Cleanse. In the yoga community, the term is about as popular as “downward facing dog”. Every yoga teacher I know has done a cleanse at some point in their life – be it a juice cleanse, a fast, a whole foods diet, or some other program. Every yoga teacher I know… except me.
I have always been terrified of cleanses. The mere mention of the word used to put my stomach in knots. So, today marks a very special occasion: the first day of my first whole foods cleanse at Root Yoga Center. As I begin this process of cleaning up my diet, I feel compelled to come clean about the origins of my cleanse phobia, too. So, here we go…
I was eleven years old when I first decided to restrict my diet. Dressed in a bathing suit, looking at myself in the mirror, I felt certain that I need to lose weight. At that moment, I took my first steps into what became a decade-long eating disorder. As a teenager and young woman, I yo-yo’d between stringent diets, binging, bulimia, and obsessive workout regimens. For years, I abused my body in an effort to look like anyone other than myself.
Eventually, I stopped. Sorry, folks. This story doesn’t include a life-changing moment of self-realization. The skies didn’t part to reveal holy rainbows. I just stopped. Ultimately, I was too tired of my mind games and obsessions to keep up with my hurtful habits. I slowly let them go. In doing so, I took my first steps into what has become a decade-long journey of self-acceptance. I’m still very much on that journey today.
Since those painful years, I have been very wary of anything remotely resembling a cleanse. I have shied away from this practice for fear of triggering old thought patterns of self-loathing. So, starting a cleanse is kind of a big deal.
For me, choosing to cleanse signals that I’ve reached a new level of inner healing. I feel confident that I can embark upon the next three weeks with the intention of self-nourishment, not self-punishment. That realization is huge. It makes me proud. And it makes me think:¬†I must be on the right path.