Cleansing and fasting with Ayurveda

It is common in Ayurveda to cleanse the body with the main focus to rid the body of Ama (toxins) and restore balance and harmony. There are many ways to do this. The first step though is to find out what your natural body constitution is and what your current constitution is. This can be done by having a consultation with an Ayurvedic consultant who will ask you a series of questions followed by performing pulse and tongue diagnosis. A treatment plan will be recommended using diet, yoga, massage, herbs and suggested lifestyle changes to start the process to restore balance to the body. For some this can be challenging as change is hard especially with the fast spaced environment we live in today. Routine goes out the window as life is consumed by work or rushing the children to school and we tend to form bad habits with our eating, favouring quicker meals that are processed and eating at the wrong times of the day. We neglect to take time out for ourselves in order to relax and enjoy life.

Ayurveda talks about fasting and cleansing to reset the body and this can be done in many ways. Home detox through food begins by eating fresh food that is warm and rich in enzymes. The best time to have the largest meal of the day is when the sun is at its highest between 12pm and 2pm as the body needs heat to aid digestion. Avoid foods that form excess acidity and sip warm herbal teas throughout the day, avoiding ice cold drinks that can dull the digestive fire. Avoid faulty food combinations which I have previously discussed in the diet blog and follow a fasting routine regularly.

Fasting helps the digestive firm become strong and gets rid of ama. When the body is free of ama the tongue is clear, the urine is light in colour and sweat is odourless. You will feel physically stronger and rejuvenated. Fasting helps cleanse the blood, fights colds and flu, helps stabilise weight or aids weight loss. It also helps prevent acute and chronic illnesses or conditions. It strengthens the endocrine and hormonal system. Lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. It improves bowel movement, helps with sleep, addictions, mental exhaustion and generally increases mental clarity. Fasting will help you to over come stress and improve self esteem.

There are many ways to fast and these include the following:

  • Daily fasting where food is avoided after sunset.

  • Weekly fasting where yo fast for one day of the week or fast for one week.

  • Fortnightly fasting which is linked to the lunar cycle, when one fasts on the new/ full moon.

  • Seasonal fasting when you fast at the junctions in between seasons, typically between Spring and Summer then Autumn and Winter. This helps rejuvenate the weak digestive fire and prepare it for the seasonal foods favoured at that time of year. If you are interested in joining Danu's Seasonal Cleanses please contact us at

A popular Ayurvedic cleanse known as Pachakarma is typically performed every two years, lead by a professional Ayurvedic consultant and practitioner. It translates to "Five Actions", the main procedure Pradhanakarma helps eliminate excess dosha build up and ama. The five phases are Vamana (therapeutic vomiting), Vireaana (purgation), Bastis (enemas), Nasya (intranasal therapy and Raktamoshana (blood letting). Now these five phases may sound extreme and in fact blood letting is no longer allowed in the UK. It has become very popular to travel outside the UK to experience Pachakarma and I recommend doing a lot of research if you wish to experience the traditional cleanse. However you will find milder versions of this cleanse in the UK and these are also very beneficial. This cleanse will last at least two weeks but classically can last up to three months. The main aim is to externally and internally oil the whole body through the food and drinks consumed, daily massages, mild purgation and a mix of oil enemas and decoctions enemas. This cleanse is NOT recommended for under 16s, the elderly, pregnancy or ladies who are menstruating.

The best cleansing herbs are ginger and triphala known for their digestive cleansing. Ginger benefits anyone with cold and nervous vata disorders. It is warming and drying. It has a pungent taste and helps stimulate the secretion of digestive enzymes, aiding in the elimination of toxins. Triphala is a blend of haritaki, bibhitaki and amla and is high in antioxidants. It is great for sluggish bowels, constipation, bloating, flatulence and indigestion.

For more information of which fasting is best for you or what changes you can make to promote an healthier life style for you please do contact us.

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