Cleansing – a spiritual practice

by Mona Keddy

At Shri Yoga, we started our first community cleanse yesterday. It has been several years in process with Barrie and I researching and trying various programs. This spring, we found one that was effective and also do-able with the context of our lifestyle. We are excited to share it with our community of yoga practitioners.

Why cleanse, though?

For many years, I have watched how my yoga practice moves me back to a centered, equanimous perspective. I best understand this in the times when I am not regularly practicing. If there are a couple of weeks without regular practice, I become off-center. Like a scale, I am no longer calibrated to zero. The asana practice is a reset that brings me back to an even, balanced point. This experience motivates my practice.

Cleansing is a similar process. Over time, my daily lifestyle choices tend to slide off track. The shifts may be small but over time they add up. For example, going to bed ten minutes later does not seem like a big deal. However, over a couple of days or weeks that turns into an hour or more. I then have a new “normal” bedtime without any conscious decision on my part. My “bedtime” scale is a no longer set accurately. As we often talk about in yoga, it is not the time I go to sleep as much as the lack of unawareness of the shift. The cleanse is an opportunity to deepen my awareness and therefore recalibrate my lifestyle. I am pressing the reset button.

Sadhana is the Sanskrit word for spiritual practice. Today it is often referenced in terms of our asana practice. However, the meaning is much broader. All of our daily choices can be an aspect of our spiritual practice. Decisions about exercise, food and sleep, as well as how and with whom we spend time are all part of our sadhana. By making conscious food decisions and disciplining my desires, I remember what true tiredness feels like as opposed to the dip after a sugar-surge. I find to my natural vitality and recognize it unclouded by caffeine and sugar. This return to the “true self” is the essence of spiritual practice.

Whether you are joining the cleanse or not, what might you commit to for the next 21 days as part of your spiritual practice, as a recalibration?

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