Are you ready?!
The advice for the first week may be unexpected and it may seem overly simple, but as we all know and often experience…we have overcomplicated EVERYTHING in our lives! This stresses all of the systems in our body, which accumulates and leads to dis-ease. To establish balance (the true state of health) Ayurveda strongly recommends simplifying, slowing down, paying attention and settling back into the natural rhythms of nature. We are so used to “hitting the ground running” as soon as our eyes open and continue to perpetuate that high-stress approach throughout the day. So the intention for the first week of this cleanse is to let go of extraneous habits that drain our energy and add stress, and to engage in simple self-care practices that foster proper digestion, assimilation and elimination. These practices will hopefully become an integral part of your daily routines for years to come!
Here is a brief overview of each practice:
Ayurveda describes five elements: ether, air, fire, water, and earth. These elements manifest different qualities such as mobility, density, heat, and dryness and they exist in various ratios in all of nature…our bodies, minds, plants, time of day, seasons, etc. There’s a rhythm to when and how they manifest, a pattern. When we study the qualities, ratios and patterns that are most prominent in our constitutions and how our environment impacts these, we better understand how to maintain balance/health despite constant fluctuations in our external circumstances.
We rush and multi-task, often “hitting the ground running” as soon as our eyes open. So rather than rushing out of bed, take 3-5 minutes to scan your body, tune into your breath and set an intention for your day, such as “I will be more present” and perhaps being more specific than that by qualifying that intention: “I will be more present by taking five minutes every hour to breathe deeply”…this greatly reduces oxidative stress!
Tongue Scraping: The color, texture, and amount of “stuff” (bacteria, etc) that you scrape from your tongue can tell you a LOT about the state of your health. For instance, if you have a large quantity of scrapings that are thick and white in color, it indicates an excess amount of earth and water which is related to congestion and mucus. Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine frequently use tongue condition as a diagnostic tool. So repeatedly scrape your tongue from back to front until there is no or very minimal scrapings. Mentally note the color of scrapings and tongue, texture of tongue (is it dry or cracked?)…over time this will translate into insight regarding your state of health.
Lemon water: Lemon water is acidic in nature but has a pH balancing effect on the internal body. It is also anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory AND stimulates proper digestion and elimination which is good for all body types. Drink 8 oz. of room temperature water (or if time management permits, boil the water first, add the lemon and then drink it…the pure H20 molecules hydrate the body more efficiently) with the juice from half of a lemon. Yes, if you only have limes use those, the pH is slightly different but it’s almost as effective. No, avoid using bottled lemon extract, it is not as effective.
Drink 1 tsp of coconut oil. This helps bring toxins into the digestive tract for elimination. This is a very important part of the 21-day cleanse, as the dosage will increase next week.
Neti Pot: Use distilled water or boiled water (once it’s room temperature), add 2 tsp of sea salt, and rinse your nasal passages with a neti pot. Tip your head to the side and slightly forward so that the water stays in the sinus cavity and does not run into the throat.
Stimulate metabolism and increase alertness with at least TEN minutes of the following: exercise, yoga asana, pranayama, or meditation. Ten minutes of physical activity in the morning boosts your metabolism for the entire day; if you are practicing breathing or meditation instead, it helps reinforce mindfulness as you move into the rest of your day.
Eat a big enough breakfast to sustain you until lunch, without snacking.
Eat your biggest meal of the day between 12 and 5pm…do your best!
Avoid eating after sunset and at least two hours before bed.
Avoid exposure to TV and electronics that emit ambient light at least one hour before bed…this is a good time to apply oil to your skin (long strokes from limbs towards heart and clockwise circular motions over joints and abdomen), shower, reflect upon your day and intention for 5-10 minutes, then prepare for bed.
Take Triphala supplement before bed (follow dosage on bottle.)
Go to bed by 10pm…I’ll provide more information on our natural sleep wake cycles in the next couple of days.
The checklist is a valuable visual tool, tape it to a well-trafficked area of your home and check off each “to do” as you go. Don’t beat yourself up when reality doesn’t reflect expectations. Try to follow along with at least 75% accuracy. Email if you have questions: email@example.com and look for daily information regarding the cleanse posted to the blog and to Facebook.
|Self-Care||Week 1||Week 2||Week 3|
|Wake at or before 6am|
|Set intention before getting out of bed|
|Drink 8oz Lemon Water|
|Drink 1 tsp coconut oil|
|5-10 minutes of asana, pranayama, or meditation|
|Quality of Energy throughout day:
Class or home practice: 60-90 minutes
|Daily oil application to skin OR dry brush/loofah for circulation|
|Take Triphala before bed.
(follow recommended dosage)
|5 minutes reflection before bed|
3 part breath
|Go to bed no later than 10pm|