Spring clean your body and mind

You can strengthen and detoxify your body in three simple ways:

Hatha yoga practice, healthy dietary changes, and detoxifying herbs. Let’s start with exercise. Ideally, you should move your body every day. But I recommend exercising at least five to six times a week for 30 minutes. Choose an activity you enjoy, such as swimming, biking or dancing-anything that gets your heart pumping. Also, do some Hatha yoga practices that strengthen your solar plexus and digestive fire. Eat fresh nourishing foods, including whole grains, fruits, beans and cooked vegetables (raw vegetables are harder to digest) prepared with small amounts of healthy oils such as olive oil, butter, and ghee (clarified butter). To stoke your digestive fire, sip ginger tea with your meals and spice your food with warm pungent herbs such as ginger, garlic, cinnamon, clove, basil, oregano, pepper and chillies.

Glutinous grains (like corn and wheat), meat, dairy products, and oily food require a strong digestive fire. Ama has qualities that are similar to cream cheese-it’s heavy, thick, and sticky. It accumulates in the weak areas of your body, which are different for each individual. To prevent this reduce (or completely avoid) wheat and dairy products for two to three weeks, avoid oily or deep-fried food, and eat lighter grains like quinoa and millet instead. Then watch for a week or two to see how you feel.

The last tip is to cleanse your bowels. If your bowels don’t move regularly, or if you eat a lot of poor-quality food, the resulting ama can stick to the side of your colon. This impedes the absorption of nutrients as well as the removal of wastes. This can cause some uncomfortable side effects such as headaches, fatigue, and skin eruptions like acne, hives and rashes.

To ensure that your bowels move on a daily basis, add more fibre and water to your diet. I recommend the herb psyllium, a soluble fibre that acts like a little scouring brush. It helps move the ama that’s stuck to the bowel walls. An ayurvedic blend of herbs called triphala is also helpful. Anyone can take these herbs. For your morning dose of psyllium, use a  scant teaspoon (even if the directions on the bottle tell you to take more). Mix it with at least two cups of water or juice and drink it immediately. The psyllium husk is a seed that absorbs about 100 times its weight in water. That’s why it’s important to drink a lot of water with it; otherwise the fiber will dry you out-especially if you’re prone to constipation. (Note: Don’t take medication or vitamins at the same time that you take your psyllium. They will not be absorbed once surrounded by fibre).

For your evening dose of herbs, steep one teaspoon of loose triphala in a cup of boiling water and let it sit for at least six to eight hours. To time this properly, prepare your evening dose midday, or even before you leave the house in the morning. Drink the tea at bedtime on an empty stomach, leaving the grinds at the bottom of the cup. 

If you have a lot of ama in your system, you may experience detox reactions from triphala, such as a rash, headache, or several bowel movements. If so, cut your dose in half. But don’t worry. Detox reactions are not a bad sign; you are helping your body get rid of accumulated ama. It’s good to let that happen in a gentle, gradual way. 


By lying down in the correct shavasana (see pic) you relax completely and this helps in detoxification. 


By ensuring that your nervous system is in rest-and-digest mode before you eat, you can help your body digest the foods you eat (and avoid the negative side effects of poor digestion such as bloating, acid reflux and indigestion). The easiest way to do this is to breathe diaphragmatically. So, just before you eat, take three to four deep diaphragmatic breaths-then enjoy!

To stoke your digestive fire, sip ginger tea with your meals and spice your food with warm pungent herbs such as ginger, garlic, cinnamon, clove, basil, oregano, pepper and chillies.

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