For years, Lorraine planned to make the journey out to our desert state as soon as she retired.
Not just to witness our beloved sunsets and smell the juniper smoke coming from wood stoves in the morning, Lorraine wanted to come to Albuquerque specifically for a Panchakarma cleanse with the Ayurvedic Institute.
When she retired last October, though, those plans were put on hold, thanks to the global pandemic. Luckily, the Spring Cleanse program is totally virtual -- if she couldn’t be here for Panchakarma, this was the next best thing. She could at least get connected with the leading Ayurvedic practitioners she’d been following and, at the same time, do something from home to improve her physical, emotional, and spiritual self.
And luckily for us, Lorraine used some of her newfound vitality to share her story with us, including some advice for first-time cleanse participants! Keep scrolling for 5 tips from an outside perspective on how to have the best cleanse experience possible.
1. “You always learn more”
This wasn’t Lorraine’s first rodeo. Before the Spring Cleanse, she’d done similar programs like yoga teacher training and a few smaller, less comprehensive cleanses -- so she was pretty comfortable exploring alternative and ancient medicines as a part of her healing journey.
Even so, she was blown away by the amount of knowledge she gained during the cleanse. Like when she watched Sneha demonstrate the proper use of Nasya Oil (which comes in the optional cleanse kit from our friends at Banyan Botanicals!) and realized she had been doing it slightly differently all along!
After a couple minor adjustments, she said, “Okay, this is so much better.”
Her advice: stay open to learning, even if you’re already familiar with all these different Ayurvedic components -- you never know what you could have been doing more efficiently all this time!
2. “I didn’t have to think about what I had to cook!”
Her favorite part of the cleanse? The detailed plan and unwavering consistency.
Knowing in advance what each new day would hold meant that Lorraine could relax and really take in the experience of cleansing. It was like having a uniform in Catholic school again, she said, “It alleviated all the stress of worrying about what to cook all day!”
Sure, her family wasn’t super excited about the smell of cumin seeds cooking in the morning, but boy, was it worth it. Especially when her husband would wander around, wondering aloud what to have for dinner -- “I know what I’m having!”
Her advice: give in to the structure of the cleanse, and you’ll be surprised how easy it is to sit back and let the cleanse do its work.
3. “So there they would be ordering their pizza, and I’d have my kitchari.”
Yes, her family groaned a bit about the waves of cumin emanating from the big, warm pot of kitchari on the stove, and by the 6th day of the 10-day cleanse, they were ready for their mom’s habits to return to normal.
This made the cleanse a little challenging for her -- thankfully the benefits of the cleanse outweighed the loaded glances from her family, so Lorraine stuck it out. In the future, though, she thinks she’d really benefit from being able to do the cleanse alongside like-minded people.
For those of us with family members who are also known to gripe or grumble at rattling bottles of vitamins or the smell of lovely, fresh herbs wafting from kitchens, purses, vials -- remind yourself of the you that is waiting on the other side of the cleanse. This is the vibrant you with lowered joint pain, balanced digestion, and a detoxified body, mind, and spirit.
Her advice: do the cleanse alone, or with other people who are also cleansing as well, if you can. If you can’t, just hold tight to your kitchari and know that the 10 days will pass in the blink of an eye.
4. “When are we going to a restaurant?”
There is another reason for her family’s impatience, though, to give them credit.
Lorraine’s husband’s birthday fell on the weekend of the cleanse, and her whole family had been eagerly awaiting the celebration. Who doesn’t love a special outing, complete with delicious food and your loved ones all around?
So even though she couldn’t participate in person, or do the cleanse alone, or get her family on board with the cleanse too, she took comfort in sharing her experiences and daily exercises with the rest of the group.
Lo and behold, she wasn’t the only one having to watch their family eat pizza or fend off requests for take out! There’s strength in numbers, and having a whole posse of encouraging friends in the midst of their own detoxing made all the difference.
Her advice: lean into the group - make friends! And schedule your celebrations, your appointments, your regular, daily life-stuff before or after the cleanse. (Don’t forget to account for the adjustment period, too!) If you have no choice but to go out and be a person, like many of us do, remember to pack warm water and kitchari with you to make it as pleasant as possible.
5. “The next day, it was completely fine!”
Toward the end of the cleanse, Lorraine noticed an old ankle injury starting to flare up. One night, it ached and felt strange, and another night, her wrist began to ache and feel strange as well. “I could feel it in my bones,” she said.
But then, the following morning(s), she woke up with zero pain whatsoever. Even the discomfort in her neck, which she had grown accustomed to due to its constant presence in her life, had faded in the night.
“It was as if I could feel it leaving!”
Her advice: you’ll feel the toxins that are easier to clear leaving your body in the beginning of the cleanse, but when you get to the end, the deeper toxins might be harder to release. If you wake up with an old familiar foe looking all red and aching again, try to rest -- the pain will most likely be gone without a trace before you know it.