February 6, 2013

My Meditation & Winter Cleanse Challenge. ~ Nichole Gould

Searching for a way to make some changes in your life?

Are you having a case of the “winter blahs”? Is there something challenging in your life right now that has you stuck in a rut? Do you feel tired and lethargic? Do you feel like you just want to change something but are not sure what exactly needs to be changed? Do you feel out of control with your life or uncomfortable amidst the discomfort?

I know I do. I have been feeling it since the new year started. I feel unbalanced and clogged up mentally, physically and emotionally.

I have decided that I am going to try to do things differently this time. When life gets uncomfortable I lean on comfort habits. I will stay up too late watching romantic comedies, lie in bed for most of the morning with the blankets pulled up over my head not wanting to face the world, eat ice cream and chocolate, drink too much coffee and obsess about things I cannot change. Without being aware of it, these vices can lead to the disintegration of healthy habits, like a consistent yoga practice.

Sound familiar? Do you think you can relate to some or all of this?

Well then join me or follow me as I challenge myself in a 90 day meditation and winter cleanse. I will track my experience in a journal and then share weekly updates here.

Winters are long here in New Hampshire. If we are not disciplined, the cold months tend to take their toll on our mental and physical well-being. Doing something different than we have ever done before may be just the thing to help us get out of that winter rut. What better way to do it than with the support of others who can share the same experience with you?

Feel free to join in with all all of the challenge or just part of it. Remember, this is about changing habits and working with self-discipline. It’s about taking charge of the one thing we have control over: our selves! Rather than worrying or obsessing about people or circumstances we can’t control, we can find clarity and solace through meditation and taking care of our bodies.

Here is my plan:

The challenge will officially begin on Monday, February 11 and will last for 90 days. This will give me (us) time to prepare mentally as well as to gather any supplies I (we) might need. This challenge is added in addition to my daily yoga practice. My practice may become shorter and less intense during this duration. It is important to listen to our bodies as we challenge our habits mentally and physically.

Meditation Segment:

A.)  Mornings: I will begin each morning with a mantra for prosperity. I will then sit in meditation for 15 minutes. I will then journal about my experience for five to 10 minutes. If this seems like too much for you adapt it to your own needs. A five minute sit, focusing on your breath, can be powerful and all you may need.

Here is a video for the “Har” meditation for prosperity.


 B.)   Evenings: I will begin with a meditation of 108 rounds using Mala beads. I plan to use the mantra praising  Ganesh (“Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha”). This mantra resonates with me as a remover of obstacles. You could pick a mantra that suits your needs at this point in time. I will then sit afterwards beginning with five minutes and slowly working up to 30 minutes. (I may not reach this goal but it is my intention.) I will then journal about my experience for five to 10 minutes.

Here is a video for the mantra. You could practice along with the video or on your own.

Cleanse Segment: I plan to work up to a mung bean and rice diet. I like to use this in the winter months as it is warming and nourishing. (In the spring/summer I use a raw foods cleanse.) I am going to take several weeks to wean myself off of certain things in my diet.

It will go as follows:

Week 1: No alcohol (or any other vice, addiction or habit).

Week 2: No dairy.

Week 3: No sugar.

Week 4: No caffeine.

Week 5: No carbohydrates. Nothing processed or refined.

Week 6: No meat/egg.

As I wean, I will replace each item with something healthy and nourishing.

In place of my morning coffee I will drink a hot beverage consisting of a mixture of one tablespoon organic raw apple cider vinegar, one tablespoon or more of raw unfiltered honey, juice of ¼ of a lemon, a pinch of cayenne and hot water. I will not negate dairy all together, using yogurt sparingly. Instead of sugar, I will use raw unfiltered honey, sparingly. I will use brown rice in place of bread products. My protein will mostly come from mung beans rather than meat or tofu.

This is the process that works best for me. You can adapt it to your needs. If you would like to research this diet further before you start there are a ton of great websites full of information and recipes. Try here, here and here.

The challenge will end on May 11 as I begin to reintroduce certain foods back into my diet.

Adapt this cleanse to the duration that works for you!

For me, it is about getting through the last of the winter months with focus, clarity and healthy habits.

Your intention may be different. Go with your intuition and listen your body. Be gentle and flexible with yourself. Allow for any modifications that you may need. Be patient and tolerant with yourself. Be loving to yourself. Go with the flow.

I am excited to begin the process and to share my experience with you. I hope that some of you will join me and share your process as well.

Here is to a happy and healthy winter challenge! Namaste.


Nichole Gould is the founder of Barefoot Warrior Yoga in The White Mountains of New Hampshire. As a Student of life, yogini, yoga teacher, landscape gardener, single mother, organic pizza waitress and lover of all board sports, she considers herself a jack of much and a master of none. She can also be found dabbling with guitar playing, singing off key, reading from her many stacks of books or writing poetry. Feel feel to peruse her Facebook page or contact her via her website for more insight into her ever curious mind.



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Ed: Brianna Bemel

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