Ayurveda: The Science of Life; known as a sister science to Yoga; a holistic approach to health focusing on diet, lifestyle, emotions, spirituality, treating people as unique individuals
For a detailed discussion on Ayurveda, see my teacher Katie Silcox’s Podcast HERE, Episode 01 “What is Ayurveda?”
In my world, CLEANSE is a word that’s widely discussed and debated. You may never have heard the word before in relation to “cleansing the body internally”, maybe only for cleansing the skin or something else. The type of cleanse I’m discussing is the process of cleaning the inside of the body - organs, tissues, blood, etc. There are many ways to cleanse and many people touting that their way is “the best”. That’s for you to decide. There are Juice Cleanses, things like the Master Cleanse, Bone Broth Cleanse, and the list goes on. I’m going to discuss Ayurvedic Cleansing because it’s the one I’m touting as the best! Ha ha. But an Ayurvedic Cleanse differs from all the others mainly because it is nourishing while detoxifying. We are not starving our bodies. We’re eating real food, and plenty to keep us satisfied and satiated.
A great description from Banyan Botanicals: At its core, an Ayurvedic Cleanse is focused on drawing toxins and excess vata, pitta, and kapha (dosha, the imbalanced elements of the body) out of the tissues and into the digestive tract so that they can be eliminated. The goal (of cleansing) is to balance vata, pitta, and kapha, digest and eliminate ama (toxins), balance and strengthen agni, and restore the body’s natural intelligence. (Agni is our “digestive fire” and it turns food into consciousness and governs metabolism everywhere the body. It oversees digestion, absorption, and assimilation in the GI tract, as well as the exchange of nutrients at the cellular level—even the digestion of thoughts and emotions.)
Don’t worry about those Sanskrit Words above if you’ve never heard of them before! Simple Translation: An Ayurvedic Cleanse is focused on drawing out and properly digesting & eliminating toxins in order to strengthen the body’s ability to digest and metabolize. This is important as Ayurveda states that the core of our health and wellness relates to how well we’re digesting.
So during an Ayurvedic Cleanse, we’re detoxifying the body as well as nourishing the tissues and building up our ability to digest. We’re eating a mono-diet which minimizes the variety of inputs to allow the body to rest and repair. A traditional Ayurvedic Cleanse consists of eating mostly Kitchari (a stew of mung beans and rice) that has been seasoned with digestive spices and cooked with ghee, in addition to seasonal vegetables. When the body gets used to eating the same thing, it can more easily process and receive the nutrients from the food. In addition, the Mung Bean is particularly important as it is the most easily digestible bean, it’s anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory, helps boost immunity, and stimulates the release of toxins from the blood and tissues.
We’re used to understanding the general premise of how we digest food, but many times we don’t understand and don’t pay attention to the fact that we need to digest everything we take in throughout our day. This could be thoughts, emotions, interactions with others, media, and the list goes on. During an Ayurvedic Cleanse we also take into account everything we’re digesting beyond food. We pay attention to our daily habits and routines and see where else we might be able to cleanse.
Many people liken cleansing to “Spring Cleaning” the house. The same way it’s wonderful to deep clean your house, it’s also wonderful to deep clean the home you live in called your body. It’s a wonderful time to let go of bad habits, give yourself a technology or Social Media break, add in new self-care routines, tune in to your own wants and needs, and just give yourself a rest overall.
It is safe for the majority of people to do an extended cleanse. Contraindications include: Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, Menstruation, or an Acute Condition such as a Cold or Surgery Recovery.
If any of this peaks your interest, we are offering a guided Spring Cleanse here at Transparent Heart Yoga (first meeting March 20th), led by yours truly, Courtney. Details and sign-up on our Events Page.