Spring Cleaning, Ayurveda-Style
Spring arrives, and with it comes flowers budding, sunny days mingling with intermittent rainstorms to refresh and replenish, warmer temperatures, and a desire to get things moving and start anew.
While Mother Nature is doing her spring cleaning, we too feel a call to clean out what’s built up over the winter. Spring is the perfect time to detox and declutter, Ayurveda-style—in our body, mind, and daily life.
Start with your closet. Fill a donation bag with the clothes you no longer wear but keep around in case you might some day. (If you haven’t worn it all winter, you probably won’t wear it next winter.) Store the rest of your winter clothes, packing them away neatly so you don’t face another stressful and disorganized situation in the fall. Now take out your warm-weather clothes and arrange them so they’re easy to see and access.
Move to your common areas. Remove all the knickknacks from the shelves so you can clean under and around them. Clean your upholstered furniture, walls, and shelves to remove stains and dust that can hide in the darker months. As you put the room back together, decide what you want to hold on to and what should go out with the clothes. Create a peaceful space with room to breathe. Too many things on the walls and shelves can cause distraction and overstimulation, which can lead to stress and discomfort.
Address the piles: the bills, coupons, books, random paperwork. Use a labeling system or filing cabinet to organize it all. Simply knowing where things are and that they have a place will create more ease in your life.
We spend a lot of time in offices or work environments, and these spaces need attention, too. If you walk into your office and there are piles of paper everywhere, and you can’t find anything you’re looking for because of the clutter, you’ll become frustrated and less efficient. Organizing your space and adding touches of beauty will minimize stress, create serenity, and increase your output and creativity.
Try a weeklong media fast: Eliminate all social media, TV, extended social phone calls or text messaging, etc. Media fasting is a great way to de-clutter your mind and create a more sattvic, or peaceful, state. During this week off, take a few minutes each day to journal about what you notice coming up. At the end of the fast, decide which habits you want to keep and which you’re ready to eliminate.
Spring is the perfect time to begin a meditation practice. Now that your house is in order, find a peaceful spot to set up a meditation corner. This can be delineated simply by a pillow on the floor, or you can make it more elaborate with an altar or other decorations you love. Freshly picked flowers are a great way to bring a little nature into a meditation space. Make sure your space is orderly and neat. Set an intention to sit peacefully for five to 10 minutes in the morning and again in the evening, focusing on your breath and letting thoughts and worries go. You can use a guided meditation recording for this practice if you prefer.
Start a workout regime. Since our lymph does not have a pump (like the blood has the heart), we have to move it manually by moving our bodies. Now that the weather is nicer, it’s a great time to get outside and play. Find a workout partner and some exercise that you love doing, like running, walking, hiking, biking, yoga, or a fun fitness class. According to Ayurveda, the best time to exercise is in the morning, before you eat breakfast or shower. The second best time is in the early evening, before dinner.
Spring cleanses are popular, but you don’t have to go on a torturous diet in order to hit the reset button. Doing a gentle detox by eating very simple foods for a week or two can be very powerful. Try this: For one week, eliminate all sugar, dairy, meat, alcohol, oils, processed foods, caffeine, and flours. Eat whole, fresh organic fruit for breakfast, steamed vegetables and quinoa or brown rice for lunch, and simple vegetable soup or steamed vegetables again for dinner. Sip herbal teas and lemon water throughout the day. This gives the digestive system a chance to cleanse, de-clutter, and start anew.
© Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. All rights reserved. To request permission to reprint, please e-mail email@example.com.