7 Steps For an At-Home Ayurvedic Cleanse

Krysta Shannon
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As you enter a new year, it is time to let go of the past. Let go of the negative thoughts or experiences that plagued you in the previous year, and let go of the external contaminants to which you were exposed, including poor food choices and environmental pollutants.
 
In Ayurveda, your body contains Agni (Sanskrit for digestive fire), which digests food and everything in your physical environment, including your experiences, emotions, and all things that you are exposed to through your five senses. Your body is made up of energies (doshas) that control your body and its functions: vata, pitta and kapha. An Ayurvedic cleanse will draw toxins and excess energies from your doshas to create balance and harmony within your body.
 
Your body becomes blocked and imbalanced after repeated exposure to food and external pollutants, such as everything you touch, hear, see and smell, and the emotional association with those senses. These are often evidenced in physical manifestations such as foul breath or body odor, indigestion, aches and pains, unclear thoughts, decreased energy and sleepiness after eating.
 

Are you in need of a re-boot? Ask yourself these questions:

 
• Do you have digestive issues?
• Do you crave any specific type of food (salty, sweet, spicy, etc.)?
• Do you lack energy or feel exhausted?
• Do your thoughts feel unclear or unfocused?
• Do you have trouble sleeping?
• Do you always hit the snooze button in the morning?
• Do you feel anxious or stressed?
• Do you feel “off” but you can’t pinpoint the cause?

 
As long as your ailments are not caused by an underlying health concern, an Ayurvedic cleanse will balance your mind, body and spirit by resetting your digestive fire, which will allow your body to detox and remove toxins. An Ayurvedic cleanse is not an opportunity to lose weight; it is a time to let your body slow down and heal itself, so you have the energy to succeed throughout the year.
 
You can choose the duration of your cleanse, depending on your body’s state of balance and your level of commitment. Only you can tell your body’s state of balance and the duration needed for a cleanse. If you just want a simple reboot, such as after the holiday season or an unhealthy weekend, try a one- or two-day cleanse. If you feel your body needs a full, serious detox, a week-long cleanse is a good length of time.
 
If you have begun a cleanse and you still answered yes to any of the questions above (constipation, trouble sleeping, anxious, etc.), then your body is still imbalanced and you should continuing cleansing. Each night, access how your body feels, and decide if you need another day or two to balance your body. Once you feel as if you are in a state of balance and positive well-being, then you know that you can cease your cleanse.
 

Here are 7 steps for an at-home Ayurvedic cleanse:

 
1. Gentle Yoga or Stretching:
 
Before you even get out of bed, you can perform gentle stretches and yoga poses to get the prana (Sanskrit for life force) moving within your body. Move with your breath and do what feels right for your body. These stretches can be as simple as gentle neck, wrist, and ankle rolls, or you can include a few poses such as eka pada apanasana, a reclined twist, and a side body stretch.
 
2. Tongue Scraping:
 
Each morning after you brush your teeth, use a tongue scraper to remove the film that coats your tongue. To do so, scrape from the back of your tongue to the front 3-4 times until you no longer see a collection of residue build-up. This practice is great during your cleanse, but it should be continued year-round for optimal oral health. According to Ayurveda, a copper tongue scraper is recommended, like this one here.
 
3. Drink Warm Liquids:
 
The first food or drink that touches your lips in the morning should be a warm glass of water with lemon juice or lemon essential oils. This beverage helps your body reset digestion. Make sure to avoid cold drinks and anything with caffeine throughout each day, as both can interfere with digestion.
 
4. Eat Kitchari:
 
Throughout your cleanse, you should eat kitchari for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are many variations and recipes available online, but essentially Kitchari is a simple, easy-to-digest, nourishing dish that is made of mung beans, basmati rice, clarified butter (or ghee) and a blend of herbs, including turmeric, fennel seeds, cumin, mustard seeds, coriander, pepper and sea salt. This dish will help remove toxins from your body and will keep you feeling satisfied. If you are ever feeling hungry, just eat more Kitchari, and don’t reach for processed foods as a snack.
 
5. Self-Massage:
 
To help eliminate toxins from the inside out, you can perform self-massage in the evening as part of your bedtime ritual. This massage will help your muscles release toxins. Start at your feet and hands, and massage inward toward your heart with warm oil, such as jojoba oil, coconut oil or sesame seed oil. Massage your joints in a circular motion. Make sure to massage every part of your body, except your face. Let the oil sit for at least 20 minutes before rinsing in the shower, and skip the soap.
 

 
6. Write it Out:
 
At the end of each day, take time to reflect upon your day. This should be designated as “me time,” even if it’s just five minutes before you turn off your light. Ask yourself how you are feeling and how the various interactions and activities throughout your day made you feel. Be honest with yourself. When you write it out and flush those thoughts from your mind, you will be mindful of your thoughts and feelings, which you can look back upon in the future.
 
7. System Flush:
 
If you choose to do a week-long cleanse, by the fourth day, your body will probably have accumulated a lot of toxins. To help rid your body of these elements, a laxative is recommended. Depending on your level of digestive regularity or state of your digestive system, you can choose to drink warm prune juice, a cup of senna tea or a half-teaspoon of triphala in warm water (a light laxative with antioxidants). If your method does not seem to be working, that means that your body is already functioning properly and you do not need to continue additional doses.
 
If you cannot commit to a full cleanse, you can start small and integrate a few of the above elements into your daily routine. You will not experience the complete benefits of the cleanse, but you will experience a positive effect on your overall well-being. From there, you can slowly integrate more elements into your cleanse, as you experience the positive benefits of honoring your body and restoring balance to your system.
 
After your cleanse, you should experience a renewed energy for life, improved sleep, digestive regularity and an overall sense of peace and balance within your body. Repeat this cleanse at the beginning of each season or anytime you feel imbalanced.
 
Have you ever tried an Ayurvedic cleanse? What tips or tricks worked for you? Please share your story in the comments below – we love hearing from you.
 

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Krysta Shannon

Krysta is a staff writer and product review guru at YogiApproved. She believes in the powers of healing crystals and essential oils, and never leaves home without them. Krysta is a true Jersey girl (in the best sort of way) who embraces a non-toxic and all-natural lifestyle.

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