Vail Living with Vitality column: Ayurvedic detox helps combat illness during seasonal transitions |

Vail Living with Vitality column: Ayurvedic detox helps combat illness during seasonal transitions

Special to the Daily
Special to the Daily |

It’s about that time of year when many of us start to think about ski conditioning, with boot camp-style training to strengthen our muscles, joints and connective tissue for the demanding, high-impact season ahead. You spend six or more weeks working hard to get in the best shape of your life for the best season ever. And then you get sick.

As the leaves dry and the days get chillier, our bodies start to reflect the changes in nature with dry, chapped skin, colds, flu, arthritis flare-ups, poor circulation, restlessness and anxiety. What started out as a season of stoke can quickly spiral into a winter of recurring colds and respiratory illnesses until you’re exhausted, depleted and praying for summer again.


It’s time to start thinking about building healthy tissues from the inside out and conditioning your digestion, immunity, nervous system and mind, alongside your muscles. Ayurvedic science is centered around staying healthy during seasonal transition and offers gentle fall detox programs focused on nourishment and building strength and immunity for winter, which is especially important for us here in a ski community.

My 30-Day Detox at the Vitality Center is designed for the mountain community, taking into account the nourishment we need for a highly physical, high-altitude lifestyle. Ayurveda is an ancient medical science, but its central theory that suggests digestion is the root of all health is as relevant today as ever.

Our digestion is typically at its peak in summer, when we receive the most energy from the sun and enjoy ripe, digestible fruits and vegetables. As the temperatures start to drop, our digestive capacity can respond erratically, with gas, bloating and constipation, all indicators that you are not getting the nutrients you need from your food. Meanwhile, we start to select heavier foods, such as stews and chilies, taking advantage of the autumn harvest of squashes, root vegetables and wild game, all of which are harder to digest. Weakening digestion at this time lowers the immunity, as the body struggles to process undigested food and leaves us susceptible to the bounty of winter illnesses.

The 30-Day Detox is designed to make the difficult transition from summer into fall seamless, first by removing some of the harder-to-process foods from your diet and then applying a simple, nourishing ayurvedic cleanse. Instead of fasting, we learn to cook and enjoy nourishing meals so that our bodies can build healthy tissues from food that is vital and easy to digest. Giving your system a rest from breaking down processed and heavy foods will allow your body to cleanse existing toxins and regenerate at the cellular level.

During the program, we will also learn to apply simple, fundamental ayurvedic principles such as recognizing and eating for your unique body type, daily self-care principles that you can incorporate into your routine, yoga, meditation and exercising mindfully with our outdoor coach, Ellen Miller.

Taking part in a group program like this also has a much higher instance of success, as you benefit from built-in support and community. Taking action for your health now can lead to a winter free of illness and full of health, vitality, mental clarity and joy. The 30-Day Detox begins Monday at the Vail Vitality Center and meets for four Mondays at 6 p.m. The early-bird price is $145 and includes recipes, ayurvedic cleanse kit, body comp analysis, engaging lectures, yoga, meditation and outdoor cardio. After Saturday, the price is $175. Call 970-476 7960 to register.

Julia Clarke, E-RYT, teaches vinyasa flow yoga and anjali restorative yoga. She is the yoga director at the Vail Vitality Center and a certified ayurvedic wellness consultant. Having studied under some of today’s most renowned yoga teachers, she offers soulful and dynamic yoga classes to serve this mountain community that stir a deep sense of embodiment and self-participation. Visit

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