24 Mar An Ayurvedic Cleanse for Spring
Almost everyone needs to help cleanse and rest their body from time to time. Some of us need to cleanse more frequently or work more continually to rebalance our body.
There are many types of cleanses that restore the body by helping to eliminate toxins, thereby improving our ability to absorb nutrients. Ayurveda focuses on a method of cleansing that restores our natural ability to assimilate and eliminate what we consume in life.
Ayurveda is the traditional medicine of India, which originated over 5,000 years ago. Ayurveda is referred to as the Science of Life.
Ayurvedic theory asserts that building a healthy metabolic system, attaining good digestion and proper excretion leads to vitality. Ayurveda emphasizes re-establishing balance in the body through diet, lifestyle, exercise, and body cleansing. In addition to diet and lifestyle, Ayurveda also focuses on Yoga (its sister science) and meditation to create health and balance.
The Ayurvedic term for cleansing is called panchakarma. Panchakarma is the ultimate mind-body healing experience for detoxifying the body, strengthening the immune system, and restoring balance and well-being.
According to Ayurveda, good health depends upon our capability to fully metabolize all aspects of life, assimilating that which nourishes and eliminating the rest. When we can’t completely digest our food, experiences, and emotions, toxins accumulate in our bodily tissues, creating imbalance and disease. Panchakarma restores the body’s innate healing ability.
When our digestive energies, known as agni (fire), are robust, we create healthy tissues, eliminate waste products efficiently, and produce a subtle essence called ojas. Ojas which may be envisioned as the innermost sap of our psychophysiology, is the basis for clarity of perception, physical strength, and immunity.
On the other hand, if our agni is weakened, digestion is incomplete and creates toxins that get stored in the body. This toxic residue is known as ama.
The process of panchakarma restores agni and removes ama in three steps. Purva Karma: Actions that prepare the body for strong purification; Pradhan Karma: Techniques of elimination; Paschat Karma: Techniques of rejuvenation (Rasayana).
Generally this process takes 7 to 21 days. When complete a person will feel lighter, energized and have a much more positive outlook on life. These effects will continue to accumulate after the cleansing process is over since the body and its energy systems are more balanced and efficient.
If you are interested in the precepts of panchakarma, and would like to try a 12 day Cleanse, please visit our site www.chrisjamesmindbody.com
AN AYURVEDIC CLEANSE FOR SPRING TIME HEALTH
Here is an Ayurvedic prescription for springtime health which will help you leap from winter to spring with grace and ease.
Your Ayurvedic prescription for spring is to try to develop a rhythm and routine that helps you gradually lighten up physically, mentally, and emotionally, and to harmonize with nature:
The best approach is multifaceted and includes eating lighter foods, practicing asana, and pranayama, and observing your diet.
To increase lightness and energy in your practice, add squats, which free up the densest part of the body: the pelvis and legs. The pelvis and legs represent the earthy-watery part of the body or Kapha, and are prone to retaining fat cells and water.
Poses like Utkatasana, Malasana, Virabhadrasana I, Surya Namaskar, Bhujangasana, create heat, improve joint mobility, aid digestion and elimination, and increase circulation. Of course, these poses are also physically challenging! Seated twists helps circulate kapha by alternately compressing the abdomen and expanding the chest.
Practicing the above postures with deep, rhythmic Ujjayi Pranayama.
Kapalabhati Pranayama is excellent for strengthening your lungs and clearing your head and sense organs.
Try practicing Uddhiyana Bandha Kriya, a traditional cleansing practice.
To balance kapha in your practice, it is important not only to stoke agni with your asana and pranayama, but also with your dietary choices.
Eat light, easy-to-digest foods during spring and wait at least three to four hours between meals.
Try eliminating foods that increase kapha —dairy products, iced or cold food or drinks, and fried or oily food—especially at dinner.
If you’re truly hungry, have something nourishing like a freshly pressed vegetable or fruit juice.
To take your ama-flushing a step further, consider a dietary cleanse. As an alternative to strict fasting, spend five to 10 days eating only fresh, ideally local fruits and vegetables and kitchari, a curried mung bean and rice dish. This will improve your digestive fire and eliminate ama.
During your cleanse, you can also drink tea made with cinnamon, black pepper, and ginger one hour after breakfast and lunch.
Drink chamomile tea in the evening; it’s beneficial to your digestive and circulatory systems and helps expectorate excess mucus.
Getting your digestive system re-energized by a simple cleanse can pick you up and get you ready for all the warmer weather has to offer. When you do decide to fast, or cleanse, do not look at it as a form of deprivation. Cleansing can be a gift to yourself; a true opportunity for balance and well being that will put a spring in your step. Try it and see!
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For your top tips on creating optimal health in the mind and body, read Chris James new book –‘Mind Body Cleanse’ by Chris James (Penguin Vermilion, £14.99). Available from Amazon.