Though there is still snow on the ground, the days are about to be longer than the nights, and my inbox is full of both expensive and discount offers for cleanses of various sorts, and I’m seeing Facebook posts asking about good spring cleanses with all sorts of suggestions in response. If I were a different kind of reader and practitioner, I’d no doubt be beset with explanations and special offers for dieting into a bikini-worthy body. If I were an even different sort of reader, I might be thinking I needed an official spring cleanse, one of the ones that yoga acquaintances say make them feel light or high, etc.
I don’t much believe in cleanses, but I do believe in listening–really paying attention–to my body and emotions and how they relate to the cycle of the seasons. In winter, I tend to gain a few pounds from spending more time inside and eating the heavy, dense food my body wisely craves in winter both for warmth and protection from starvation (granted the latter is not a real threat for the middle-class, but my genetic make-up doesn’t know that). I fully trust that when the days get warmer and lighter and I can spend more time outside walking and spring vegetables and fruit start to show up at the market, I will lose a few pounds.
Before you get too caught up in thinking that to have the body you’re supposed to have (whether it be for looks or some fashion-driven notion of health) you need to go on some formal diet you might not need or spend money having someone tell you what to eat and when (although if you find that works for you, who am I to say no?), why not try noticing whether the change of light and temperature alters your natural cravings (not the ones for junk food or excess sugar or salt)? If you can notice a change in what food attracts you, try honoring the change.
You might find that small portions of kitcheree (lightly spiced rice and lentil porridge), along with plenty of fruits and vegetables (and as spring produce comes in, you’ll find spring vegetables and fruit want less cooking than do winter ones, or perhaps none at all), feels like a nice way to lighten up for several days as the seasons transition. Ssssh! That’s pretty much what’s in a spring cleanse. If you want to make your change of diet feel sanctioned by the yogis add some reading on Ayurveda or mindful eating to invigorate your practice and your dedication to paying loving attention to your body and how it relates to the seasons and the web and cycle of being.