Cleansing versus Dieting
As my group of ninety yogis gracefully moves through their spring cleanse I’ve been reading a multitude of cleansing theory. What jumps out is the difference between dieting, which just seems so ’80’s, and cleansing. I’ll take a moment for a brief comparison.
In a typical diet we restrict ourselves with certain foods for a few reasons: (1) to change our body and body image (2) to lose weight (3) to improve health (avoid heart attacks, diabetes type 2, etc.). In a typical cleanse we restrict ourselves for those reasons, as well as a number of others.
As yogis we cleanse for a greater purpose and all of the above are side benefits. The greater purpose for those who have excellent health, a balanced body weight, and no issues with body image is to ultimately know their essential nature: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). The stillness that arises during a deep cleanse or fast is a stillness of the busy-ness of the mind (yoga -chitti-nirodaha, Yoga Sutras 1.2.). This is the greatest difference, and the benefit of this primarily change in intention and outlook has significant implications.
The implications are such that upon emerging from a cleanse, which is usually a set period of time to help maintain a boundary of the experience much like a retreat, the cleanser experiences a shift in perspective. This shift in perspective is indeed a shift in consciousness, in which the cleanser experiences their divine nature and divine wisdom. From this seat, the cleanser is less likely to harm herself by eating foods that restrict her inner nature or life force. During a cleanse cellular communication increases and the cleanser experiences innate mind-body integration. Meaning that decisions made by the mind are coming from integrity with the body. No more “I want to eat this but I shouldn’t.”
So, if you are still trying to create a shift in your body image, weight or health, upgrade your perspective and cleanse to awaken the inner intelligence of your organism. Don’t settle for a restrictive diet that only goes part way.
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