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Simple Fall Ayurvedic Detox

A cleanse or detox is best done in the autumn or in the spring when the weather is neither too hot nor too cold. It’s a chance to rest and reset the mind and body. The ideal length of time for a cleanse or detox really depends on the person. I suggest three to five days.

An ayurvedic cleanse works on all levels of the being – physical, emotional, psychological and even spiritual. Quiet time and rest is key. Physical and mental activity during a cleanse is meant to be kept at a minimum. The food plan is also intended to be simple and easy to digest. This way energy is directed towards rejuvenation and healing. It’s important to reduce responsibilities and if possible, take time off work. Think of this as a stay-at-home vacation. If you can get away from your normal routine and be in the country, that’s even better.

Take the time to prepare, schedule and plan for your cleanse.  If you need a personalized cleanse to address specific concerns, I suggest making an appointment with an ayurvedic practitioner.

Here is a simple tridoshic cleanse perfect for autumn:

 

FOOD PLAN

Vegetable detox soup (see below) or stewed apples and pears / apple sauce; herbal tea; green juice – see recipes for green juices; If you can’t take time off work, then reduce workload and responsibilities as much as possible and eat kitchari instead – recipe below.

Vegetable Detox Soup –  Broth is easy to digest and cleansing – recipe from Vaidya Anita Sharma

Ingredients:
•  2 c water
•  1 c broccoli (chopped)
•  leek (chopped)
•  1 c peas (fresh or frozen)
•  1 c swiss chard (chopped)
•  ½ c fennel (chopped)

•  
½ c parsley (chopped)
•  5    garlic cloves
•  1 c  green cabbage (chopped)
•  1“  ginger (freshly grated)
•  pinch cayenne pepper
•  pinch salt
Put everything into a pot & bring to a boil. Then simmer for 15-20 mins. Strain and drink broth only or blend.

HERBS

Take Triphala ¼ tsp 3x a day or ½ tsp am & pm with good amount of warm water. It’s a tridoshic (good for everyone) herbal blend for cleansing.

Other herbs – optional:
• VATA for nervous system:  Bramari ¼ – ½ tsp in water at night and/or ashwaganda ¼- ½ tsp am & pm
• PITTA For liver: Milkthistle in capsule (2 x 500 mg am – first thing) or Kutki 1-2 capsules (500 mg) am;
• KAPHA for congestion: ½ tsp Triphala Guggul am & pm; Trikut may also be good.


REST & LET GO

•  Reduce mental work and pressure – best to take time off work and computer*;
  Rest – go to bed before 10 pm; Take naps if needed;
  Yoga Nidra– deep yogic rest or a long savasana (Richard Miller has fantastic guided Yoga Nidra practices);
  Letting go exercise:  Write out all your frustrations, worries and fears on paper. Be brutally honest –even curse and swear. Dig deep and get out all your emotions. Then, as safely as possible, burn the pages as a symbolic release. Do this daily, maybe even twice a day, during your cleanse.

 

YY_breathing_alt_nostril_kapalbhati-newMEDITATION & BREATHING

  Meditation morning and evening – download a 30 min guided meditation;
  Om chanting, prayer and/or expressions of gratitude and devotion;
  Pranyama Breathing: Alternate Nostril Breathing & Kapalabhati 4 x 50 per day – download instructions;

 

OTHER

  Ayurvedic self massage – instructions via Chopra Centre
  Journal about your dreams, desires, and the things you love and appreciate in life;
  Artistic pursuits: draw, write, paint, knit, etc.
  Read uplifting or spiritual texts (jnana yoga).
  Walk in nature – particularly soothing for Pitta;
  Gentle Yoga – download the pawan muktasana series for joint mobility;
  Ayurvedic Massage & Shirodhara is recommended.

 

POST CLEANSE

Best to ease back into responsibilities and work. For food, I recommend keeping the diet simple for several days after cleansing. Eat small meals. Having kitchari, a stew of lentils and rice, is ideal an transition meal. Here’s a kitchari recipe, also inspired by my teacher Anita Sharma:

Kitchari Recipe

Ingredients
•  1 c split mung beans or red lentils (soak for 1 hr before)
•  2 c rice or quinoa (or 1 c quinoa & 1 c barley for kapha)
•  4 1/2 c water
•  3/4 tsp sea salt & black pepper
•  1 tbsp freshly ground cumin
•  1 tbsp freshly ground coriander seeds

•  1 tbsp freshly ground fennel seeds
•  1 tbsp turmeric
•  Optional:  pinch of hing for Vata;  or pinch of cayenne pepper for Kapha
•  Desired veggies – chopped (add leafy greens at the end)
Put everything into a pot & bring to a boil. Then cover & let simmer for on Low for ~45mins. You may enjoy with 1-2tsp of ghee (clarified butter) or plain yogurt can also be good with this dish.

