Some of you may wonder why I am cleansing in the dead of winter. With yesterday’s minus twenty low in Toronto, it dare seems right to further tax my body by purging it. Well, you’re right. According to Ayurveda, the best time to detox is in the spring. The spring is when Kapha is expressed, the environment is full of moisture and growth – and the temperatures become warm enough that you don’t expend energy simply to keep yourself warm. It is also a season in which many people experience symptoms of Kapha-excess – namely in the from of seasonal allergies (puffy eyes, mucous, lung congestion). This sensitivity to pollen and mold is also an indication of an adversity to too much Kapha energy (earth and water energy – otherwise put as qualities of dampness and heaviness). So, yes, I am not cleansing at the ideal time of year – but this is why I have decided to space it out, be more gentle, and take a more gradual approach.
My cleanse is also to purge Vata excess (air energy, the dosha which governs depletedness, dryness and nervous energy). And sometimes, when you feel it in your bones that you are way out of balance, you need to listen and do what it is screaming at you. Keep in mind, my cleanse aims to decrease Vata so my body can be properly nourished, so the astringent nature of a traditional cleanse is not present here. But boy is it icky.
As I mentioned in my last post about the cleanse, it involves drinking a 3/4of ginger water and two teaspoons of castor oil on an empty stomach each day for 7 days. I am doing this over the course of four weekends instead. The Ayurvedic Physician who put me on the cleanse has said I can adjust the amount of castor oil and ginger powder I use, so for the first two days I drank only half the mixture (my version of adjustment?). Anyhoo, now I’m up to a full dose, and what a dose it is! If any of you decide to do a clease with castor oil, keep in mind that is a very powerful bowel cleanser (emphasis on the powerful).
Castor oil is not a lovely light oil, it is a thick fatty oil that swathes your tongue as you consume it. I’m not usually so wimpy, but I think I wimper just a little when I have to drink it. I feel a little sick as I type this actually. I cannot decide if this is because of the heavy nature of the oil, or because of my Vata imbalance itself. Vata governs the sensory organs, so when we accumulate more Vata we become more sensitive. We can’t take loud noises, bright lights, powerful smells… And I wonder if its the cleanse which is so off-putting or the fact that my sensitivity to texture has increased. I always used to think it was strange when certain facial clients of mine would say they couldn’t stand the feeling of oil on their skin – but now I understand this is an expression of excess Vata.
And still the Pitta inside of me instructors me to march on, to achieve my goal of pacifying Vata. I harness this fire energy to come up with alternative solutions to execute this cleanse both effectively and efficiently. Perhaps I should use a straw and just suck back the concoction so it has little contact with my tongue. My girlfriend and fellow-Pitta suggests a funnel. As in beer funnel. Instead of getting wasted at a college party, I would be throwing back castor oil and ginger. But, all the same, I will be chanting “Chug! Chug! Chug!”, and probably after just a few seconds, I’ll be tapping out.