Seasons don't change just because you've turned the page.

3 reasons not to do a seasonal detox

If you are like me, you are interested in health. You are involved in some facebook groups, social media and receive newsletters under the subject of health and healing. As soon as the calendar page turns to August, I receive, “Detox Now Ads”.

The Ayurveda and some of the Yoga community starts advertising “Panchakarma Now Programs” – “Fall is upon us! “Danger! Danger! Danger!” Some of these ads come out in July which is as annoying to me as, stores putting up Halloween decorations in July.

Don’t get me wrong.  I often suggest detoxing and or panchakarma to clients at the change of season.  However the concept of one size fits all should not be applied to Rtucharya.

Oops. A new word.

Rtucharya is the modification of a Dinacharya (daily regimen) according to season. Detoxification and Panchakarma are recommended when the seasons change, particularly Summer to Fall and Winter to Spring. Remember my favorite words? “It Depends!”

How to know when not to detox?

  1. The calendar date has changed but the season hasn’t
  2. You are experiencing fragility
  3. You just started a life change like a new project, school year, job, move

The Calendar date has changed but the season hasn’t

In the United States there are four dates that signify season change, Many people will go by the Solstices and Equinoxes to define seasons.

Meteorologists (read weather channel) have defined the seasons in order to be consistent and to make weather forecasting easier, meteorologists divide the year into 4 meteorological seasons of 3 months each:

  • Spring – from March 1 to May 31;
  • Summer – from June 1 to August 31;
  • Fall (autumn) – from September 1 to November 30; and,
  • Winter – from December 1 to February 28 (February 29 in a leap year).

For most of the planet, the actual weather doesn’t change with the calendar date. In some parts of the world there are more than four seasons and in others there are less than four seasons. Sometimes the weather seems to change into the new season then shortly after it retrogrades. Your body senses the change of season. Modify your daily routine accordingly.

The Ashtanga Hrdayam – describes in detail the qualities of the seasons.

You are experiencing fragility

Quite often we feel fragile, physically, mentally and emotionally:

  • Physical Fragility – weakness, major weight loss, some sort of major illness
  • Mental Fragility – inability to make decisions, frazzled, overwhelm, burnt out
  • Emotional Fragility – Sensitivity to any thought that comes your way

Fragility usually comes after some sort of major upheaval.  A rejuvenation/retreat program rather than a detox program will better suit your needs. Most rejuvenation programs have gentle cleanses for all three parts of your being (physical, mental and emotional) if they are to be of any use.

A full on Detox program can actually harm you if you are fragile.

Changes in your life

The change of seasons usually bring about social changes: the kids start going to school, a new job is started, house moving.  You may motivated to start new projects during the change of seasons.

  • Plan Ahead: If possible, put off the actual doing part of the new change until the season has changed.  Plan how you will handle the shift in your life during the seasonal change. Do a detox or panchakarma program while you are in the planning phase of your transition.
  • Wait:  Things need to get done, often things are out of our hands! Do not start a detox while you are in the middle of a stressful period.  I hear many moms say… “I can just add this detox now, I need me time.” A detox by its nature is stressful enough, be sure you can offer it sufficient time.
  • Stick to your Dinacharya: Make sure you have at least one calming thing in your dinacharya that you hold on to until the dust settles. You can always add some herbal tea to support any physical symptoms you may have.

There are many awesome references for detoxing.  Your health advisor is one of them. If you don’t have a health advisor, please seek one out, I have appointments available.

Feel free to contact me about Rtucharya (modifying your routine) during the change of seasons.

2 thoughts on “3 reasons not to do a seasonal detox

  1. Great article! Yoga and Ayurveda are supposed to be applied to an individual needs. Does one needs to detox? When? Why? It “depends” LOL
    I’ve started my Ayrvedic journey with Scott Gerson about 12 years ago. He gave me so many tools, but ultimately I had to do my daily practice to end the endless “dis-ease”. I’ve done Panchakarma and followed the other routines prescribed specifically for me. Ever since I’ve been doing seasonal cleanses to ease my system into a different seasonal diet (cooler during summer, warmer during winter) – exactly as you’ve mentioned when the season changes!
    I also participated in group Ayurvedic detoxes, which revolved around seasons. It worked for me because I’ve been familiar with a concept and was able to modify. Generally, I don’t believe “one size fits us all” approach.

    1. Thanks Anna. Agreed. Knowing your body is the most important concept. It seems like you have learned how to listen to yours and adjust accordingly.

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