What goes in must come out.
This is true; there is no doubt.
Every inhale has a friend.
There’s an exhale at the end.
Every morsel that we swallow
Goes right down, fills the hollow.
If we want a different taste,
We need to find some room, or make some space.
By Jason Spanos
Jason is one of 8 Limbs Yoga Centers’ 500-hour Teacher Training students who used this idea—what goes in must come out—in a recent homework assignment based on something I said in class one day. As many of you know, I sprinkle a fair amount of nutrition education into my classes, and digestion is one of those big subjects taken very seriously in both western and eastern sciences. There is even a particular word in Ayurveda called agni, which refers to the fire of digestion. It includes digestion of your food (jatharagni), thoughts or perceptions (managni), breath (pranagni) and experiences too. Early spring is a wonderful season to consider doing daily practices that clear and improve your agni. You can do so by any number of elimination diets or fasts, clean out your personal spaces, start meditating everyday or exercise to remove some the causes of indigestion.
When you are considering making steps towards improving your agni, keep an eye on the typical factors which create imbalances such as overuse of our senses, improper eating, not enough sleep, ignoring natural body urges, too much sexual activity and good old cravings, which are often simply trying to tell us something is missing or not being absorbed. Here are a few general guidelines to get you started on the road to better health this spring. May you be well.
GENERAL DIETARY AND LIFESTYLE GUIDELINES FOR SPRING
- Eat foods that are light, dry and warm. Decrease foods that are heavy, oily and cold.
- Increase foods that are spicy (radish), bitter (arugula) and astringent (grapefruit). Decrease foods that are sweet, salty and sour
- Avoid dairy if possible. If you can’t avoid it, go for the low-fat/non-fat version or warm it and add a pinch of turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon or ginger to help decrease mucous.
- It’s okay to consume dried fruits until the summer harvest.
- Eat sprouts! Sprouts are loaded with vitamins, nutrients and chlorophyll, a natural blood cleanser.
- Exercise and sweat DAILY!
- Steam sauna or hot tubs can be helpful to help release toxins.
- Dry brush your skin in the morning to exfoliate.
Day 1 & 2: No caffeine, sugar, alcohol
Day 3 & 4: Same as above but eliminate wheat, dairy and processed foods
Day 5 & 6: Same as above but eliminate animal products
Day 7 & 8: Organic whole foods diet
Day 9-11: Mono-diet of “Kitcheri”
Day 12 &13: Organic whole foods diet
Day 14: Practice moderation