Ayurvedic at-home programme for wellness and cleansing
It was an annual ritual for our mothers and grandmothers: a thorough spring cleaning after winter had passed. In China, dirt is considered a hiding place for demons and a symbol of all the troubles of the past year—so apartments are thoroughly cleaned in the days leading up to the Spring Festival.
Giving your house a deep clean and decluttering closets, cellars, and storage spaces symbolises new beginnings. You unburden yourself of things that no longer belong to you and your life.
Likewise, our bodies feel rejuvenated after thorough cleansing and elimination of waste.
Ancient ayurvedic texts have been recommending seasonal cleanses for thousands of years, along with daily inner and outer cleansing. It all contributes to staying healthy and fit and strengthening our immune system.
In this post, we will reveal how an ayurvedic wellness and cleansing programme can free your body of waste and create space for new energy and joy, right at home. And you will notice how much clarity and insight you gain in the process.
Perhaps you will decide quite intentionally to combine this programme with a mindful spring cleansing of your spirit and mind, you may do some reflecting, let go, realign yourself, make changes, or even launch a new phase in your life!
The Ayurveda perspective on inner cleansing
Poor nutrition, unhealthy daily routines, seasonal changes, environmental toxins, and just the constant stress of daily life all lead to the accumulation of waste and toxins in our body, which inevitably build up if we don’t eliminate them. In Ayurveda, we speak of ama (see notes) accumulating in the body, which is considered the most significant cause of all sorts of imbalances and other problems. Traditional ayurvedic cleansing and releasing techniques can counteract that.
When we apply these techniques regularly, we not only improve our physical, emotional and mental health; we also increase our “radiance”. From the ayurvedic perspective, comprehensive inner cleansing automatically also means our body optimally absorbs our food. The dhatus (tissues) improve and with them our ojas, the ultimate extract of all dhatus in the body, and according to Ayurveda the finest substance of the body that allows us to radiate from within.
Together with Ayurveda expert Dr Saurabh Sharma, we will show you how you can use the invaluable wisdom of Ayurveda to lead a healthy and happy life free from unnecessary burdens.
Ideal timing – In harmony with nature
Ayurveda recommends intensive, targeted steps for inner cleansing at each change of season, so that any ama (see notes) that may have been absorbed is not able to accumulate in our bodies in the first place. Just as every season has its own natural laws and major changes occur as the seasons change – leaves fall in autumn and spring welcomes new buds and flowers – we view spring and autumn as ideal times for detoxing.
In Ayurveda, there are two kinds of inner cleansing:
- clinical therapy (Panchakarma), and
- a cleansing programme that can be done at home.
Panchakarma – Fivefold treatment by experts
The word Panchakarma comes from Sanskrit and means “five actions”. It refers to five procedures that carefully complement each other such as cleansing, herbal enemas, and nasal cleansing therapies, all of which mobilize and then release toxins and, together, ensure deep inner cleansing. This especially intensive form of cleansing must be performed by an experienced Ayurveda therapist, such as at an Ayurveda clinic.
14 Day at-home cleansing programme – Your wellness time
In addition to a Panchakarma treatment, Ayurveda offers numerous cleansing techniques as part of a daily routine that everyone can do at home. When done properly, we can accomplish quite a bit for our inner cleansing without therapeutic assistance – a daily “mini-Panchakarma” so to speak. But you can do even more. Twice a year, treat yourself at home to a two-week Ayurveda intensive programme that involves different treatments and a routine that is in harmony with natural law. After all, nature is the best healer. Give it a try.
Daily routine – How to tune into the rhythm of nature
Are you familiar with the ayurvedic daily routine? We recommend you follow it during your wellness and cleansing programme, and it begins the evening before: Instead of watching an exciting thriller or scrolling through your social media in the evening, turn off your smart phone and go to bed earlier (preferably no later than 10 p.m.) This will allow your body to better regenerate itself and the quality of your sleep will improve. You’ll wake up earlier in the morning without an alarm clock, and getting up will be easier. A warm bath or foot soak in the evening often helps to let go of the day’s stresses as well.
Before going to bed in the evening, you can try one of Ayurveda’s most popular herbal preparations, Triphala (the three fruits: haritaki, amalaki and bibhitaki).
Triphala is nourishing and supports the formation of ojas (see above). According to Ayurveda, ojas promotes longevity, physical strength, an attractive appearance and happiness. Triphala Plus is an excellent rasayana that harmonizes Pitta throughout the entire body. Triphala is popular with many Ayurvedic practitioners for supporting regular bowl movement (see notes).
