I just returned from a five day yoga intensive with Donna Farhi. We explored the fluid systems of the body and how their movement qualities can be embodied in asana practice. During the workshop Donna recommended a few Ayurvedic cleansing practices as morning rituals to start the day squeaky clean!
1. Jihwa Prakshalana (Tongue scraping)
Has been ingrained in my oral hygiene routine since I was young, it is very common in indian households. After brushing teeth, take a flat curved metal scraper to remove the digestive byproducts that are deposited on your tongue while you sleep. This prevents them from being reabsorbed back into your body and keeps your breath nice and fresh!
2. Hold that coffee. Try this cleansing drink
Try this simple cleansing drink on an empty stomach that helps reset digestion.
- 1 tsp grated ginger – to stoke the digestive fire (Agni)
- 1/4 tsp fennel powder. It is cooling with a sweet aftertaste. Used as a digestive tonic. You can buy this in indian grocery stores or grind fennel seeds in a coffee grinder.
- 2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice. Naturally cleanses oral cavity.
- Pour over one cup of hot water
- Wait until the drink has cooled to touch comfortable temperature. Then add 1tsp honey. According to Ayurveda, honey added to hot water becomes toxic to the body.
3. Abhyanga (Sesame oil self massage)
Sesame oil is the king of oils in Ayurveda. Self massage helps the removal of toxins so they can be flushed out as waste. Indirectly warm the oil by running hot water over the bottle. Apply to joints and tissues by self massaging in circular motions and long strokes. Let the oil sit for 30 minutes before washing it off. Pay special attention to ankles, knees, hips, elbows, wrists, neck.
4) Neti pot
This one is for the more adventurous of you and Yogi’s have been doing it for centuries. It thins mucus to help flush it out of the nasal passages. Mix around half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of lukewarm water. Preferably use sterile boiled water that has cooled. A neti pot is like a little watering can with a spout, you tilt your head over at a 45 degree angle and let the saline solution run down your top nasal cavity into and out the other nostril. Just like asana, practice both sides!
5) Nasya (Nasal cleansing with warm sesame oil)
If you have a dry constitution, Nasya is an Ayurvedic nasal cleansing technique used in Panchakarma (5 step cleanse). Lay down with a pillow under your thoracic spine and place a few drops of warm sesame oil inside your nose. Gently massage the sinus cavities and around the eyes. Alternatively place some oil on your little finger and massage at a comfortable depth inside your nose. The oil helps clear mucous out of the sinuses and you can pinch and release your nostrils rapidly while inhaling. Sit up and do not swallow the solution and spit out through your mouth.
How do you start your day? What are your favourite cleansing practices?
Taste by Takao Umehara from thenounproject.com collection
Tea by Jerry Wang from thenounproject.com collection
Olive Oil by Adrian P. from thenounproject.com collection
Nose by Rachel Healey from thenounproject.com collection
Teapot by José Sanmartín González from thenounproject.com collection
Runny nose by Clara Joy from thenounproject.com collection