After my first Ayurvedic cleanse I became somewhat of a disciple telling everyone, “Come join me, it’s the best experience you’ll ever have.” After a few more cleanses though, I realized that cleansing is a personal decision and someone pushed into cleansing that is not ready for the commitment will not reap the desired benefits.

Ayurvedic cleanses consider the mind-body connection and have methods for cleansing the both physical and mental stagnation from the body. A cleansing of both of these – physical and mental areas is important. Current neuroscience research, published this week in the online journal Obesity, finds that people often gain the weight back after dieting. The brain goes into safety mode and ends up holding on to unneeded fat.

Any kind of shift in routine – whether dieting or cleansing – puts the body in stress and stress triggers the brain there is a problem. It slows down metabolism to counter the weight loss which is perceived as possible starvation, starts to store fat, and then sends all sorts of “mayday, mayday” messages to the body.

There are also all of the survival/anxiety thoughts that go with this process:

“I am starving!”

“I have to eat now!”

“God, I need a hamburger, ice cream, anything…just make this awful feeling stop!”

Cleansing, like dieting, can bring up feelings of lack and may trigger insecurities and doubts store neurologically from the past. This place of feeling, where emotions rise and thoughts send negative messages to the brain which shower through our body and prolong our anxieties, is a key place to focus when altering food consumption patterns in any way.

When cleansing there can be agitation in the body and mind at first. For first time cleansers the physical symptoms may seem like something is wrong. Because the body is purging unneeded toxins, cleansing symptoms can be very similar to those of an illness. It is important to stay with the agitation, listen to what it says, write down what it says, stay with the breath, track the thought patterns and become the observer of the experience as it happens.

In this way both physical and mental cleansing promotes active transformation.The brain is engaged and changing along with the physical body. The mind and body are working in tandem. The brain is kept in the loop and doesn’t have to go into stress/survival mode, holding on to calories for fear of starvation. Excess toxins can be released, excess weight can be flushed out, and thoughts that no longer are beneficial can be replaced by positive ones.

The process takes work and diligence. There is a payoff. But you have to be ready.



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