green_juiceI’m 2 days into my spiritual and physical 10 day juice cleanse. After a summer of debauchery, I really felt bloated physically but more importantly, spiritually.

We’re all so used to satiating all of our desires with instant gratification, yet I think we feel best when we’re a bit more austere. My spirit demanded the cleanse: too much food and wine over the course of a vibrant, fun and highly social summer left me CRAVING austerity. One of the 8 limbs of yoga is Aparigraha which translates directly to non-hoarding, i.e. not taking more from the world than we need. This cleanse is a deep commitment to practicing Aparigraha as well as the practice of Shreyha from the Upanishads.

“Preya is what we like, what pleases us, what offers immediate gratification to senses, feelings, on self-will. Shreya is simply what works out best in the end. Preya is the “pleasure principle”: doing what feels good, no-matter the consequences. Shreya means choosing the best consequences, whether it feels good or not—often forgoing a temporary pleasure for the sake of a lasting benefit. Junk food is one of the clearest illustrations of Preya: sugar, salt, and saturated fat so fast and easy that you don’t even have to sit down for it. The consequences are all equally clear. Or look at exercise: “no pain, no gain” training and toning the body often is not pleasant. We do it for the sake of its long-term benefits, because later we will really feel good in a deeper, longer lasting, more satisfying way. That is Shreya—choosing what is best. When we learn how to look for it, we see this choice between Preya and Shreya comes up in every moment, in virtually everything we do. There is no escaping it.” – Yoga Sadhan Ashram of Chicago. The cleanse is a beautiful example of shreyha.

Yesterday it was 6 green juices and vegetable broth, today will be the same as will the next 8 days. Yes, I am slightly hungry, but my spirit and my body are grateful for the lightness and accompanying vibrancy. As this cleanse is spiritual and physical, to complement the cleanse, I’m 3 weeks into a 6 week alchemy and meditation course called Embodied Harmonics with my beloved spiritual teachers, Elyse Hope Killoran and Anita Lucia Briggs, I had my first of two colonics with the talented and lovely Tonyanna at Tummy Temple (if you’ve never done this, don’t be scared: it’s an essential part of the cleansing process and quite a liberating experience), I have an Ayurvedic massage and third eye treatment with my favorite Ayurvedic massage therapist of all time, Trish Foss and I’m taking epsom salts baths often. Stay tuned if you’re interested in this journey! If it intrigues you, I will be doing this again in January and May if you’re interested in joining in the process.