Spring and fall are important times of the year to detoxify, according to Ayurveda. A spring detox is especially important as an antidote for the excesses of the winter (think holidays).
To maintain health and balance in the long run, however, Ayurveda also recommends a daily detox protocol. If you don’t yet have one, spring is the best time to put one in place. Incorporate these five detox tips into your daily life to feel lighter and energized as you head into the warmer months.
Use a tongue scraper first thing in the morning, before you brush your teeth. Ayurveda recommends tongue scraping to help boost the health of the oral cavity, including the teeth and sinuses, and to aid digestion. Digestion begins in the mouth as saliva mixes with the food and breaks it down. An excessively thick coating indicates the presence of Ama or toxins in the digestive system. Use a high-quality U- or V-shaped stainless steel or copper tongue scraper.
Start your morning with a glass of hot water and the juice of half a lemon or lime. This will cleanse your digestive tract and perhaps initiate a bowel movement (if you don’t normally eliminate first thing in the morning) to the get the toxins out of your digestive tract. The sour taste will enkindle the digestive fire or Agni setting you up for good digestion and metabolism first thing in the morning.
Drink warm herbal teas throughout the day. Cinnamon, ginger, fennel, and mint are good options. You should also cook your food with liberal doses of herbs and spices. Use culinary herbs such as basil, rosemary, thyme, and oregano, and spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mint, sage, and parsley in generous amounts.
Dry skin brushing has long been a part of Ayurveda’s cleansing philosophies. Your skin is an organ of elimination, just like your kidneys, liver, and colon. Dry skin brushing helps keep the pores clear and the skin active to assist the body in this cleansing process. It also helps to increase blood circulation. Dry brushing exfoliates the skin’s outer layer and stimulates the sweat and oil glands, providing more moisture for the skin.
Using warm dosha-specific oil, perform self-massage or Abhyanga 2 to 3 times a week. Massaging the entire body with warm oil helps improve circulation, activate the lymphatic system, and aid in detoxification. Note that you should only perform self-massage on the days you do not dry brush.
Instead of adopting all five of these practices at once, you can incorporate one per week during the first few weeks of spring. If you take the time to turn each action into a habit, it will be easier to stick with your detox routine throughout the entire year.
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