When you get up in the morning, your entire focus is on cleansing: brushing your teeth and cleansing the tongue will free your body from metabolic residues that accumulate overnight in the mouth, especially on the tongue. Gandusha (oil pulling), drinking warm water, emptying the bladder and bowels, abhyanga: these are all integral components of the ayurvedic morning routine and support our body’s inner cleansing.
Abhyanga – Wellness programme for every day
A special highlight of the ayurvedic morning routine is abhyanga, the ayurvedic self-massage with oil. By gently massaging our body with high-quality ayurvedic herbal oils, we improve circulation and free the body and mind of waste. From an ayurvedic perspective, abhyanga helps maintain good dhatus (body tissues) and imparts strength (bala). Relish this time to yourself, enjoy the fragrance of pure oils and the soothing relaxation during the self-massage. We recommend you watch our explanation-video, so you know exactly how it works and what to be mindful of.
If you are a strong Kapha type or have excess Kapha in your physiology, rather than an oil massage, you might enjoy an Ayurveda dry massage with Garshan gloves made of high-quality raw silk. Tip: Our YouTube webinar #33 shows you how to do it. Our high-quality Maharishi Ayurveda Garshan gloves also include precise instructions for the massage.
A Garshan dry massage improves blood flow, stimulates circulation and strengthens tissues. What’s more, it helps reduce ama as well (see notes).
This is your time
Gentle yoga asanas , balancing breathing exercises (Pranayama) and meditation are additional integral components of an ayurvedic daily routine, and now you can firmly schedule them as part of your cleansing and wellness programme. By doing so you support your body’s ability to eliminate, you reduce any accumulation of ama, and your mind can fully relax, rejuvenate, and find tranquillity.
If you have time, we highly recommend short (brisk) morning walks – even before the oil massage. In general, light exercise during the day is ideal, always in a way that allows you to still breathe well through the nose and not utilise more than 50% of your capacity.
On that topic: In our YouTube webinar #11 Dr Sharma illustrates yogic alternating breathing, a simple pranayama technique. You can start right away.
The right nutrition both strengthens and cleanses
In Ayurveda, powerful digestive fire (agni) not only ensures good utilisation of our food and thus less ama, it also contributes to good elimination. Any increase in Kapha and/or Vata is also reduced, as good digestive fire easily balances them out.
What does that mean for our nutrition? We can strengthen our agni when we:
- cook our food well, not too short and not too long;
- eat the right food at the right time – slowly and with full awareness;
- chew carefully;
- eat with joy;
- ban all electrical devices during mealtime and enjoy our food mindfully;
- drink more warm or hot water and herbal teas;
- eat something light in the evening, such as a traditional khichari or vegetable soup, for instance; and
- frequently use spices such as ginger, cumin, coriander and cinnamon.
Spices like ginger and cumin not only support agni while flavouring your food; you can also prepare a decoction that gives your internal cleansing processes an additional boost.
Agni-strengthening cumin/ginger decoction
A cumin/ginger decoction will help you strengthen your agni and reduce excessive Kapha and ama. In our video (in German only), Ayurveda chef Heide Maria Vendler shows you how you can quite easily make such a cumin/ginger decoction. The ingredients you will need are:
During your cleansing treatment, you should pay particular attention to eating light, choosing fresh and preferably bitter vegetables, meaning those with a bitter or astringent taste, such as chicory, artichokes, or green leafy vegetables because that will spark and stimulate your agni. A powerful agni gives us more energy and reduces fatigue and exhaustion.
Conversely, sweet, sour or salty dishes slow down our agni. Eating sweets, yogurt, or drinking cold beverages during our cleanse creates mand agni and further weakens our agni, which is already less powerful in spring.
Restraint is also advised with regard to heavy fats and carbonated beverages. They burden our bodies unnecessarily and aggravate Vata, which is already increased during the change of seasons, since the Vata dosha is itself stimulated by the change; Vata symbolizes change. In order to feel better, it is advisable during spring and autumn cleanses to consume what reduces Vata.
Khichari is a wonderfully light dish for the evening. It is a simple, easily digested dish prepared with vegetables and a bit of rice and lentils. Our video (in German only) will show you how:
Please write to us when you have a moment and let us know how you enjoyed our two-week wellness and cleansing program. Did you observe any changes?
Wishing you all the best and much renewed energy as you give it a try.
Your Maharishi Ayurveda Team
We want to thank our experts, Dr. Richa Shrivastava and Vaidya Dr. Saurabh Sharma, for their professional support!