By Aparna Khanolkar:
If you want great health, vitality and strong immunity, then you must cleanse your body regularly. After all, we get oil changes and maintenance for our automobiles. Why would we not do the same for our body and mind?
Let’s face it. There are numerous cleanses as well as juicing, fasting and weight loss fads. Do you find yourself confused?
Detoxifying the body is an ancient system for disease prevention. Ayurveda – the timeless system of health and longevity – includes entirechapters on the importance of cleansing for purification and rejuvenation. These were written over 7,000 years ago.
One of the main reasons for cleansing is to give the digestive system a break so the body can rid itself of toxins accumulated through the year(s). The other reason is to restore energy and balance in the body and mind. Although most cleanses focus on cleaning out the physical body, it is just as essential to purify the mind. According to Ayurveda, imbalances in the mind cause imbalances in the body.
Mind-body medicine is simple. What affects the body affects the mind and vice versa. So, during a cleanse, we want both the mind and the body to be purified.
Food is our nectar or our poison. If we view food as medicine, we would make a conscious commitment to put into our body foods that are closest to nature. In other words, seasonal, organic, fresh foods are best. Plant-based foods, legumes, brown rice and small amounts of freshly prepared yogurt are best. Spices that help with inflammation and detoxification are also essential and delicious.
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp cinnamon powder
- 4 Tbsp coriander seeds
- 2 Tbsp cumin seeds
- 2 Tbsp fennel seeds
In a small skillet, dry toast the seeds (not the powders). Stir constantly on low heat and toast for 4-5 minutes or until the seeds release their aromas. Turn off the heat. Add the turmeric and cinnamon powder, and mix well. Once this mixture cools, place in a spice grinder and grind to a powder. Store in an airtight container. Use in soups, lentil dishes and vegetables.
One of the best ways to cultivate a detox habit is to stop eating processed, frozen and canned foods. Even leftovers are devoid of prana (“life force” or “vital energy”). If you eat food without prana in it, you won’t have prana in your own body and mind.
There are physical toxins in the body from eating foods that are difficult to digest. And there are mental/emotional toxins as a result of not digesting our experiences. These traumas, impressions and memories settle into the body tissues and into the mind. There, they act as a huge obstacle to our healing and living optimally as a radiant beings with that inner spark and love for life. Healing the mind and body is not possible unless the mental toxins are released as well.
Meditation and mantra chanting is one of the easiest ways to purify the mind. In fact, the word mantra means “sounds that purify the mind.” Meditation must be a regular practice in order to reap benefits such as clarity, calmness, reduced anxiety and insomnia, and a general grounded feeling.
Cleansing is a time to be gentle and loving towards oneself. Although you can cleanse while working and managing your responsibilities, carving out some time each day to rest, be silent and reflect on your experience so you can have optimal results is best.
Not all cleanses are good for everyone. One diet for all or one cleanse for all is a mistake. A very exhausted, drained person is not going to do well on a cleanse with only raw food and juices: it will exacerbate the symptoms. In Ayurveda, the emphasis is on cooked, fresh food and herbs that support detoxification.
Each individual will need to consider his/her own experiences, stamina, age and other health-related issues before a cleanse. Ultimately, a cleanse is meant to restore your body and your mind. It is meant to enliven you.
Cleansing by consciously putting densely nutritious food into your body and by practicing certain rituals such as oil self-massage and meditation is easy on the body and mind.
Self-massage is an ancient Ayurvedic technique beneficial to the body and mind. The simple act of applying warm oil to the body has a natural detoxifying effect through the skin.
Watch the self-massage video here:
Self-massage is beneficial as a daily practice for various reasons. It balances hormones, enhances circulation, acts as a daily detox through the skin, strengthens the tissues and bones; and, best of all, it feels incredibly soothing and nourishing. Consider it your daily anti-aging practice.
Even though optimal health is our divine birthright, creating it is a lifelong process requiring devotion and dedication. It calls for discipline, and for loving and respecting our body and mind.
All things in nature have a rhythm and season. So do our body and mind. We must respect the inherent intelligence of the body and mind in order to maintain our health and happiness.
Cleansing just twice year will benefit your health in a big way. In addition, regularly eating a diet rich in fresh and easily digested foods, immersing yourself in the medicine of love, and connecting to nature will keep you aligned with the very principles that enhance our well-being and happiness.
This is the link to my winter cleanse page: http://www.aparnakhanolkar.com/newsletter/new-year-new-cleanse/
Aparna Khanolkar is an Ayurvedic Lifestyle Counselor. She is a writer, a speaker and the creator of several programs for health and healing. She is the author of “Happy Belly Happy Soul,” “Spice,” “A Mother’s Blessing,” “Kitchen Tantra” and “Everyday Ayurveda.”
Aparna Khanolkar is a former head chef of the Chopra Center in San Diego, she offers personalized nutrition consultations in person, over the phone or via Skype; personal chef services and catering; Ayurvedic treatments, pancha karma and individual sessions for emotional healing. Aparna is also the creator of the “Loving Yourself First” program, “Reset and Rejuvenate,” as well as “Embrace the Feminine” course. She also offers four cleanses with mind-body medicine principles as the foundation.
Her greatest desire is to guide people in using Ayurveda to integrate the body and mind in a gentle, compassionate way. She teaches that Food is Medicine for the Body, Love is Medicine for the Heart, and Meditation is Medicine for the Mind.Enjoy the videos, and please subscribe. http://AparnaKhanolkar.com