A Different Kind of Cleanse

Ah the Master Cleanse…many have tried it, many have failed. Tells us something about the cleanse. And about trying to take short cuts. In the case of this Axis Yoga Teacher Training student, the Master Cleanse may have failed but the effort to cleanse unhealthy habits for lasting change did not.

 

A Different Kind of Cleanse: Starting Strong

After seeing great results following my Ayurveda experiment, I was really excited for this second experiment. However, due to personal circumstances I had to miss the panel of Axis graduates, which I think it is extremely important to help trainees through the process. After talking to one of my peers, we decided to do part of the experiment together.  

I have been struggling with weight loss for the longest time. I believed I mentioned this in my first paper. I have always been the chubby one in the family, and I’m very self-conscious about my body. In the past, I used to exercise regularly and was “in shape” and felt somewhat happy about my body. I moved to Colorado in 2012 and since then, I have gained 20 pounds. Therefore, part one of this experiment was a Master Cleanse. If done correctly, this master cleanse was going to help me start that weight loss process quickly and I would follow it with healthy eating and exercise. I decided to do this master cleanse because I had seen results in other people. It seemed simple and doable. I wasn’t doing it alone, so that support piece was taken care of. We did some research and it required the following: distilled water, cayenne pepper, lemon juice and maple syrup. The master cleanse is recommended for at least 10 days.

 I didn’t want to set my expectations too high so we decided to try if for three days and see how it went. Preparation for this cleanse was the key. We decided that since we were not going to eat any solids for three days, we needed to start cutting back on the things that were a daily habit for us. I started with coffee. I am that type of person that HAS to have a cup of coffee in the morning, otherwise I am not a happy person. We decided to start the cleanse on a Saturday. The Wednesday before, I stopped drinking coffee and ate regularly. Thursday and Friday, I decided that all that I was going to eat was fruits and vegetables. Dairy was not a big issue for me since I stopped drinking milk since the Ayurveda experiment. he master cleanse was recommended to be done with other things. We were supposed to drink a smooth laxative every night and in the mornings, a sea salt flush was recommended. I started the laxative tea that Wednesday before to start getting my body used to it.

 

A Different Kind of Cleanse: Too Hot to Handle

Finally the day of the cleanse arrived! And oh, I was ready! In my head, it was going to be a great success and my results were going to be wonderful. How wrong I as. I decided I was not going to do the sea salt flush. It was just too much for me… Morning came and I prepared my first drink of the day, while preparing French toast for my daughter. But my will power was stronger than the delicious smell, so I was able to just drink my juice just fine. However, after drinking it, I started having an asthma episode, which I think was as a result of too much cayenne pepper. I even had to use my inhaler, which I only have for emergencies. After that, I decided to modify the amount of pepper and see if it still had the same effect. I kept drinking my juice throughout the day, for a total of 32 ounces. It is recommended that a person drinks at least 64 ounces but I was not able to. I started feeling very weird and weak and even though I knew there was going to be side effects, it just did not sit well with me. I decided to quit this master cleanse and focus my experiment on another unhealthy habit of mine.

 

A Different Kind of Cleanse: Powering Down

I am very attached to my electronics. They have become an extra limb of my body, to the point where I was taking them to bed with me, with the excuse that my phone was my alarm clock. Since my other experiment did not go so well, I decided to stop the use of electronics one hour before bedtime. I have to say that this was extremely difficult. I used my phone book library to help me go to sleep and now here I was, without lifeline to help me to sleep. If I am being completely honest, the first couple of days, I was not able to do it. I felt something was missing and I kept looking for my phone under my pillow. I had to get out of bed and get my phone. Then I started thinking about substitutions. I figured that if I had something else to “hold on to” my transition would not be so difficult. So I decided to start reading a book that I’ve had for a while just sitting there. Again, it was difficult for me to concentrate on my book, thinking about not having my phone near me. However, as the days went by, it was easier. I had forgotten how much power an actual book has and how much comfort and joy books bring into my life.

