Detox is an effective way to restore balance in your system if you have recurrent discomfort or chronic pain – this applies to both physical and mental symptoms of imbalance. But it also has a powerful preventative effect that strengthens your immune system and your mental well-being.
Even when you live a healthy life and your dosha is in balance, your system can benefit from cleansing a few times a year – it’s both strengthening and preventive, so you avoid little imbalances being overlooked and having room to grow.
The Ayurvedic approach to health rests on nature’s rhythm and the cycle of the year. Therefore, the transitional seasons of spring and fall are particularly good times for cleansing. In other words, if you live healthily and generally feel good, you’ll still experience more energy and a strengthening of your Agni (inner fire) from a few yearly cleansings.
Maybe you think cleansing isn’t necessary if you live and eat healthily, exercise, etc., in general. Despite being aware of living healthily and in balance, we are also affected by everything that surrounds us and it’s not always something we ourselves can control. We can never completely escape the chemicals and pollution in our environment, in the air we breathe, in what we touch, ingest, etc. Both external physiological influences as well as internal mental pressure accumulate over time in a buildup of waste products in your system no matter how healthy a life you live. The same applies to our senses, which are exposed to different kinds of stimuli every day that we can’t always control – the sounds, smells, moods and temperaments around us. Some people go through periods of light stress, but even the completely normal bustle of everyday life creates an accumulation of waste products over time – what Ayurvedic health philosophy calls Ama.
Ama is an Ayurvedic term for the accumulation of waste products in your system – that is, a generation of imbalance in your system. Signs of elevated Ama may, for example, be a yellow or whitish coating forming on your tongue – including in the morning, when sleep has otherwise carried out its cleansing effect. Other physical signs of too much Ama can be rashes, allergies, recurrent headaches, chronic fatigue, low energy levels, decreased concentration, failing memory, excessive craving for sweet and salty tastes, etc. Too much Ama in the system creates imbalance and will eventually manifest itself either as physical signs or mental discomfort. An excess of Ama can also be expressed as strong odors from the body, e.g., a strong sweat odor or bad breath from the throat. Even mental fluctuations, such as depression or anxiety, can be signs of Ama.
If your system is overloaded with too much Ama, then you will find that it affects your balance and weakens your Agni (inner fire). Agni is a collective Ayurvedic term that covers both our inner strength and power and our digestive fire. Your Agni is a unifying force that binds the physiological to the mental – and it’s where we get our energy, willpower and strength.
Ayurvedic health wisdom deals with Agni on several levels. You have your primary Agni (inner fire) but each of your seven body tissues also has their own Agni. If just one of these tissue areas – plasma, fat, muscle, blood, nerves, etc. – is weakened or blocked, it will affect your entire system and weaken your primary Agni. As Agni covers precisely the physiological and mental inner fire, a weakened Agni will also have consequences for both your physical and mental health. This is also where Ayurveda differs significantly from our Western understanding, which distinguishes much more sharply between the two parts of a human being.
The opposite to Ama is Ojas. It represents our inner immune system and is equal to vigor and joy and strong and healthy inner vital fluids. Ojas also have a mental component based on a positive outlook on life, where you always strive to see the good. Ayurveda operates with a balance between Ama and Ojas, where they are each other’s counterweight – if you have a lot of Ama, then you will be low on Ojas and vice versa. Therefore, it’s important to strengthen your Ojas and you do this by reducing Ama through cleansing.
One of the great benefits of an Ayurvedic detox is that it can be done at whatever level suits both you and where you are right now. It could be a 5-7 day mono-diet, which you control and adapt to your everyday life, or you can go a level deeper and incorporate the entire Ayurvedic lifestyle into the process, thereby working more in-depth with your cleansing.
1. Detoxing on your own
If you’re in a situation where a smaller detox course, that you control yourself, is best, then you can easily do an Ayurvedic cleansing as a simple diet over 5-7 days. You do this by removing processed foods, various types of stimuli and animal products from your diet and replacing them with fresh and pure ingredients, such as vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, etc.
2. Guided detox
For those of you who would like to delve a little more deeply with your detox and take in more of the Ayurvedic lifestyle, we recommend that you participate in a guided course where several aspects of Ayurvedic wisdom come into play. As a participant on the online basic Ayurveda course, Foundation for Health, you gain access to a detox module that supports you more concretely through the detox course with specific recipes and procedures, as well as guided exercises, live sessions and much more. Here, you will also be accompanied by others, and you will get a more in-depth introduction to Ayurvedic health philosophy through six main modules, where you learn to live more healthily and naturally in harmony with yourself and your surroundings.