Simple steps to increase your energy, improve your complexion and lose weight
As an Ayurvedic Practitioner, I’m often asked ‘How does Ayurveda’s approach to Detoxing differ from other forms of cleansing?’
That’s a great question. But, before we answer it, let’s start with a more fundamental one: Why do we need to cleanse or detox at all?
Our bodies are constantly processing everything we absorb from the outside world, including the oxygen, food and water our systems need to build, nourish, sustain, repair, and renew themselves.
First, our digestive tract breaks down most of what we eat and drink. From there, our organs of elimination, (skin, liver, kidneys and large intestine) process and remove any undigested wastes as well as any toxins and pollutants such as pesticides, heavy metals, plastics, and other carcinogens. In fact, over the past 30 years, our bodies have been exposed to 60K new toxic chemicals, with an average of 2K new chemicals added every year. Clearly, this is quite a bit for our bodies to process, digest and eliminate. Over time, our systems become increasingly sluggish, clogged and depleted.
We are all creatures of habit. Once we find something that works, something we like, the mind’s tendency is to repeat it again and again over time, regardless of whether it continues to work. Ayurvedic Cleansing provides us with an opportunity to pause, reflect on our habitual behaviours and create any necessary changes.
Detoxing and cleansing gives our bodies a break, a fresh start to re-establish healthy digestion and revitalises our immune system. The Sanskrit term for a practice or change in behaviour aimed at refinement and purification is ‘Tapas’. Now, more than ever, a powerful Ayurvedic Detox may be just the Tapas we all need.
Cleansing the Ayurvedic Way
Like all indigenous systems of medicine, Ayurveda is nature based. In other words, we look to nature and the seasonal changes specifically to provide us with guidance for our dietary and lifestyle needs. It is based on the principle that the seasons have a natural rhythm. It’s only when we live in harmony with the seasons, we experience optimal health. Read that sentence again, as it’s fundamental. It is only by living in harmony with the seasons, that we may experience the optimal health that is our birthright.
The Ayurvedic classification system of Qualities and Elements
Another foundational principle in Ayurveda are the 5 elements: Ether/Space. Air, Fire, Water, Earth. These 5 elements are considered the building blocks of all matter. Everything that exists in the material world can be described by these 5 elements. Each element has its own properties. For instance, Fire is hot, sharp and burning; Water is cool and moist, and Earth is heavy and dry and so on.
Ayurveda also provides us with the 10 Pairs of opposite energetic qualities that add a further dimension to understanding the nature of all things. Think of the qualities as the inherent properties of all matter. To bring this to life, here are a few examples using food and lifestyle practises:
- Potatoes are heavy, sleep is heavy,
- Fast walking and running have a feeling of lightness.
- Soups are generally hot, and juices cooling.
- If you overeat, you feel heavy, if you under eat, you will experience lightness.
- Sunburn feels hot, snow feels cold and moist.
You get the picture…. In order to treat your imbalances, we need to identify the quality being expressed and then treat using the opposite qualities…..this is an Art, a gift of Ayurveda.
|10 pairs||opposite qualities||examples|
|Cold||Hot||Refers to temperature. Ice is cold, fire is hot. Winter is cold, summer is hot|
|Moist||Dry||Refers to moisture. Water and juices are moist, chips, biscuits, popcorn are dry|
|Light||Heavy||Refers to weight. Lettuce is light, root veggies are heavy|
|Mobile||Static||Walking, moving is mobile, whilst sitting and sleeping is static|
|Rough||Smooth||Abrasive paper is rough, whilst a pebble is smooth|
|Gross||Subtle||Earth is gross as in dense, whilst air is subtle like the breath|
|Dense||Flowing||This refers to the liquid quality of a substance. Honey is dense, whilst olive oil is flowing|
|Dull||Sharp||Dull throbbing pain as opposed to sharp piercing pain|
|Soft||Hard||Avocados are soft, whilst frozen ice-cream is hard|
|Cloudy||Clear||Coconut water is cloudy, whilst filtered water is clear|
Food is Medicine
One of the best ways to improve your health is to eat fresh, seasonal, local and organic food. Ayurveda considers food as medicine to treat and reverse diseases by keeping your dosha, your individual constitution, in balance. When the dosha is balanced, you are living in accordance with your natural biorhythms.
