in leading a balanced life. Sea salt and chocolate are her weaknesses, as is the promise of a good time. Eclectic and creative, she seeks new opportunities to grow her talents as a young professional, while remaining calm and level in an ever more demanding world.