In Ayurveda, a cleanse or detox refers to a period of time in which you adjust your diet and lifestyle to promote optimal digestion. This is mostly accomplished by committing to eating a monodiet of kitchari (basmati rice and yellow mung dal) for the duration of your cleanse and eliminating hard-to-digest foods and experiences from your diet and surroundings.
According to Ayurveda, the body digests not only food but also experiences, emotions, and thoughts. Agni (or digestive fire) acts as the body’s internal flame, driving all digestion and transformation and converting the positive things that enter the body into nourishment.
When ama (natural toxins) enter the body, digestion becomes bogged down—not unlike the way wet kindling can dampen a campfire. For example, a greasy meal eaten six months ago or an unresolved argument can linger in the system and create imbalances.
An Ayurvedic cleanse works by “resetting” agni by giving it a break from digesting complicated substances. Kitchari, Ayurveda’s meal of choice for cleansing, is incredibly easy on the digestive system, and its combination of rice and dal helps form a complete protein that can keep you nourished and sustained for the duration of your cleanse.
Some of the benefits of cleansing include:
Unlike panchakarma, a traditional cleanse program completed under the guidance of a practitioner, the cleanses you’ll find detailed in these blog articles can be done safely from the comfort of your own home.
When it comes to planning your cleanse, the options may feel overwhelming. Shorter cleanses can range from a simple one-day digestive reset to a three-day cleanse with kitchari, while longer cleanses can last up to 21 days.
Generally, the longer the cleanse, the more benefit you will receive from it. Along with this, the longer the cleanse, the more delicate your body and your digestion will be, so you will only want to commit to a longer cleanse if you can give yourself ample time to ease back into your normal lifestyle and diet gently.
While Ayurvedic cleansing is very gentle overall, it is best not to cleanse if you are ill, injured, debilitated, menstruating, pregnant, or breastfeeding.
For those who can cleanse, spring and fall are the ideal times of year to do it according to Ayurveda, though cleansing the summer and winter can be supportive times as well.
These articles are designed to help you choose the length of time that best works for you and your lifestyle, how to customize your kitchari, how to plan meals throughout your cleanse, mistakes to avoid, and how to follow through with your intentions.
We’ll also explore how to customize your cleanse for the spring or fall seasons, supportive herbs (like Total Body Cleanse) that you can take to help support the process, and much more.