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I love this time of year, the Magnolia Trees have fuzzy buds on the tips of their branches, the Crocus begin to poke their colorful petals through the snow covered ground. The Earth begins to emerge from her winter slumber, reminding us of the warmer days ahead.  As the Earth reawakens in March, so do our bodies. Preparing to be more active, our bodies begin to shed the toxins that have been stored throughout the winter that we do not need to carry with us as we venture into warmer days. When you hear the words “Spring Cleaning”, where does your mind go first? Your home, car, yard? While this is a part of “Spring Cleaning” it is only a small piece of the pie.

Spring Cleaning is so much more than just clearing out environmental clutter, dusting blinds, and cleaning  grout. It is also about paying attention to and sweeping out mind clutter, emotional baggage and toxic relationships. I know, it sounds heavy, because these are the things that are keeping us stuck, it is heavy! Fear not, there are ways that we can move through it and let it go. I will do my best to keep this short and sweet, but let’s be real; clearing out certain things takes time, consistency, patience and did I mention patience?

BODY

I love a good spring cleanse, starting with my body and mind. Begin by eliminating foods or substances that may be troublesome. This is a cleanse, after all. Some examples: soda, junk food (processed food), fast food, alcohol, mind altering substances, and the one that is the hardest for me… coffee. Be careful if you are limiting caffeine intake; definitely taper slowly. We also want to limit or eliminate sugar, red meat, and dairy. Then we add in the goods: foods that support healthy liver and gallbladder functions, clear out sluggish lymph nodes, and support circulatory system cleansing. Don’t worry, I have some examples for you: beets, carrots, apples, dark leafy greens, lemons, limes, grapefruit, healthy fats (cold pressed olive oil, avocado, and nuts). These spices are also very helpful to get the body cleaning up and clearing out toxins: turmeric, cumin, cayenne, and coriander (cilantro).

The next part I cannot stress enough… are you ready? DRINK MORE WATER! Keep yourself hydrated! Sip don’t chug, throughout the day. Warm water is best, and don’t forget the lemon. Two more things as we work to cleanse the body, the first: Eat on a schedule and try not to snack after 7 pm. The body needs time to digest and rest so that it can keep you healthy and functioning regularly. The second: My personal favorite, SLEEP. Try to have a regular sleep schedule. In bed by 10 p.m. , and up and out of bed by 6 a.m. Yes I said 6 a.m. This gives you time to cleanse the mind in the quiet of the early morning, and sets up your day for whatever it is that you are going to create.

“Awareness is like the sun. When it shines on things, they are transformed.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

BODY WORK

Let someone else assist you in clearing out and making space within yourself. My personal favorite is massage, but other options are acupuncture, hypnotherapy, meditation, working with a personal trainer, or dance. Did I mention yoga? Well, let me just put that right here: YOGA! When clearing out, yoga is the best medicine especially when adding deep twisting and even deeper breath work to the practice. When you twist your physical body, and are aware of the body, mind and breath, we begin to unravel the things that are ready to be released. The ability to release with intention and breath feels so refreshing.

MIND

Some of you already know that I love all things yoga. The spiritual, mental, and physical. Make time for yourself in the mornings, before the rush of preparing for your day, to sit quietly and reconnect. How do you feel? What are your thoughts? How does your body feel? Do you need to move or be still? Are you breathing?  I call this an awareness check. As you begin to really pay attention to the answers of your “awareness check”, you begin to have the ability to release thoughts, emotions, habits or patterns that are negative and no longer serving you. Take this moment to consciously let it go. If you want, you can journal your internal discoveries, and if the urge arises, burn those pages when you are done. This is a cleanse after all.

RELATIONSHIPS

Toxic relationships hinder your growth as a person. This is sometimes the hardest step, and you may not be ready to completely eliminate them from your life. So start smaller, start by creating space and setting clear boundaries with that person. It is okay to honor where you are on your journey and where you are with those relationships. Remember patience is a big part of cleaning house.

ENVIRONMENTAL

Last but not least, clear out that unnecessary clutter in your home. Deep clean, organize, donate to a charitable organization, add fresh flowers to your home, dust, air out and here is where you might clean that grout. You do you!

Let yourself breathe, and remember again to be patient with yourself. All of this doesn’t happen in one night. This is a process, a continual, gradual process, and the gift of getting to know, honor and care for yourself is wrapped up in every piece of the pie. Remember: You have got this!

Recipe of the Month – Mung Dal Kitchari

Kitchari is an easy way to cleanse your digestion and restore freshness. This recipe is a heart warming synergy of mung beans, basmati rice, and digestive spices that is easy to prepare. This time tested formula, centuries old, is a complete protein, and rich in fiber.

Ingredients:

1 Cup Basmati Rice

4 Bayleaves

1/4 tsp. Cardamom

1/2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/4 tsp. Cloves

1 tsp. Cumin

2 Tbsp. Ghee

1″ Fresh Ginger

1/2 Cup Mung Beans

1/4 tsp. Salt

4 Cups Water or Broth

Prep time: 10 min

Cook time: 45-60min

Serving size: 4

Recipe

1. Use split mung bean if possible. Soak the mung beans for several hours before cooking and drain. Add 6c water and bring to a boil, scooping off any foam that forms on the top. Then, strain out the liquid, and add another 4c of fresh water to the mung dal.

2. When the mung beans are dissolved into the broth (1-3hrs depending upon desired textured), grind the ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and cumin. Make a thick paste by adding a bit of water. Let sit for five minutes, then saute in the ghee until the spices become aromatic but before they brown. De-glaze the frying pan with a 1/4c of water to soak all the remaining flavor of the spices and add to the mung soup.

3. Add rice and any remaining ingredients to broth. Stir. Cover and cook on low heat for 20-25 minutes or until grains are tender.

Recipe can be found at https://www.joyfulbelly.com/Ayurveda/recipe/Mung-Dal-Kitchari-Kapha-Reducing/995