Spring has traditionally been the time of year for heavy cleaning and a fresh start. We scrub walls and blinds, donate clothes and attempt a major overhaul of our closets and garages. What may not be as common is deep cleaning of our bodies and minds. Yet nothing could be more important. Removing the gunk that has built up over the wintertime helps prepare our bodies to better handle the warm months ahead. And when we detox physically, we simultaneously benefit from a mental and emotional lift as we let go of the emotions and toxins trapped deep in our fat cells.
Ayurvedically–speaking, here’s how it works. When the food we consume is fully digested, half of it is absorbed and assimilated into our cells, and half of it becomes waste product and is eliminated from our bodies. Sometimes, due to negative influences or just the change of seasons, however, things go awry and only one third of the food is fully digested and one third is eliminated. The remaining food remains in a half-digested state, which the body can’t identify. Since the body doesn’t know what to do with it, it either circulates in the blood stream as toxins or gets stored in fat cells as toxins. The Sanskrit word for this undigested food or toxic residue is Ama.
Ama – a Barrier to Success
Ama acts like a barrier between any sort of healing therapeutics you might consume, including food, herbs, vitamins or medications. No matter how much love you try to send your body, it’s not getting the message. Sure, you might get some small benefit, at least initially, but nowhere near the value you would expect for the bucks you are shelling out.
Likewise, if we work hard and lose weight without removing the toxins from the body, there is a natural tendency for the body to gain the weight right back. Don’t blame your body for this. It’s really trying to help. You see, the body is programmed to create fat in which to store the unwanted toxins and impurities as a protection for the body.
Cellular cleansing removes toxins from the body, creates lean muscle and melts away the excess fat. An added benefit of cleansing the body is better nutritional assimilation of the foods you do take in. When your body is clean, food cravings go away, and you tend to eat less food and healthier food because your body’s nutritional needs are being met. The barrier that ama creates has been removed so the receptors on the intestinal wall can now better interpret and respond to the fully digested food coming its way.
How Do You Remove Ama From the Body?
Let me start with an example. If you keep cheese in the cold and damp refrigerator, it tends to stay hard and heavy. If you heat the cheese over a burner or in the oven, however, it starts to soften, melt and flow. In a similar fashion, ama, when heated, begins to soften and dislodge from the fat where it was stored. In Ayurveda, the process of detoxing involves loosening ama from the tissues using warming spices and oils, massages and steam. Once it is loosened, we move it to the digestive tract, where we can easily eliminate it from the body.
If you are interested in doing a cleanse, there are various degrees of commitment and payoff from which to choose. If you exhibit mild signs of ama, you can simply change to a lighter, warmer diet until the symptoms subside. Adding tongue scraping to your daily routine will help remove the toxic residue from your tongue, and enable you to assess your current state of ama by the thickness of the coating on your tongue. In more serious cases, you might undergo a full-blown traditional Pancha Karma, complete with a specialized kitchari diet and daily customized body treatments in a retreat setting. If you don’t have the time and money to get away for a week or more but you still want to increase the efficacy of your process, annual Spring and Fall detoxes are the best method. Seasonal detoxes can be scheduled for three, five or seven days depending upon the person and their experience with cleansing (I do not recommend a long, unsupervised cleanse for newbies!) Ayurvedically-speaking, it is always best to customize the cleanse for your body type by seeking guidance from an Ayurvedic practitioner.
As part of my commitment to the community, I will be leading an Ayurvedic Spring Cleanse in May. If you would like to participate, here’s what you need to do.
PRE-ORDER your kit NO LATER than April 21. It will be shipped or available for pickup in Pasadena starting May 10.
Plan on joining me for a webinar on Wednesday, May 10 – 4:00 pm PT
Plan on joining me for Facebook Live events on May 12 and May 13
More details on the group support will be provided after April 21st
If you are interested in learning more about the various ways you can cleanse this spring, check out my digital download, Spring Cleaning: Body, Mind & Closet. A free copy of this 20-page guide, including a bonus worksheet, will be included at no extra charge when you purchase the Positively Ayurvedic Spring Detox Kit by April 21st!
The sole purpose of this article is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have an acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or email Karen Callahan at firstname.lastname@example.org.