A truly transformative cleanse goes beyond our physical needs. Ayurveda believes that fatigue or feelings of heaviness can actually manifest into a plethora of physical ailments: constipation, indigestion, gas, diarrhea, bad breath, body stiffness, even mental confusion! With our mental state so closely linked to physical changes, a cleanse that rejuvenates all-around must go beyond the body, and help balance and cleanse from the inside out. Here are five great ways to reset.
- Internal Oleation: When ingested daily in small quantities, ghee (clarified butter) lubricates the channels of the body to help break up undigested food and toxins, allowing them to readily pass from the body. The Ayurvedic cleanse recommends a tablespoon of ghee with warm water taken every morning, generally for 3-5 days. Note: Individuals with high blood levels of cholesterol, triglycerides or sugar should not use ghee. Ask your doctor before you begin to take ghee if ghee is right for your body.
2. External Oleation: Following the use of ghee, external oleation through an oil massage helps to relieve stress and nourish the nervous system. A 15-20 minute massage can greatly loosen toxins and activate movement around the intestinal tract. At UMA, we recommend a three-step massage ritual to engage and nourish all of you:
- Body Massage: Many of us hold on to stress in our hands and the neck area in particular. For the hands, stretch your fingers wide and gently rub each finger from the base to the tip. Move on to the palms and gently massage with a body oil from the wrist to the base of the fingers. For the neck, mold your hands on your neck above the shoulders. Drop your head and exhale, then gently massage the neck with the tips of your fingers in small deep circles. Finally, rubbing oil at the bottom of your feet and in-between your toes can be the ultimate tool for relaxation and firing up your body’s limbic detox functions. Try it in the PM for your best night’s sleep yet!
- Hair Massage: If you aren’t giving yourself luxurious scalp massages pre-shampoo, you need to start today! Gently stimulating and moisturizing the skin on the scalp with a nourishing hair oil will not only stimulate blood flow (and nutrients!) to your scalp, but also refresh both your focus and muscle tension.
- Finally, Face Massage! Deeply relaxing to the mind - and uber-stimulating for facial muscles, circulation and all things good! UMA founder shares her top Face Yoga tips in this illuminating article for The Chalkboard Mag here.
3. Add Triphala to your diet: A ½ teaspoon of triphala powder steeped in hot water provides the benefits of a potent purgative treatment (but without the embarrassing urgency and cramps!). Triphala has healing and nourishing properties and also acts as a mild, but highly effective laxative. This herbal remedy supports healthy bowel movements for a squeaky clean detox that benefits both your physical health and mental health! (Triphala is quite readily available at many health food stores and Whole Foods markets - as well as at your trusty neighborhood Amazon!)
4. Mindful Eating: With all these toxins pouring out of you, you need to think very carefully about what you’re putting in! Building a mental menu based off how one’s body reacts to certain foods helps develop eating habits that are healthy for the body. Instead of focusing on how to avoid fast food and snacks, try choosing food with the intention to preserve your idiosyncratic body’s strength and energy.
5. Pranayama & Yoga: A healthy body houses a healthy mind. Particularly, exercises focusing on deep breathing allow the body to recalibrate, while relieving the mind of stress. Bonus benefit of deep breathing: it acts as a massage for the digestive organs! Naturally expanding the diaphragm through deep breaths relieves tension in the body and in the digestive tract. Looking for Yoga poses that make you feel and look great? We catalog our favorites right here.