Do you ever feel just slightly off, but you can’t quite put your finger on what exactly is wrong? Here is why you need an Ayurveda Cleanse: the power of a cleanse is enormous.
These days, feeling lousy has almost become the norm. Too many of us are giving up on the possibility of ever feeling our best again. Unfortunately, our medical focus on diagnostic tools, treating symptoms, and on labeling a wide range of ailments within tidy categories of disease is dulling our capacity for self-awareness and inner sensitivity to our minds and bodies. As a result, many of us are ignoring our own internal alarm bells.
In some ways, feeling crummy can be a blessing; at the very least, it is an important invitation. Why? Because it is at these early stages of being unwell—of feeling off, down, or hindered in some way—that we can correct our imbalances with the greatest ease. And even if you feel fantastic today, wouldn’t you prefer to stay that way?
This is why Ayurveda can be such a transformational force in our lives. Ayurveda literally means “the science of life” and it teaches us to tune into body, mind, and spirit. The Ayurvedic tradition also offers us lots strategies to actually achieve positive change. As a system of healing, Ayurveda honors the utter uniqueness of the individual while helping each of us to improve a sense of balance and harmony in our lives. Ayurveda does not offer any one-size-fits-all solution—no silver bullet to heal one and all. Instead, it teaches us how to better align with our inner nature and to reinvigorate our own intelligence in order to guide a very gentle and profound healing process.
All of that said, Ayurveda does assert that there is one thing that influences our health more than any other: the metabolic fire- agni, in Sanskrit. Agni drives all processes of physiological transformation. 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. Agni is also our number one defense system against ill health and disease. Needless to say, when agni is impaired, our overall health suffers—sometimes in very overt and uncomfortable ways, other times, on much more subtle levels.
The point is that tending to and supporting the health of agni can be a catalyst for improving overall health. And while there are many ways to support agni, a cleanse is one of the most straightforward and effective means available. Done correctly, a cleanse strengthens agni throughout the system, helps to eliminate the very toxicity that might otherwise inhibit it, and can initiate a powerful process of renewal and healing at many levels.
The following signs and symptoms are an indicator that your body would benefit from a cleanse:
- You struggle with digestive difficulties of any kind, gas, bloating, burping,or heartburn
- You suffer from constipation, loose stools, or irregular bowel movements
- You have intense cravings for spicy, salty, or sweet foods
- You tend to have trouble listening to what your body needs (in the way of sleep, food, rest, exercise, etc.)
- You frequently lack energy or feel exhausted
- You suffer from anxiety or stress
- You have trouble sleeping or waking up
- Your mind feels scattered and you have trouble focusing
- You tend to feel foggy-headed or lethargic
- You sense a subtle and undefined malaise; you just don’t feel as well as you think you should (or maybe as well as you have in the past)
Benefits of a Cleanse
At it’s core, an Ayurvedic cleanse is focused on drawing toxins and excess vata, pitta, and kapha out of the tissues and into the digestive tract so that they can be eliminated. The end result of a cleanse should be an improved sense of balance and overall health.
An Ayurvedic Cleanse Helps To:
- Restore a sense of calm to the mind and the nervous system – you feel less scattered.
- Promotes both clarity and groundedness – you feel calm.
- Instigates an improved sense of energy, vitality, and enthusiasm for life.
- Supports the maintenance of a healthy body weight – we often lose a few pounds if part of your imbalance is to hold onto weight.
- Restore and maintain balanced sleep cycles- you feel refreshed and revitalized.
- Promotes a regular and balanced elimination- you cannot feel healthy if you can’t go!
- Restores your natural state of balance.
- Prepares the tissues for deep nourishment and rejuvenation.
- Promotes optimal health.
Many Different Paths
Periodic cleansing is considered an important part of an Ayurvedic lifestyle, but the specific approach should always take into consideration one’s constitution, Thankfully, there are many different ways to go about the process, and there is generally something for everyone. The overall structure, length, intensity, and depth can all be adapted to support the individual.
Most Ayurvedic cleanses are centered around simplifying the diet and, in some cases, adding supportive lifestyle practices. The goal is to balance vata, pitta, and kapha, digest and eliminate ama,(digestive toxins), balance and strengthen agni, (digestive fire). These are powerful outcomes and they tend to reset our baseline health at very deep levels. Remarkably, the process can be both curative and preventative because cleansing helps to reinvigorate the body’s best internal defense mechanisms, as well as its capacity for repair and renewal. As a result, truly profound changes often follow a cleanse.
The Holistic Highway offers a smorgasbord of different cleanses so that you can choose the approach that best aligns with your personal needs, lifestyle, and available time. Whatever cleanse is right for you, working with me during a cleanse can provide an invaluable level of personalized support and can, in turn, amplify the benefits you’ll gain from the process.
You Can Do This
If you feel intimidated, or have doubts about how you’ll respond to the restrictions or the overall structure of a cleanse, please don’t worry. Some of the choices are truly quite simple and are meant to serve those of us who have never attempted any sort of cleanse before. In addition, keep in mind that the Ayurvedic approach to cleansing is typically built around a monodiet that includes whole grains, legumes, vegetables, ghee, many spices, and a wide variety of flavors. While your diet will be simplified, you will not be fasting. In fact, you will continue to enjoy tasty and satisfying meals and teas, complete proteins, and a balanced diet overall.
If you remain skeptical about how this process might work for you, I encourage you to give a cleanse a try. Even if you don’t feel any early warning signs of imbalance, your body will very likely appreciate the break. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised—even shocked—by how powerfully a cleansing regimen can support you and your overall health. And really, without our health, what else do we have?
A periodic cleanse is one of the most valuable gifts we can offer ourselves. In the modern era, when so many of us are overly busy, overly toxic, and consistently weighed down by stress, anxiety, and disease, a cleanse can be life-changing.