The best times of year to detox are at the junctions of the seasons, around the spring and autumn equinox, to cleanse the accumulated mucus from winter and heat from the summer. A thorough detox also puts a bounce in your step and invigorates you so you are ready to enjoy the season ahead.
While detoxification helps to refresh both body and mind, it is important that you not only cleanse your system, but also nourish it properly afterwards. It's rather like weeding your garden before you put compost on so that the seeds flourish, or sanding off old paint before applying a fresh new coat. A clean slate is easier to work with.
• One of the simplest starts to your detox costs very little.
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Hot water is a wonderful medicine and a great cleanser. Think of washing up: if you have a greasy plate and you use cold water, the fat will simply congeal. However, if you use warm water, the grease will melt away. Drink this freely throughout the day. If you include spicy teas it also helps to boost metabolism, invigorate your digestion and cleanse your digestive system. Three Ginger and Revitalise are two of Pukka's warming favourites.
• Aloe vera juice is a potent cleansing and rejuvenating tonic. Drink one or two tablespoons on an empty stomach, especially in the morning, although you can repeat this two or three times a day. Use an Aloe Vera Juice which is 100% organic and made from the inner gel of the whole plant which means that more soothing ingredients are present.
Ayurveda's most renowned formula for regulating and cleansing the digestive system is Triphala. Three Indian fruits – amla (high in antioxidants), haritaki and btbhitaki – have been used together for thousands of years for removing toxins from the digestive tract, while at the same time nourishing the tissues and lubricating the bowel without irritation.
• Take Clean Greens, a blend of some of nature's finest chlorophyll-rich foods, every day to help bring you the cleansing benefits of chlorophyll and its alkalising effect on the whole system.
• Massage is also a central part of Ayurvedas cleansing, nourishing and rejuvenating habit. Regularly massage yourself from head to foot with 100ml warm organic sesame oil. Leave the oil on your body for 10 minutes. Then wash off in a hot bath or shower. This will dilate the surface of your skin and bring a deep cleanse.
• To optimise cleansing your yoga practice can include postures that are dynamic, expansive and stimulating, which gives emphasis on elimination via the lungs. Practise with increased emphasis on your breathing. Do sun salutation (suryana-maskar) until you are warm and your breathing becomes deep. Include backwards and forward bends that open the chest, such as the fish (Mat-syasana), the wheel (Chakrasana), the camel (Ushtrasana) and tiger (Vyagrasana) to stimulate the kidneys and lungs.
Remember that Ayurveda is a whole lifestyle and that cleansing, digestion and rejuvenation are essential to a life of vitality.
Your digestion is at the centre of your health. Ayurveda even goes so far as to say that poor digestion leads to every disease. Ayurveda uses the metaphor of fire to describe digestion. A warm fire burns well with good-quality, dry wood that is put on the fire at the right time in the proper place, with plenty of air to fan the flames. If you add a big wet log it smokes and splutters; if you don't feed it enough the fire goes out. And so with your own digestion.
Known as agni' in Ayurveda, when your digestion is healthy it boots your immunity, and gives a sparkle to your eyes and a warm lustre to your whole body. A healthy digestive fire literally makes you glow. In terms of the Ayurveda's more classical descriptions agni is heating, lightening (it removes heaviness), sharp and penetrating, pungent (spicy) to taste and smell, and luminous and clear. Think of the sun. It is hot, burning and transformative, just like agni. It is how you want your digestion to be.