A Different Kind of Cleanse: Looking Up

I am proud to say that now, electronics are out of my room. I got myself a real alarm clock so that I don’t have to use the excuse that my phone is my alarm. One hour before bedtime, all the electronics are turned off and stay off until the morning. I think this experiment reminded me things that I had forgotten, First off, the “easy” way is the hardest and most difficult. Trying to cheat and lose weight without proper diet and exercise only makes it more difficult. Doing this cleanse made me look back to that time in my life when the gym was my best friend and my body was healthy. It also made me realize how damaging electronics can be if we don’t learn how to control its use. I don’t want my daughter to have to depend on electronics, so the change has to start with me as the example. Thank you Axis for including these experiments as part as the curriculum. It made a difference in my journey through YOGA!

 

Big Results, Small Change

We all love the feeling of success. But sometimes it comes in unexpected packages. This Axis Yoga Teacher Training student set out for specific results and felt like a failure when they weren’t achieved. But upon reflection realized very meaningful results were attained in the small changes that were made.

Big Results: Plan A

My initial plan for the experiment was to do more service and incorporate it into my everyday life as much as possible.  I know that doing things for others is the best way to make yourself happy. It is also something I’ve always felt compelled to do. But, it is also something I get anxiety over. For example, I’ll think I should go help that person with their groceries, but then I’ll talk myself out of it by telling myself things like they don’t want your help and you’ll look stupid. Then I’ll just feel really bad. 

So I started out feeling nervous. I did small things for other people and really had to fight that negative inner dialogue. It was mentally exhausting. I felt like an asshole and kind of crazy as well. Not a great start.  Then life added to the mix made things even more difficult. 

The end of April and early May is a very difficult time for me emotionally and mentally. I was having a hard time coping with life in general and began shutting down.  When depressed, maintaining the status quo is where all my energy and focus has to go. So my experiment fell to the wayside. I felt guilt but rationalized I’m doing the best I can and maybe this isn’t the best time in my life for this experiment. I can always try again, it doesn’t have to be just for yoga teacher training.

Big Results: Plan B

 A little less than a week before our experiments were due, my annual depression had passed. Unfortunately, my experiment was a complete miss as a result.  I wanted to at least try something else so I could have something to report back on. I was granted an extension so I could try another route.

I wanted it to be simple. I chose to meditate every day.  The challenge with this goal, I soon found out was fitting it into my day. I really needed to do in the morning as I live in an apartment and it’s way too noisy in the evenings. This required waking up on time to allow time. I didn’t do it every day like I wanted, but I did meditate more frequently than I ever have before.

Big Results: Discovering a Difference

 Without this experiment I doubt I would have worked up to meditating as much I did, even though it wasn’t every day like I wanted.  The quality of my focus during meditation and my ability to sit still during became noticeably better. My patience increased even more at work (yoga teacher training had already helped greatly). This makes me so happy, it also makes me feel powerful as well; that I can control my emotions and reactions. It made me better at my job as a nanny. I had added intention on being as nurturing as possible in every action towards these children. I noticed during this week the kids were so much more affectionate and sweet, which gave me so much joy. I think this was a result of them reacting to my energy and us becoming even closer.

I also noticed at times I would say to myself “this is a situation where I would normally be feeling anxiety, but I’m not.”  This is wonderful because, the obvious, no anxiety, but I also was able to be aware of the fact that I wasn’t feeling it.  I was able to appreciate the growth that was happening and give myself a mental pat on the back.  That is a great feeling.

Big Results: Subtle Success!

I really didn’t want to write this paper.  Beforehand, I felt like I had failed (I hate that word) not only once, but twice. While writing more and more things came to me that I accomplished during and because of the experiment. Just because they were subtle doesn’t lessen their impact on me (or those around me!) It’s normal to want drastic results and be disappointed when you don’t see them. Although they are small changes, they are very meaningful and I’m filled with gratitude.