You may think that detoxing requires investing too much time or money, taking time off work, and traveling to a far-off retreat center.
Of course, a detox retreat like this can be well worth investing in and a good annual cleanse is highly recommended; however, that’s not to say that those who simply can’t afford the time or money cannot detox at home.
We can in fact detox in many little ways, every single day, using some wonderful tried and tested Ayurvedic techniques.
The most common type of toxin in the body according to Ayurveda is ‘ama’, a build-up of leftovers from a sluggish or ineffective digestive system, caused by eating the wrong foods or overloading with too much food. If ama is allowed to build up it can start to circulate around the body causing all sorts of issues.
This is why the digestive system is the cornerstone of health in Ayurveda and is so important to keep clean and free of toxic build-up.
A system full of ama can cause tiredness, sluggishness, fogginess, and heaviness, while a clean system will help create lightness and brightness.
We eliminate toxins through our waste by ensuring we have well-functioning digestive and elimination systems. But toxins can also come out in many other ways such as through our sweat, skin and mouths.
Here are some techniques that can be added in to your daily routine at different times of the day.
1. Oil pulling
First thing in the morning, before you brush your teeth, shower, or have that cup of coffee, try this wonderful mouth cleansing technique to rid the mouth of bacteria and leave it feeling fresh and decay-free.
Simply swish a tablespoon of sesame or coconut oil around your mouth, in and out through your teeth for up to 20 minutes.
You can start with a few minutes and build up slowly each day. To be time-efficient you can also start some of the other morning detox practices.
When ready to spit out the oil use your toilet rather than your sink to avoid clogging. Then scrape your tongue (see below) and brush your teeth.
2. Dry skin brushing
While oil pulling, and before your shower, dry-brush your skin with a hard, natural body brush or loofah. This stimulates the biggest organ of elimination, the skin, brushing off dead skin, improving circulation, and opening the pores to allow effective sweating.
Work from the soles of the feet up in nice long strokes up towards the heart. Shower directly afterward.
3. Tongue scraper
After or instead of oil pulling you can use a tongue scraper to deeply cleanse your tongue from bacteria, helping reduce mucus and bad breath. This Ayurvedic tool is so simple, so inexpensive yet so effective. Simply scrape the tongue from the back to the front with this metal cleaner and rinse and repeat.
It can be used first thing in the morning and/or after eating and brushing your teeth. It will keep your mouth fresh and stimulated, reducing any build-up of food and enhancing your taste buds.
Afterward, brush your teeth.
4. Warm water with lemon
A large warm glass of water with lemon is a simple and effective way to detox your system every single day.
First, it’s hydrating. Second, it will help stimulate your bowels. Third, it will have an alkalizing effect on your system.
If you’re a morning coffee drinker, get this down you first to help balance the acidity of the coffee and hydrate after your night’s sleep.
Drink it after oil pulling or tongue scraping.
Another great way to eliminate toxins through your skin is to aim to sweat every day. Whether through yoga or steaming this is another effective way to rid your system of toxins and to feel great.
A more active style of Yoga is a wonderful way to start the day, if possible before work. Not only does it cleanse the skin but also gets stagnant energy moving.
Triphala is a great herb for digestive issues, supporting regular bowel movements. It can be found in powder or tablet form.
Herbal teas are also excellent for aiding elimination, especially ginger tea, or fennel for indigestion.
Adding spices to your food can help digestion.
Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and is used a lot in Indian cooking for its healing benefits.
Cinnamon and ginger are wonderful as cleansing spices.
8. Cleansing food
Kitcheri is an excellent Ayurvedic meal that is suitable for all doshas/body types.
Used in panchakarma, it’s both nourishing and tasty while helping keep the system clean due to its easy-to-digest qualities.
In general, eating your main meal at lunchtime is best for the system as this is when the digestive fire (agni) is working best. Avoid eating too much at night and leave enough time between meals to allow full digestion of the previous meal.
Only eating when truly hungry is a great practice to get into to really tune in to your personal digestive system.
Self-massage before bed using an Ayurvedic dosha-balancing oil is a lovely way to give your body some love at the end of the day. Plus, your skin absorbs all the goodness of the oil, nourishing and balancing your system.
Sleep is the best way to detox your system on a daily basis, as this is what naturally happens when we go to bed and get enough sleep.
An Ayurvedic tip for restless sleep is to massage sesame oil on the soles of your feet before going to sleep, as it reduces vata in the body.
(This has been a lifesaver for me and is definitely one of my top tips for those with sleep issues.)
Hope you enjoy adding some of these simple Ayurvedic detox techniques into your daily routine to help achieve a cleaner, brighter and lighter system without having to leave the comfort of your own home!
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