- Wake before 7am, sleep before 10pm. If awake between 3 and 6, this is the best time to meditate
- Use a dry wash cloth rather than a brush or loofah to exfoliate your skin. Implement Abyangha—self massage with oils. Use abundant Warming oil (click here for Abyangha instruction if needed).
- Step into mildly warm bath or gentle shower. Pat dry with soft towels, apply more oil if necessary
- Cleanse the mouth and teeth with mild paste, rub the gums with sesame oil
- Engage in mild exercise like tai chi, walking or grounding and calming yoga
- Dress in colors that mitigate Vata and promote meditation: yellow, orange, and red
- Avoid cold wind and dampness, but if exposed cover the neck, chest, and head
- If it is difficult for you to breakfast early, at least start with nourishing teas that are non-caffeinated and enhanced with milk or a milk substitute and a natural sweetener: ginger, cardamom, coriander, clove, fennel, cinnamon—like a chai blend
According to Ayurvedic doctors, internal cleansing is an essential step in getting toxins out of the body. Liver and intestinal cleansing periodically is essential. Please do not do a cleanse if you have a weak liver or colon. Here are cleansing plans you may want to try, click the tab that matches your DOMINANT Dosha:
Cleansing for the Vata Dominant Constitution
By Amber Vitse, Ayurvedic Practitioner
(Editor’s Note: If you do not know your constitution, also known as your Dosha, take the test by clicking here).
Taking your herbs
Triphala: If tending towards constipation, start with Triphala to get regulated. Try 1 capsule with each meal. If that does not get things moving, take 2 capsules at a time before bed with warm rice milk. Also try extra ghee in the diet, fresh figs or dried figs soaked overnight, and ground flax seed. Drink plenty of fluids—water or herbal tea. Do not start the liver cleansers until your bowels are moving regularly. Remain on the Triphala throughout the cleanse if you continue to have difficulties with sluggish bowels, hard faeces or difficult movements, or skipping days.
Phyllanthus: Start with one capsule at night with fennel or ginger tea. Then add one capsule in the morning with the same tea. If feeling well, increase to 2 at night, then 2 in the morning as well. This should be sufficient for most. If you are a sensitive person, keep the dose lower, or keep it to once a day. Taking it at night allows it to facilitate liver cleansing while you are sleeping—when the liver does most of its work and the body is fasting. After 2 weeks, move on to the Picrorrhiza.
Picrorrhiza: Start in the same way, but take it as a food. Use a fennel or ginger tea, or combo, add rice or almond milk, a bit of sweetener. These carry it into the tissues. This herb is a protector and rebuilder of liver tissue. You can work up to taking 1-2 capsules with each of 3 meals per day. Do this for 2 weeks, or continue for a month if you’d like.
Foods during a cleanse
Do not fast if strongly Vata dominant or underweight.
Kichadi or Kichari is your best cleansing food while remaining nourished—Blend of Basmati or Brown Rice, Mung Bean, and spices. For recipe click here.
Seasonal Fruits: Cantaloupe and other melons, coconut, fresh figs, grapes, mangoes, papayas, peaches, persimmons, sweet plums, fresh dates. In the spring try soaking dried coconut, figs, raisins, prune, dates and add to soaked nuts or breakfast grains if you’d like.
Seasonal Vegetables—well steamed: beets, carrots, Jerusalem artichokes, okra, sweet potatoes and yams, turnips, winter squashes, summer squashes, kale, raw tomatoes and cucumbers on warm days. New greens not yet too bitter can be used in the spring.
Grains: Rice is best during a cleanse, you should avoid inflammatory wheat. If you need a change, whole oat groats can be used.
Animal Products: Try to avoid these during a cleanse as they are not sattvic. If you cannot avoid them, choose seafoods that are lowest in mercury http://www.thegreenguide.com/doc/101/whichfish
Dairy Products: Should also be avoided during a cleanse, but if replacing animal protein and you are quite active, choose fermented dairy like yogurt and kefir, and choose organic and grass-fed.
Legumes: Mung beans, well cooked and made into a paste or soup are best
Oils: Ghee is the optimum for oleation of tissues for cleansing. Use plenty! Sesame oil is good for the rest of the body.
Nuts and Seeds: All can be used during this period as a replacement for animal proteins. Choose this year’s fresh crop, not rancid old nuts on sale to clear them out.
Sweeteners: Small amounts during a cleanse, of rice syrup, agave nectar, molasses
Beverages: Warmed rice milk, almond milk, herbal teas