Living in harmony with the seasons
Every season has certain attributes as does each dosha. For example:
- Summer is hot, moist, sharp and bright which all provoke Pitta. As a result Pitta diseases such as sunburn, hot flashes, exhaustion, fatigue, diarrhoea often occur, along with the heated emotions of anger and hate .
- Autumn is dry, clear, light, cold and windy which are all qualities that affect Vata. Aches and pains in the joints and muscles appear. The mind may become more fearful and anxious
- The heavy, cold, dampness of winter can provoke Kapha, leading to coughs, cold and sinus congestion. People may feel sad or depressed due to less sunlight. The watery quality of spring also provokes Kapha and some people tend to get spring colds and sinus congestion
The change from one season to the next requires fine tuning, diet and lifestyle in order to restore balance.
Seasonal modifications therefore are the foundations for maintaining good health
Detoxing your body is meant to be a routine part of restoring balance to your health. Detoxing facilitates the removal of toxins from the body that have accumulated during the previous season from food, emotional and chemical stress. That’s why the transition between seasons is the best time to adapt your diet, lifestyle, clothes and attitude. This is a good time to do an Ayurvedic cleanse, tailored for you. Individual treatment is the basis of Ayurvedic practice, which is the opposite of a one size fit all type of cleanse
What type of Cleanse should I do?
The type of cleanse you do depends on your goals, current state of health and specific season. In Ayurveda, the approach to cleansing is gentle, rather than harsh. It comprises of purposely eating the highest quality fresh food for a few weeks to re set our health. Think of an Ayurvedic Cleanse as an opportunity to give the body a break! Your digestive system gets to take a rest whilst your body is nourished with a combination of a light plant based diet, with digestive Ayurvedic herbs. This is the formula to supercharge your digestive process and remove built up toxins, leading to improved health and immunity.
Cleansing through the seasons
Spring cleanses are stronger and focus on purification. We shift from heavier winter foods to a fresher, more cleansing diet that prepares the body for the heat of summer. The body moves from heavier to lighter and sedentary to mobile qualities
Summer cleanses- During summer heat depletes the body’s reserves. There is a greater emphasis on cooling foods and practises that support reducing heat, cooling the blood and detoxing the liver
Autumn cleanses tend to be more nourishing and hydrating. The body is dryer and lighter from the heat of summer. The focus is to pacify the dry, light, mobile qualities of Vata….with the introduction of moist, warming, heavy foods.
Winter cleanses focus on building, nourishing and hydrating the body in preparation for the cold, of winter which has a constricting effect on the body. The focus is on warm, spicy, stimulating foods with a greater emphasis on oil and body work to pacify Vata.
In summary, Ayurvedic cleansing is simply put, food and lifestyle medicine. Seasonal fresh foods and herbs are used in a precise way to support both detoxification and a return to your optimal vitality. Cleansing helps to reset the functional body, and reduce chronic diseases. The results for you is vibrant physical health and a calm focused mind and attitude. When we are healthy, we are happy. When we are happy our immune system is strong and our mind resilient. Vibrant health at any age is the promise of Ayurveda. Pay attention to your intake, moderate your choices, do regular purification aligned with the seasons and health and empowerment is yours!
Join us for a 3-week Ayurvedic Cleanse
Are you looking for a reset? Feel ready to cleanse your body and mind in a safe and effective way? Join us for a 3 week group cleanse program kicking off in February!
The Medicine Man and Eleni Ayurveda have teamed up to create a live 3-week Detox that will have you looking and feeling your best without going to extremes. Tailored meal plans according to your constitution, downloadable recipes, Live video calls and group chats, Master Classes on nutrition and detoxing, herbs to help supercharge your results and access to your own Digital Launch Pad to answer your questions and energise you all the way!
Sign up here for a free info talk, where we’ll be talking all things Ayurveda, detoxing and giving you an overview of how it all works.