A few days ago I finished Paramhansa Yogananda's nine day cleanse. In a way, the decision to undergo the cleanse happened suddenly - for better or worse. I hadn't really planned to do a cleanse, although I had been noticing little suggestions from the universe that one may be needed. The week before I began I'd had dinner with a couple of people who were in the midst of a sugar fast. As we were talking about their experience I shared about the first time I did the nine day cleanse. A few days later I was talking with a friend who had started a type of detox which required drinking some sort of cleansing juice, and again I shared about the cleanse I'd done the year before. Although I was noticing these whispering suggestions of another round of cleansing, I wasn't motivated enough to start seriously consider embarking on one. Then on a Monday morning after getting very little sleep I was turning off my phone alarm and saw a text from my podcast partner, Alessandra, saying she and a couple of mutual friends were starting the nine day cleanse and encouraging me to join. I can't remember the exact inner response that was elicited by this kind invitation at that delicate hour in my only half-rested being, but amongst other words I know there were several Nos. Of course, as I started to turn the corner into a more fully awake state it seemed like the right time and opportunity. In a matter of a couple of hours I decided to just do it and begin right away so I would be finished as soon as possible! The lack of mental prep was mostly a blessing. I was glad I didn't have days of it hanging over my head, which would bring a great deal of my trying to plan it all out mentally to no useful end. I knew I was going to have my challenges with it whether I carefully planned it out or if I just cannon-balled into it, but at least with the cannon-balling I could just get on with it.
One of the things that appealed to me so much with the timing was the fact that my friends were also doing it at the same time. I'm part of a virtual community, and we had a little group from various pockets of the globe who were adhering to the same restrictions, undergoing similar mental and physical effects, and resisting the same internal calls to chocolate. We were also approaching the cleanse in slightly different ways. Some were adhering strictly to the guidelines, while others (me) were a little looser in their adherence. One of the ways I convinced myself to go forward with the cleanse was that I would give myself a little slack. I wanted to follow the cleanse carefully for the first 4 days or so and then allow myself an apple or banana if I felt like it after I'd gotten that far. Ultimately, it was day 6 before I treated myself - half an avocado on my raw salad. I know, I'm wild.
One area of improvement for me in this process is staying more fully present. I really feel that I was projecting into the future to when the cleanse would be over far too much. I felt powerless in my mental "ticking away" of mealtimes. One grapefruit breakfast down, 8 to go. Fifteen mealtimes down, twelve to go. Just four more cooked veggie meals left and then I'm done. Maybe someday I will be better at embracing where I am in the process without just trying to get through it, but it did not happen this time.
Something which I found fascinating was my automatic tendency to relate to myself as hungry. As the system clears out there is a definitive feeling of lightness throughout the system. Even after a meal, there isn't anything heavy in the belly. This left me without a sense of anchoring that I'm used to in the stomach, and I would find myself thinking I was hungry. It was helpful to tune in more sensitively to the sensation and notice that it wasn't in fact hunger, but an unburdening. Well, sometimes that was helpful - and other times I would daydream about when I could eat something a little heavier again! In one of our many chats over the course of the cleanse, Alessandra commented about how good her stomach felt - as though it had been massaged from the inside. I hadn't really tuned into that but once she pointed it out I realized how right she was. My belly felt not only light and clear but just good.
I wrapped up the cleanse a few days ago now. I am glad I did it, and I'm glad it ended. It was great to be able to give my system a reset and to flex my will power muscles!
I am an Ananda® certified meditation teacher. I am passionate about meditation and embrace a yogic lifestyle for greater wellness physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
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