Prajna paradha is a sanskrit term which is translates as, “crimes against wisdom.” It refers to the ways we willingly go against our body’s intelligence–like when we go to bed too late even though we’re tired; drink too much alcohol even though it makes us feel headachy in the morning; overeat even though we feel sick afterwards, etc. etc.
Don’t waste your time feeling guilty about your prajna paradha– we all do this from time to time. The questions to ask might be: “Why do I do this?” and “How do I get back on track with myself?”
Perhaps the chosen behavior didn’t always affect you adversely, or maybe you didn’t notice the consequences like you do now. It’s possible everyone around you does it and so you go along with the program even though it doesn’t work for you anymore. Perhaps there is an initial thrill before the “fall” and you keep chasing that thrill even though the fall always follows. Maybe you’re stressed out, and the instant gratification you get from staying up too late, or eating the whole bag of chips makes you feel better for a moment. But not for long. And there’s the rub.
‘We can limit ourselves a little bit every day, or Nature will do it in the form of illness.’
-a paraphrase from Dr. Robert Svoboda
If you’ve been overindulging lately—not giving your body the proper rest, nutrition or exercise you need–overworking and pushing past your natural limits–fall is a great time to take stock and reset. One way to do this is to intentionally set aside a few weeks to start over.
Purva karma is the first step in a cleanse. It is a preparatory protocol where we slowly reduce and then eliminate those substances which are toxic to our mind/body, while bringing in more of the good stuff. It is like the apple a day to keep the doctor away. And it only hurts a little bit the first few days. Then we start to feel a whole lot better.
Here are the general purva karma protocols we will be practicing at the beginning of my 16 day Ayurvedic Cleanse. This won’t eliminate the excesses of summer from your tissues, but it will get you going in the right direction. (For those who are ready for the full Reset, you can join my community of cleansers by first signing up here for a brief conversation with me to make sure the cleanse is right for you, then I’ll send you a link to sign up and you’re in!)
Pre-Cleanse Diet and Lifestyle Protocols
Give yourself a few weeks to gradually cut back on the following foods. (Ayurveda recommends cutting back by just 1/3 at a time so you don’t shock your system).
- processed carbs like bread
- processed foods
- red meat
- dairy products
- tobacco and other recreational substances
- frozen food
- fried foods
At the same time, eat a diet of whole, freshly prepared, warm food (room temperature salads are great, too).
- Fresh organic vegetables (beets, burdock root and bitter greens are especially good)
- High quality organic oils (olive, coconut, ghee)
- Fresh seasonal fruits
- Whole grains
- Organic meats
- Plenty of fresh water
- Ginger Tea
Engage a Regular Daily Routine
- Go to Bed by 10 or 11pm each night
- Drink 8 – 16 oz water upon awakending
- Practice 5 – 15 minutes of yoga/walking
- Practice 5 – 15 minutes of pranayama or meditation practice.
- Eat three meals a day at regular times
- Reduce or eliminate snacking unless you need it, and then have a piece of fruit.
- Carry a thermos of hot water with you and sip every 15 minutes throughout the day to gently detox your system.
- Take a walk outside in the late afternoon or evening
- Eat an earlier, lighter dinner, and nothing afterwards.
- Watch a little less TV/Computer in the evenings.
- Spend 5 minutes meditating, journaling or stretching before bed
If you decide to engage purva karma, get a notebook and write down exactly what your intentions are. How long do you intend to practice, and what specifically will you be reducing/eliminating? Tell a friend, or get a friend to do this with you for more support and accountability. Each day, record your progress. One step at a time works well and leads to new habits where all of nothing behavior sets us up for failure.
Let me know how it goes in the comments below.
P.S, For more information about the Fall Cleanse go here. Sign up by September 13th to receive your supplies and your mini consult. We start September 23rd.