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The act of doing a detox/cleanse in the winter seems to be a controversial one.  Many natural health enthusiasts are completely against it; for multiple reasons it seems. Some say it reduces your immunity during a season where multiple viruses are running rampant. Others talk about the heat loss you might notice during a cleanse and how uncomfortable that may make you feel during cold months. While for some it may seem counter-intuitive, I am a firm believer in listening to your body.

Now I know that’s easier said than done. Learning to listen to my body and interpret the subtle cues it gives has taken years of work. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have even know what you were talking about. Five years ago I might have mentally understood the concept, but I wasn’t actually able to put it into practice (which frustrated me to no end).  The first step on my journey was realising and accepting that this was a journey. It wasn’t something that was just going to happen overnight.  You don’t just wake up one morning completely in tune with your body.  People, North Americans in particular, are used to things happening at a fast pace. Technology, travel, work, and even play have all sped up. We want things to be perfect and if at all possible we want them five minutes ago.

I can make you a promise. If you approach body awareness and intuition this way you will receive nothing but disappointment.  Over the years I’ve come to discover that this is something that is earned over time with hard work and true desire.  That being said, my learning is far from over; this is a lifelong path. There is always something new your body can teach you. If the intention is there and you don’t mind a bit of hard work, anyone can become more aware of their body.

For many people starting with the body is easier then starting with the mind. I was one of those people. I couldn’t really meditate with any tangible results until a few years ago. Every person is different, but my journey started with breath work and yoga. Over time I found myself in a more calm and receptive state. In this state you are better able to pick up those subtle cues your body gives.  Working with plants and their unique energy/spiritual essence has taken my body awareness to a new level.  I can now feel things in my body that I never used it; how certain foods effect me (physically, mentally and spiritually) , when I’ve been exposed to a virus and am about to get sick, when I’m ovulating and when my stress levels start to effect my spirit.

One of the important components to listening to your body is honouring what it tells you. If you feel bloated after you eat cheese perhaps you should stop eating cheese. It may seem logical, but most of us are much better at ignoring our bodies than listening to them.  After the holiday season I felt awful. I was bloated all the time, not sleeping well and lethargic during the day. My motivation levels tanked and I couldn’t muster the energy to do anything herbal or spiritual. I was in trouble. Although I cleaned up my diet after the holidays it just didn’t seem like enough. My body still felt out of balance.  I don’t know how to explain it exactly, but I knew that the answer was in a good and deep herbal detox.

I’m on day 5 of my winter detox and I feel fantastic. My spirit is alive again. I have the motivation I need to do things like write this blog! I feel lighter (not just in the pounds sense) and full of energy. My yoga practice has improved and I am sleeping better. My body is telling me that I made the right choice. They say the proof is in the pudding!