Good luck! Let me know how it goes. 

Related Articles

What is Ayurveda?

10 Ways to Improve Digestion

Green Juices for Vata, Pitta & Kapha

 

 

 

What’s my Dosha?

What’s my dosha? is a rather complex question, because every living creature is composed of all five elements and all three doshas– vata, pitta and kapha.  Each of the ayurvedic constitutions (doshas) have distinct attributes and responsibilities in the body. You cannot survive without them. This said, we are not one-third vata, one-third pitta and one-third kapha. There is an infinite number of doshic combinations and no two individuals are exactly the same.  We all have a unique balance that makes me, me and you, you. One’s essential nature is inherited from our parents and does not change.  This is Prakruti.

When we are healthy and balanced, we experience the favorable qualities of the doshas and our Prakruti is revealed. When we are imbalanced or sick, we experience Vikruti, the shadow or unfavourable qualities of the doshas.  Vikruti (imbalance state) can also be inherited from our parents and grandparents. Since we only treat vikurti in Ayurveda, what’s important to determine are what doshas are out of balance. Why? Because we don’t fix what ain’t broke!

Here’s how to tell when a dosha is out of balance:

VATA (air & space)

Vata character when balanced

•  Vibrant, lively, enthusiastic
•  Clear and alert mind – fast learner
•  Flexible
•  Adaptability
•  Imaginative, creative, artistic
•  Sensitive/ clairvoyant
•  Talkative, energetic, quick to respond
•  Social butterfly

What aggravates Vata 

•  Irregular routine – irregular meals & sleep
•  Staying up late
•  Multi-tasking & excessive mental work
•  Cold, dry weather
•  Bitter, astringent, pungent or cold food
•  Traveling, injury, trauma
* Bitter emotions like grief or astringent emotions like fear, aggravate Vata. 

When out of balance – Symptom –> Pain

•  Restless, unsettled, forgetfulness
•  Light interrupted sleep, insomnia
•  Tendency to overexert then crash
•  Fatigued, stiff, dryness
•  Anxious, worried, lonely, depressed, unstable
•  Underweight, malnutrition
•  Poor digestion, gas, bloating, constipation

Conditions: arthritis, dehydration, mental illness, anorexia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease

To balance Vata – Calm & soothe

•  Create routine for meals, work & sleep
•  Favour warmth & rest
•  Reduce stress, travel, disturbing sounds & loud music
•  Favour warm lubricating, nourishing food
•  Favour soft colors, calming music
•  Gentle flowing yoga & restorative poses
•  Guided meditation & rest

PITTA (Fire & water)

 Pitta character when balanced

•  Warm, loving, passionate, contented
•  Enjoys challenges, motivated
•  Strong digestion & immunity
•  Lustrous complexion
•  Good concentration
•  Articulate and precise speech
•  Courageous, bold
•  Sharp wit, intelligent, focused

What aggravates Pitta 

•  Excessive heat or exposure to the sun
•  Alcohol, smoking, drugs
•  Time pressure, deadlines, competition
•  Excessive activity – physical or mental
•  Too much spicy, sour or salty food
•  Skipping meals
* Sour emotions like envy or pungent emotions like anger, aggravate Pitta

When out of balance – Symptom à Inflammation

•  Demanding, aggressive, perfectionist
•  Tendency towards frustration, anger
•  Tendency towards skin irritation & infection
•  Extreme hunger, allergies
•  Prematurely gray hair /early hair loss

Conditions: ulcers, heart burn, IBS, OCD, high blood pressure, acne, liver issues, addiction, hypoglycaemia, auto-immune diseases
To balance Pitta – Refresh & release tension
 •  Reduce stimulants, spicy foods and pressure
•  Favour coolness, leisure, natural beauty, rest  & moderation
•  Favour sweet, bitter & astringent taste
•  Work on letting go of anger & cleanse blood
•  Gentle yoga in nature with some challenge
•  Mantra meditation & rest

KAPHA (earth & water) 

Kapha character when balanced 

•  Affectionate, compassionate
•  Nurturing, calm, relaxed
•  Forgiving, loyal, Emotionally steady
•  Good listener & good memory
•  Slow, methodical, reliable
•  Strong stamina
•  Natural resistance to sickness
•  Soft skin, melodious voice

What aggravates Kapha

•  Oversleeping
•  Overeating
•  Insufficient exercise
•  Too little variety in life
•  Heavy, unctuous foods
•  Too much sweet, sour or salty food
•  Cold, wet weather
* Sweet emotions like desire, or salty emotions like greed, aggravate Kapha.

