Sorry for the radio silence on these blog posts. My good intentions to write every couple of days have been derailed, but the good news is that the cleanse has not! That is still going strong, but not without a few bumps here or there. But let me start back at the beginning. So to my shock and surprise, detox symptoms hit me on DAY 2. The previous times I've done something like this it took at least three or four days to set in so I was really surprised. What do I mean by detox symptoms? Headache, a bit of body ache and a general feeling of heaviness are what I experienced this time around. It's almost like how your muscles feel after a challenging workout but before any pain or stiffness set in. They just feel heavy, like they can't possibly do the job you're asking them, even if it's just walking around the house. And if you DO ask too much, they let you know! That heaviness just gets worse.
What does it mean that it all hit me so fast this time? I'm honestly not really sure. I'm chalking it up to the fact that I've changed my general diet a good deal since I first did this cleanse, but that may just be positive thinking. ;-)
A few days later, that heaviness could still be felt in my muscles, but the lightness I started to feel in my gut was amazing. One of the things we don't typically think about when we eat is how much energy it takes to digest our food, and how much "junk" we might be carrying around if we aren't digesting properly. This is part of what I like to call "After Thanksgiving Dinner Syndrome". Some might chalk that up to chemicals in your turkey dinner, but guess what? Same thing will happen to the vegetarians in the room! And why? Because our bodies use energy to GET energy from our food! There has to be enough energy in the system to break down what's been put in. And when what goes in is disproportionate to what is already there or what is coming out, we get tired and maybe even stay tired over long periods of time.
My awareness has really been awakened to this in this cleanse experience this time around. I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia about 10 years ago (my first awakening about how and what I ate was affecting my body) and learned to eat small meals at more frequent intervals to keep my blood sugar on a level plane. I learned to carry snacks with me wherever I went to avoid that horrible feeling that comes with a blood sugar crash. And I also learned to eat a WHOLE LOT when it was available, so hopefully if I ran into a situation where I couldn't get a good meal when I needed it, that I would still be ok. My blood sugar issues seem to have virtually disappeared with the diet I regularly follow these days, but apparently my anxiety about where that next meal is coming from has not. And more importantly, that anxiety may be the underlying cause to the habit of overeating that I've recognized in myself, but haven't been able to solve so far.
Cleansing can be just as much of an awakening process as a regular yoga practice.
In the second week the heaviness has left the building and new found energy seems to be apparent! I'm usually a pretty heavy sleeper, requiring at LEAST 8 hours a night to be functional in the morning. In the last week I've noticed that I've actually been sleeping less but not feeling the effects of it like I normally would. There's that energy exchange again. The jury is still out on whether or not that's really a good thing though. I'm definitely not one to advocate for LESS sleep in our crazy modern world.
I was talking to someone about this cleanse the other day and we discussed a bit about how hard it might be to schedule something like this for oneself, and I had to agree. It isn't easy. In the first week I had a million things going on at the studio, in the second week my husband and I ended up unexpectedly buying a new car (HELLO STRESS! NICE TO SEE YOU!!). All of this reminded me of this quote from dear Swami-ji:
"When you make a vow or a decision, don't expect it to go smoothly. If everything goes smoothly, where is the test to prove that you will stick to that vow? You should even be concerned if no tests come.
If you vow not to eat sweets, very soon someone will offer you the most tempting and unusual treat. If you vow to wake up every morning at 4:30 for meditation, suddenly you will feel so tired. You will only want to sleep.
If you vow to treat your spouse as God, probably at first he or she will look just like a god to you. Maybe for a few days he will act like God also. Then all of a sudden, that same God will turn into something terrible! Even then, don't waver in your vow; continue to think of him or her as God. That's your test. If you pass the test, the situation has become a great instrument for your spiritual growth." ~ Shri Swami Satchidananda
Choosing to do something like this is DEFINITELY a test. Especially if it is a far cry from your usual habits. I have washed more dishes per day in the last (nearly) two weeks than I care to count (we don't have a dishwasher). I have frantically been cutting fruits and veggies to throw in the blender minutes before I had to run out the door to teach. I have suddenly found myself looking at the clock and rushing to make and eat my evening soup before the cut off time of 8pm. Is it easy? No. Is it always ideal? No. But this is the commitment I've made to MYSELF for these 21 days. I have been tested and nearly gave up on day 3, but as Swami-ji says, I didn't expect it to go smoothly. Life happens. How we react and respond is just part of the practice. Honestly, if you have considered doing something like this and just couldn't find the *right* time, you may just not be ready to make the commitment. And that's ok. It will come when you're ready.
Next time - recipes!