by Marla R. Miller
The body has an amazing ability to self-regulate and heal, but too many toxins can take a toll on natural processes designed to eliminate waste, maintain a healthy weight and enjoy optimal health.
People are unknowingly exposed to thousands of toxins daily through external pollutants. When toxins build up, organs become overburdened and sluggish, leading to inflammation at a cellular level and blocked channels in the body.
Following an Ayurvedic lifestyle involves periodic cleanses, usually done at the change of each season and especially in spring. Digestion can become sluggish after months of eating heavy foods and being less active in winter. Your body naturally wants to shed excess pounds and rev up its restorative capabilities to keep in harmony with nature.
If you’ve noticed a pattern of feeling fatigued, bloated, in pain or just “off,” it may be your body’s first signal that its natural detox mechanisms are slowing down. Or maybe energy is blocked somewhere in your body, preventing you from releasing negative emotions, trauma and inflammation deep in your tissues. Or perhaps you’ve simply been overloaded with too many processed foods, caffeine, sugar, alcohol, pharmaceutical drugs, environmental pollutants and stress.
Experiencing any of these issues:
- Digestive difficulties, gas and bloating
- Constipation, loose stools or IBS
- Intense cravings for spicy, salty or sweet foods
- Ignoring your body’s signal for sleep, food, rest, exercise
- Decreased energy, foggy-headed or fatigued
- Coating on the tongue or foul body, breath or stool odor
- Insomnia, anxiety, anger, grief or stress
- Have trouble focusing, waking up or feel a subtle malaise
It’s important to pay attention to your body’s internal alarm bells that something has gone awry.
A dedicated detox or Ayurvedic cleanse may be all you need to ignite agni, or digestive fire, lymphatic drainage and the body’s natural detoxification efforts. It can initiate release, renewal and healing by ridding the body of toxins, including negative emotions and traumas, and resetting digestion and other metabolic processes.
Some of the benefits of a cleanse may include:
- Renew a sense of calm in mental, spiritual and emotional spheres
- Rebalance nervous system, sleep cycles, digestion and metabolism
- Restore mental clarity, emotion balance and groundedness
- Improved energy, vitality and enthusiasm for life
- Promote weight loss or management and bowel elimination
- Prepare tissues for deep nourishment and rejuvenation
- Return body to its natural state of balance and support optimal health
As a system of healing, Ayurveda takes a holistic approach to wellness. The body works as a harmonious, integrated system, so it’s important to recognize and address health concerns or signs of illness at a systemic level. Ayurveda offers wisdom to better align mind, body and spirit, connect you with your intuition and awaken an innate intelligence to guide an individualized and authentic detox and healing process.
Cleansing helps reset one’s baseline health at very deep levels – physical and emotional – by giving the digestive system a rest, releasing toxins and energy blocks, and restoring the body’s natural healing capabilities.
Ayurveda encourages a regular detox or cleanse to maintain balance, support healthy liver, kidney and digestive functions and renew the body’s cells and tissues. A basic cleanse starts with a simplified diet of easy-to-digest foods, increased water intake and detox teas and may include adding supplements or specific Ayurvedic supports and herbs.
A more in-depth cleanse can range from 3 to 21 days or longer and consists of three phases – preparation, cleansing and post-cleansing – complemented by other detoxification practices.
Cleansing encourages gentle foods for the digestive tract that help support and strengthen agni; it helps draw out toxins and expel excess vata, pitta, kapha, and ama from the system. It is individualized based on a person’s unique mind-body constitution and health concerns. The specific approach, length and intensity varies depending on what you want to accomplish.
If you are new to cleansing, it is recommended to start with a shorter, simpler approach and graduate to a longer cleanse. Choose a realistic timeframe and commitment so you set yourself up for success. More intense cleanses should be undertaken with the supervision of an Ayurvedic practitioner.
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