I think it was summer 2008 that I first heard about the Ultimate Energy Cleanse, from Seane Corn. She was in town (Hong Kong) teaching her Detox Flow Workshop. I really appreciate her as a teacher because she speaks about energy, the chakras, and “being spiritual” in such a practical even tangible way. This language works really well for me because even though I feel Truth in my heart and Prana moving through me, I am a child of the contemporary Western world, and therefore it’s helpful for my mind to be able to intellectualize the yogi experience. It’s also especially helpful for me as a teacher to be able to talk to people of all kinds of backgrounds, including the skeptical left-brained yogi. Seane is really inspiring in this way.
Seane’s teachings about detoxification go two ways: “It’s not just what you’re eating, it’s what’s eating you.” Intuitively, I already understood the latter part, hence, working on non-reactivity, inner peace, letting go of negativity, etc. Intellectually, I have been back and forth about the former. When I first hopped on the yoga-bandwagon, I wanted to try everything that most yogis seemed to be doing. I went vegetarian, vegan, raw, organic-everything from soap to socks … I even bought an ૐ sticker for my beetle convertible (I never put it on). In time, I discovered that any sort of extremist mentality simply wasn’t me. I felt like I was being pulled out of balance. So I let go of these external expectations to be a “good” or proper yogi, and focused more on honing into my own inner voice of truth, and figuring out what was perfect for me.
I was always curious about fasts and cleanses, as people who did them absolutely raved about the experience, namely about how high they felt. Sounded great to me! But one of my friends told me that she had done a juice fast for 108 days, and at the end of it, she was left with little scar marks on her face, because she had pulled her body out of balance. This friend is absolutely beautiful and you don’t notice the marks, but her story definitely served as caution for me. Along with a very sad story about a fellow student from my home studio in Santa Monica, who had just come out of a 1-month fast, and was attending a gathering where perhaps he ate too much too fast (apparently you have to be very slow and careful when bringing yourself back to regular eating after a fast), and somehow, he died that night.
I realize these are extreme examples, but they – along with my own “extreme yogi” experiences – were enough to steer me clear of any fasts. I continued to learn about them, and cleanses, and watched many friends go through them (successfully and happily), but it just never clicked into place for me. I was aware that part of it was fear and attachment. I was afraid it’d be too hard or that I might fail. And, I was very attached to my daily cup of coffee. Partly I didn’t want it to negatively affect my teaching, as fellow teachers would go through cleanses (usually the Master Cleanse) and share with me how difficult it was to teach their 3-5 classes/day (which is hard enough as it is!). Partly, and I think most importantly, it just wasn’t the right time.
When Seane told us about the Ultimate Energy Cleanse, I was very interested. “You can eat, and eat a lot!” she said. You just have to stick to the guidelines, which are pretty strict, but sensibly so. You’re basically on a fruit and vegetable diet for 7 days, and you take Chinese herbs to flush the liver and cleanse the colon. You also drink the Master Cleanser on each day. You must omit, among other things, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and grains except quinoa and millet.
I went to California soon after Seane’s workshop, and brought the Cleanse back to HK with me. For a slew of reasons (read: excuses), I didn’t start on it right away. In fact, a year would pass before I actually started preparing for it!
About a week ago, I started feeling indifferent about drinking coffee. I know that might sound silly, but coffee is my favorite indulgence that I admittedly have a physical and psychological attachment to. I also started randomly remembering things I’ve learned from Seane, and I noticed I kept quoting her as I talked to friends. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, I opened the Ultimate Energy Cleanse information booklet, and effortlessly decided that now was (finally) the right time. I felt no fear or worry, but surprisingly, I was excited!
I have about 10 days before I set off for another month of travel, so the timing seems good for my schedule. I did need a couple days to stock my kitchen with Cleanse-friendly products like Grade B maple syrup (is it really that different from Grade A, I wondered, as I compared the prices), organic first cold pressed extra virgin olive oil (never knew that many words could be used to describe oil), and Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acid (which I’d never heard about).
So here I sit, with my morning cup of DeCaffe Roast Herbal Tea (from YogiTea), embarking upon what’s sure to be, at the very least, an interesting experience.