Detox and Cleansing—Anytime!

Ancient Ayurvedic practices would have us detoxifying to mitigate doshic imbalances at every seasonal change. In the Indian subcontinent, this can amount to six times per year! For most of us, it comes out to four times or less. Still, whenever there is a marked seasonal change in temperature and humidity, our doshic influences can go out of balance causing us to get sick, feel fatigued or lethargic, relapse in some chronic conditions, and can even affect our mental function and emotional balance. By performing some simple cleansing techniques that are specific for your dosha, you can pacify the aggravations and head discomfort off at the pass. Herbally, we may use similar products for each cleanse, the goals being to improve the function in the organs of detoxification. But each dosha benefits from a different regimen of foods and drink for pacification of doshic excess. Proper foods also vary by season, especially for those who are mixed types with two doshas competing for dominance in the constitution.

In the spring, we often enter a Kaphic season, punctuated by excess rain (April showers), dampness, and temperatures that are still somewhat cool. In windy areas, the Vata component may still be present, driving that dosha to distraction. Toward the latter part of the season, Pitta starts to dominate with an increase in temperatures to which our bodies are unaccustomed. Much of what topples us, as we come running out of our houses to joyfully embrace Spring, is the variability in humidity and temperature that can happen in the course of a Spring day. We are often caught unawares and without appropriate attire for the caprice of the Spring moment. You went out in shorts, but forgot your umbrella? You put on a sweater and fleece pants this morning for a walk, and now you are sweating and missing your sunscreen? You could not wait to don that breezy summer dress with sandals, and now the wind is whipping it around your freezing body with abandon?

The change from Summer to Fall, however, is much different. Here we seek to ameliorate the toxins built up from excess heat in the body: Pitta ama. The heat can also dry out all necessary Kaphic moisture in the body, leaving some people Vata imbalanced as well and rather parched. After the effects of the temperatures and the excesses of certain types of food and activity, the doshas must be rebalanced. We also seek to “clean house” and prepare the body to receive storage foods for the long winter. Nature provides us with specific types of foods of which we should partake at this time to be in harmony with natural rhythms. It is still a cleanse, but the goal will be somewhat different than in the Spring.

Ramy Mam