Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old ancient system of healing, drawing its principles directly from our core interrelatedness with nature. It is based upon the belief that our health is affected by the integration of our body, mind, spirit and environment, and teaches us to nourish ourselves based on the specific needs of our own personal physiology. It is a complex and dynamic tradition of medicine, and by practicing various elements of it, it’s possible to generate significant improvements to your physical and mental health.
When it comes to cleansing, Ayurveda provides some excellent tools. Incorporate one or several of the following practices into your regimen to boost your detox and improve your cleanse.
1. Drink hot water with lemon in the morning
Hot water with lemon is rich in antioxidants, critical for escorting toxins out of the system and keeping our skin bright and clear. It also helps to stimulate bowel movement and cleanse the intestines, preparing our bodies for the new day.
Hot water with lemon activates our lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is one of the most important functions of our bodies in maintaining our immune response, nervous system, detoxification and digestive health. Lymph is a clear fluid that bathes every cell in the body, nourishing it and cleansing waste from our systems. It is activated not by a central pump but from muscle contraction and manual manipulation, so its efficacy is dependent on the activities we practice to keep it moving throughout the body. Starting off your day hydrated will enable the lymph fluids to flow and get your body off to a bright start!
2. Try tongue scraping
Our mouths are a very important indicator of overall health. Residue on the tongue when we wake up is the result of toxins from the previous night’s meal, or from a deeper imbalance. As your body purifies itself this coating will clear on its own, however you can stimulate the process by purchasing a tongue scraper and using it before you brush your teeth, so as to not recirculate the buildup into your system.
3. Purify your mind through meditation
Greed, jealousy, anger, doubt, fear and other negative emotions are the emotional equivalent to toxins that come from food and our environment. Because thought creates form, negative emotions left unchecked can be as damaging to our health as pesticides, sugars, hydrogenated oils and the like.
When it comes to changing our thought patterns, simply knowing what we need to do does not create lasting change, because the mind cannot change the mind. Tapping into the silence that exists within connects us with a divine knowledge beyond our mortal mind, and dissolves our negative tendencies to reset our thought patterns.
Start with something small – two minutes is enough to set the foundation for profound and lasting change. Focus on your breath, and don’t worry about the thoughts that will inevitably bounce around your head. Just gently bring your mind back to your breath, and know that any commitment, no matter how small, will bring positive change.
4. Practice self massage
Practicing self-massage is a big part of healing in ayurvedic medicine. It promotes secretion of endocrine hormones, stimulates blood flow, relaxes the nervous system, and is a form of self-love, which is extremely healing for the entire body. It’s also another great way to activate the lymphatic system. You can use sesame oil, coconut oil, lavender oil, or sunflower oil. If you know your dosha, or ayurvedic body type, you can use the oil recommended for that specifically.
First thing in the morning before bathing, start with your scalp, temples, and neck, then move to your arms and torso, legs and feet. A five to ten minute massage is best, but you can always do a mini massage and just focus on the head and feet for a one to two minute massage. This helps to cleanse and nourish the body, and promotes healing.
5. Take the supplement triphala
Triphala literally means three (‘tri’) fruits (‘phala’), and has been used in ayurvedic medicine as an active detoxifier for thousands of years. Highly revered in Ayurveda, triphala is used to rejuvenate the digestive tract and clear eyes and skin. It is purported to go deep into the physiology to clear toxins from a the most intricate biological levels including the blood, bone marrow, fat, and muscles. It has properties that heal the digestive fire, which improves elimination and detoxification.
Look for a high quality supplement from your local health food store, and take it according to directions on the label. Incorporating this powerful herb into your cleanse has the power to dramatically promote results.