When I was little, summer was June, July and August and it lasted till forever. Summers stretched like the shadows on the hot sidewalks. Between playing all day outside, heading to the pool or dragging a blanket outside to read my books (always books, never just one… and some things never do change), summer was a time of celebration and fireflies.
In Kansas where I live, children are starting school at the beginning of August; the city pool starts to change its hours for after-school only and yellow school buses are gathering daily at 8am and 3:30pm. As the buses role by and the years role by I notice the change in season does come earlier and earlier. Here the white-hot sun of July turns golden and what used to be the burning August winds seems to be the start of the rainy season.
This is still the season of Pitta, but Vata has been accumulating and will soon become aggravated as Autumn arrives. Like the leaves turning brown and dry, we too, after our Vata winds have fanned the fires of Pitta, are left dry and depleted for the Autumn season. In order to prevent the stiff joints and scaly skin of winter we can prepare with an Ayurvedic Cleanse. Although a wonderful ritual for every body, it is especially beneficial to those who are Vata Prakriti and/or Vikruti dominate. In short, if you are generally cold, have dry skin, gas, tendency toward constipation or cycles of both constipation and diarrhea there is a good chance there is quite a bit of Vata in your constitution that would love to be treated to a cleanse.
I look forward every year to this cleanse! I admit that I did NOT think I would be able to ever do such a cleanse with the ingesting of ghee. There was a time in my life when any oils upset me so I did what so many people do and avoid them. In fact I see so many Atithi’s (guests) that have no digestive/eliminative issues but only because they have stopped eating everything that gives a reaction. I feel that this is a band-aid. I feel that to find the root of the issue will give the us freedom to eat as we desire, without fear, by adjusting our diet rather than restricting it. (Of course, there are serious allergies, which is a different situation where one must follow restrictions.)
Participating in the sadhana, or practice of a cleanse every autumn is highly recommended for our longevity and for maintaining our juiciness and joy for life in preparation for the pause of winter. One to three days of a mono-diet of kitcheri is a lovely way to reset. You can find my simple recipe from the cleanse below. Reactivating the digestive system and removing toxins from the body only works (in my humble opinion) by also cleaning up the mental diet as well. I do not believe any cleanse will do a body good if the 24 hour news is constantly bombarding us or Facebook is giving us our supplemental needed news and opinions. I suggest for the time you choose to devote to an autumn reset, see if you can limit disturbing thoughts and images; be it the news on TV or horror movies or whatever gives you agitation. As my mother used to say when I would wake from nightmares as a little girl, ‘think about ballerinas” …well that was my happy place…this is a good time to spend with poetry, scriptures, or that which calms and soothes the mind.
Moon Jewel is offering two versions of an Autumn Cleanse. The first is a Gentle 9 Day Cleanse, which includes a light purgation to assist in the removal of ama (toxins) through the digestive system. The 14-Day Cleanse (both basic and deluxe packages are offered) includes ghee ingestion prior to the purgation. Vegans may participate by using olive or coconut oil as desired.
Basic Simple Kitcheri (Serves 1-2)
½ cup split mung dal or red dal (masoor)
¼ cup white basmati rice
4 cups water
1 tsp. turmeric
pinch hing (optional)
1 Tbs. ghee or coconut oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. black mustard seeds
1 tsp. salt
black pepper to taste
Variations for the bowl~ add lime juice, chopped cilantro, avocado (so good!), fresh chopped tomato.
Rinse the dal and rice until the foaming stops. Combine the water, dal, rice, turmeric and hing and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Heat oil in small skillet and add the spices until the seeds pop and it is aromatic. Add to the kitcheri and cook for one more minute or two. Top each serving as desired.