If you find yourself feeling the urge to cleanse or “detox,” have no doubt that your body is communicating something important to you!
Cleansing unwanted waste is an integral part of the body’s activity on a cellular level. Our biological clocks schedule cleansing activities every second through breathing, every hour through urination, every day through bowel movements and monthly for women through menstruation.
Other timely need-based physical cleansing activities performed by the human body are sneezing, coughing, yawning and perspiration. Sleep is just not a state of rest but is also a mental cleansing process. Crying is an emotional cleansing.
The Ayurvedic Secret to Good Health
Ayurvedic medicine emphasizes knowing yourself and your environment, and choosing your diet and lifestyle in accordance with the laws of nature that govern you and your surroundings.
According to Ayurveda, the “self” encompasses:
• Body (Sharira)
• Mind (Satva)
• Spirit (Atma)
• Senses (Indriyas)
Human beings live in the realm of nature; they are constantly surrounded by it and interact with it.
The Laws of Nature follow a rhythmic cycle of:
• Day and night
• Change of seasons
• Flow of time-space
• Alignment of the planets
Following the course of nature supports the body’s natural urge to clean any unwanted or unutilized matters, thoughts, emotions and energies. Balanced nutrition and healthy lifestyle habits are important for maintaining both internal and external hygiene, which gives a complete sense of cleanliness.
As complex as human beings are, maintaining health can be very simple. Ayurveda—wisdom of life—has a profound message for good health: “Do not suppress the natural urge of cleansing.” Attend to the need immediately; this means bringing awareness to the body and honouring your natural calling.
The Main Idea of Ayurveda is Balance
According to Ayurveda, health “swasthya” is defined as: a well-balanced metabolism and happy state of the being, mind and sense organs.
Signs of a well-balanced metabolism are:
- Strong to moderate appetite
- Regular bowel movements
- Undisturbed 6 to 8 hours of sleep
To achieve health and enhance your wellbeing, Ayurvedic practices incorporated with Yoga practices are recommended:
- Proper diet
- Lifestyle that nurtures the five senses
- Relaxing the mind
- Maintaining internal and external hygiene
Healthy Habits Build Resistance and Resilience
Maintaining Internal Hygiene with Ayurveda
Ayurvedic medicine emphasizes that internal hygiene can be maintained with healthy eating habits and a wholesome diet. Healthy eating habits support internal hygiene by reducing toxicity due to undigested food. Some healthy eating habits are:
- Taking the time to eat in a calm and relaxed environment
- Chewing your food well
- Eating ¾ of your stomach (eating only until you feel 75% full)
- Exercising or showering an hour after eating meals
- Allowing at least a 2-hour gap between two meals
- Drinking minimum water with meals
- Eating seasonal and local fruits and vegetables
- Utilizing herbs and spices in your food preparations
- Eating food and fruits separately
- Rotating the menu and variety of food ingredients
- Choosing wholesome foods over processed ones
- Keeping a consistent daily meal and sleep time
- Following Ayurvedic day and night routines to prevent disease
- Maintain internal and external hygiene
- Incorporating all six (sweet, salty, sour, bitter, hot and astringent) flavours of nature in your meal
The Six Flavors of Nature
For healthy, wholesome meals, Ayurvedic medicine recommends blending six flavors of nature in food preparations: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, hot and astringent. Each flavor has an essential role in restoring a healthy state of mind, body and spirit. However, they must be consumed in moderation; excess or insufficiency is unhealthy.
- Sweet – promotes growth of all healthy tissues
- Sour – stimulates enzymatic flow
- Salty – works as sedative
- Hot – promotes secretions such as tears, sweat and salivation and kills parasites
- Bitter – antibacterial and cleansing
- Astringent – promotes wound and sore closure, aids in joint repairs
Maintaining External Hygiene with Ayurveda
Ayurvedic medicine emphasizes that external hygiene can be maintained with lifestyle habits that can be incorporated into your daily routine:
- Tongue scraping
- Self-oil massage
- Neti pot cleanse
- Gargling with salt water or herbal decoction
- Washing your eyes with plain water
- Using essential oils on your temples
With stress so much a part of modern life, calming your senses will help you stay in touch with your inner self and can be incorporated with your daily practices. Teaching yourself daily stress-relief habits such as breathing exercises, stretching, chanting, walking and sharing enhances the body’s ability to maintain internal and external cleanliness.
Why You May Need a Yearly Detoxification
A yearly detoxification becomes essential when the biological clock that schedules natural cleansing is interrupted or the load of toxins entering the body is greater than the body’s ability to eliminate it. Either scenario causes the elimination organs to become overloaded.
The unflushed waste matter and/or increased activity of toxins, if not dealt with, gives rise to many diseases and complex health conditions. In such cases, detoxification with a complex, non-invasive protocol designed exclusively by the ancient Ayurvedic sages called the Panchkarma (five-fold detoxification) is highly recommended.
Ayurvedic detoxification principles are profound and greatly relieve chronic health issues. In North America, Ayurvedic detoxification has been modified for compatibility with extreme climate situations, legalities and herbal availabilities; however, these protocols keep the original principles of detoxification intact.
The most suitable time for detoxification of specific dosha imbalances and related symptoms in North America are:
- Late Winter: Kapha-related health concerns such as nasal congestion and weight gain
- Early to Mid-Spring: Kapha- and Pitta-related health concerns such acid reflux and allergies
- Mid-Spring to Early Summer: Pitta-related health concerns such as skin issues
- Late Summer to Early Fall: Pitta- and Vata-related health concerns such as inflammation and related issues in blood, muscles and joints
The Human Being is One of the Most Unique Creations in Nature
The essence of being human is comprised of the spiritual sphere, the sphere of the mind and senses, and the physical sphere of bodily organisation.
In Vedic philosophy, a human is thought of as a “small world” in the general composition of the universe. The organs are a “small world” in the general composition of the human body and, similarly, the cell a “small world” in the general composition of the organs. As a reflection and symbol of the “universe within the universe” is the journey between consciousness to matter.
If we examine human existence at an organismic level, we discover the operation of laws based on the self-regulation of processes in the organism as a stable, integral system.
A human body has more than 100 trillion cells. These cells vary in size, shape, properties and characteristics. They are born and they die, they interact, travel, generate, regenerate and degenerate themselves every fraction of a second.
This natural inter-connection phenomenon is achieved due to the innate nature of these cells to obey the necessity of performing in such a synchronized manner.
In other words, if you are compelled to cleanse, there are probably trillions of reasons behind it!
Image Copyright: 123rf/Elenathewise
This document is prepared by Ismat Nathani, DNM, CAP for Centre for Ayurveda & Indian Systems of Healing (CAISH) for educational purposes only. The copying and redistribution of this document without permission is prohibited.
©NRiched Health Inc
Note – Information in this article is provided for the sole purpose of imparting education about Ayurveda and is not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you have a medical condition, please consult a health professional.