When out of balance – Symptom –> Swelling

•  Complacent, dull, boring
•  Sluggish, lethargic, lazy, no ambition
•  Oily hair & skin
•  Coughing, phlegm, congestion
•  Slow digestion & metabolism
•  Heavy, overweight, emotional eater
•  Possessive, over attached, needy
•  Tendency to oversleep

Conditions: obesity, chronic fatigue, kidney issues, blocked arteries, diabetes, growths (tumors)

To balance Kapha – Motivate & encourage

•  Reduce sweets & heavy food
•  Regular exercise – daily
•  Favour stimulation, new experiences, variety
•  Sleep less, eat small meals & let go
•  Favour pungent, bitter & astringent taste.
•  Active, invigorating & stimulating yoga
•  Mantra meditation or walking meditation

Related Articles

What is Ayurveda?

10 Ways to Improve Digestion

Green Juices for Vata, Pitta & Kapha

Natural Remedies for Stomach Flu  (Kitchari recipe featured)

 

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10 Ways to Improve Digestion

In Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science, proper digestion is paramount to health. When digestion is optimal, we say that agni or the digestive fire is balanced. Our metabolic and immunity systems become stronger, we are energetic, we sleep well, we eliminate properly and we maintain a steady weight. When digestion is weak, we can experience any or all of the following:  gas, bloating, mood swings, weight gain, fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, congestion, sleeplessness, low libido, inflammation, emancipation, heart burn and in serious cases, anemia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), crohn’s disease or diabetes.

Here are some tips on how to improve your digestion, increase your metabolism and strengthen your immunity system:

  1. Start your morning with a glass of warm water. It helps to get the system going.
  2. Eat only when you are hungry. If you aren’t hungry,  your body isn’t ready for food and you will have difficulty digesting.
  3. Don’t wait to eat. Hunger is sign that there are enough digestive juices (acid) in the body to assimilate food. The body will hold this acid in the small intestine for approximately 30 minutes, after which it will be transferred to the colon and reabsorbed into the blood stream. Overtime, this can increase our general acidity.
  4. Create a routine for meals. This may seem to contradict #2 & #3, but if you make a point of eating at the same time everyday, your body will adjust and thrive with the regularity. (This is particularly important for Vata & Pitta doshas.)
  5. Take time to digest. Avoid eating until the previous meal has been digested. Allow approximately three to six hours between meals.
  6. Snacking should be reserved for when you are very hungry between meals. Constant ‘mindless munching’ strains the digestive system.
  7. Fruit is best eaten at room temperature and alone. It digests quickly and therefore, eating fruit with other foods slows its assimilation and causes it to ferment in the gut, creating gas and bloating.  (For these reasons, fruit should never be eaten with a meal or for dessert.)
  8. Avoid iced beverages or food. Cold food amd drinks decreases the strength of our agni (digestive fire) and interferes with digestion.
  9. Eat until you are three-quarters full. You don’t want to leave the table very hungry or very full. Too much food overwhelms our agni.
  10. Practice food sadhana or mindfulness when eating. Enjoy your meals in a settled, quiet atmosphere. Always sit to eat and take time for gratitude. This helps you relax and digest better. Working, reading, watching TV or excessive talking during meals create distractions for your mind and body. This hinders your ability to know when your hunger is satisfied.

BONUS:  We are each a unique composition of elements. Understanding what the best foods are for your individual constitution or dosha will help you achieve your specific health goals and stick to your New Year’s resolutions. Whether you want to loose weight, improve digestion or increase your energy level, an ayurvedic practitioner can assist you in addressing your needs.

 

Yasmin_BIOpic_web_squareMy ayurvedic practice
As an ayurvedic practitioner, I work with people simply wanting to enhance their health as well as with doctors and their patients with serious conditions like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. I design tailored food and lifestyle programs for each client. These programs may also include herbs, yoga, breathing, meditation and other exercises. Although my practice is based in Montreal, I have a satellite office in the West Island and I give consultations online via Skype.

Click here for more information about my ayurvedic services.

Contact me: hello @ yasminyoga.com

 

Related Articles

What is Ayurveda?

Green Juices for Vata, Pitta & Kapha

Natural Remedies for Stomach Flu  (Kitchari recipe featured)