Winter detox going on now through Vail Vitality Center |

Winter detox going on now through Vail Vitality Center

Sustainability is not just a popular buzzword in our culture. It is an excellent rule to live by, especially as we live longer. Following the industrial and population boom of the last century and the ensuing strain on our health and resources, people have started to demand sustainability from our restaurants, farms, homes, appliances, cars and even our clothing manufacturers.

And yet, as a yoga teacher and ayurvedic practitioner, it’s often painfully clear to me that we don’t expect the same from our bodies. We live in a time and place where much more is possible and yet we risk squandering those opportunities with poor diet and ill health.


To use the old adage, if our bodies were cars, we would have long ago traded in for a better model after years of pouring in low grade fuel in the form of convenient food, exercising improperly and overusing technology. Sustainability implies that we don’t destroy our tools in the use of them. To me, sustainable living means finding the balance between excess and deficiency, and during the winter holidays I am aware of so much excess in terms of diet and stress, and deficiency in terms of real nourishment or rest. It’s funny that we pick this time of stress and depletion to write down our goals for the new year.


Ayurveda, the holistic sister science of yoga, is largely concerned with your sustainability and longevity, and its classical texts offer a few ideas that you might want to add to your New Year’s resolutions list. According to one of the oldest surviving texts of ayurveda, there are four great goals of human life:

1. Dharma, to fulfill your purpose

2. Artha, to achieve your wealth

3. Kama, to fulfill your desires

4. Moksha, to achieve spiritual liberation

I think if we introduced everyone to this basic ayurvedic concept, we’d all sign up today. But the catch is that before we can enjoy any of the aforementioned goals, we must ensure our own health, and sadly, disease is perhaps the greatest threat to humans today.

Ayurveda doesn’t waste much time telling you how to fulfill your desires or accumulate wealth. Instead it offers a system of cultivating health in your body and mind so that you can figure the rest out. It’s a tool of empowerment — unlike modern fad diets — that cultivates real, lasting change.


One of the most important Ayurvedic rituals for sustained good health is periodic seasonal cleansing. Not all cleanses are created equally. If you feel heavy and sluggish after the holidays, you may be tempted by a juice cleanse or a period of complete fasting, but ‘tis the season where that could lead to colds, flu, constipation and emotional instability.

From now through Jan. 12, I’ll be offering my first seven-day winter detox program, using ayurvedic remedies and cleansing principles that are best suited to the cold and dry weather of the winter season. You will receive a basic understanding of ayurveda as it applies to you with lectures and discussions, as well as a guided comprehensive cleanse with a cleanse kit, ayurvedic herbs, shopping lists and delicious recipes. You’ll condition your body and mind with yoga, meditation and outdoor cardio led by my colleague Ellen Miller.

The supportive group setting and structure will allow you to relax and enjoy the experience of detoxing. At the end of the program, you will feel revitalized in body and mind, and able to sit down and make a clear list of goals for your sustainable future and beyond. For information or reservations call 970-476-7960.

Julia Clarke 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 to learn more.

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