Holistic Spring Cleaning: Fasting as Mental Cleansing


Globally, winter faded and spring sprung in the most unprecedented of ways. During this time we most often tend towards focusing on the physical aspect of health. It is during times like this that we are reminded the importance of also cleansing the internal – a true mind/body, holistic spring cleaning.

Unfortunately, in our modern culture, it most often takes a crisis for us to take up the task of internal cleansing.

Mind is not separate from body. We see this in the placebo and nocebo effect. We see this in the lowering of the immune response when we are in our base emotions of anxiety, anger and fear.

Interestingly enough, many of our world religions incorporated a time of fasting in the spring. Why religious? Because fasting is not just about cleansing of the body. In the mental and spiritual sense we also need an internal cleansing.

It wasn’t that long ago, in the 1950s, that it was common knowledge that ¾ of hospital beds were filled with patients that had EII, or emotionally induced illness.

So why fasting as an external and internal cleanse? Well, when we are deprived of our comforts, we are able to see the areas of ourselves that need work.

In the yogic path, and more or less any religious path, we are taught that we want to rid of anger, greed, lust, hatred, jealousy. These all will have negative effects on the physical health. Although Covid-19 is certainly wreaking havoc physically, it seems for those of us with the privilege to have extra time at home, in relative health, our work lies with the internal cleansing.

3 Ways To Fast This Spring

These are the ways that I am leading my family in fasting this spring. I will not share the details of a holistic Yogic/Ayurvedic cleanse here, only because I feel during this experience we have enough external discomforts.

Although I have no expectations that the children will follow, it is by example that one day we hope the tools we use are able to help them to uplift their lives, and bring emotional and physical health.

1) Fasting from Expectations

Wow, families. Have we ever had a crash course in this! Our spring months are nothing like we had anticipated.

Perhaps we’ve felt anger, frustration, self-pity.

You know what we’ve gained? Resilience.

And our children have seen this and it will be forever embedded in them. That no matter what is happening externally, we are able to respond.

A great way to reset the internal computer is through mediation and exercise. My family and I have been using the Peloton guided mediations – it’s free for 90 days due to the coronavirus. 

2) Fasting from Hatred

It doesn’t matter who this energy is directed to, it ultimately hurts us most. And when our children see us expressing this hatred, this is the beginning of bullying. Just because we cannot understand a person’s motives – a public figure or otherwise – does not mean it is beneficial for us to express this in a hateful manner.

Certainly, there are evil things that occur in this world. This I am not denying. It takes some introspection to determine how to best to respond to these evils. In my experience, it seems to be by creating something that promotes the opposite, rather than ‘attacking the enemy’ head.

How much energy do we lose in the emotion of hatred that could be channeled into acting in our own communities to benefit each other?

Please, for the benefit of yourself, let’s fast from hatred this spring.

3) Fasting from Electronics

Okay, I don’t mean indefinitely. Just an hour or two a day. Trust me, mama, I know the screens give us a much needed break! But for all of us, adults and children alike, our nervous system slows down when we unplug. Try sitting on the ground, outside, absorbing the sunlight. When our nervous systems slow, our minds slow and we feel the positive benefits physically.

On this note, a bit a fasting from media is helpful, too.

Lastly, give ourselves and each other grace. A holistic plan of cleansing takes into account the external environment. However we are able to uplift in order to navigate these unprecedented times is good enough.

Please note, any advice given here is only based off of my own experience and is not medical advice. Sending so much clarity, love and deep personal cleansing to all of the families. Here’s to us coming out of this challenge with increased resiliency!


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