This week (starting Tuesday) I’m doing a very ancient form of cleansing that is called Panchakrma. It is often used in Ayurvedic healing which deals with the measures of healthful living during the entire life span and it’s various phases. These phases are linked to our doyshas (very interesting if you wanted to do more research!).
Panchakrma is the refined practice of cleansing and detoxifying the body. Many “yogis” practice this cleanse every fall to prevent disease or address a specific health problem. The primary goal is to eliminate “ama” which is the undigested food and/or toxins from the body that will eventually aggravate the physiological inner workings and blocks the anatomical structures of the body. It is thought that the build up of the this ama will lead to disease. The elimination of ama leads to healing and rejuvenation at both a physical and emotional level.
Why the Fall? The organizers of this cleanse say that this is the time of year when things start drying out and exfoliating (leaves falling off trees). Supposedly, that makes it the perfect time to cleanse. Okay, I will somewhat agree with that.
I decided to do this cleanse this month because I’m not marathon or triathlon training right now, and quite personally I feel like I need to be “cleaned out.” I have made it no secret on this blog that I have constipation issues. I thought that I got it all fixed when I performed an elimination diet on myself and figured out that I had a gluten intolerance. Well, although I’ve cut out the gluten, the “irregularity” is coming back. Maybe it is stress? I have no clue. Right now, I’m willing to try anything to correct it.
I started going to a yoga studio a couple of weeks ago, and my yoga studio is promoting this cleanse. It is put on by a couple who have traveled all over the world including a few years learning about Ayurveda in India.
Basically, the group doing the cleanse meet-up 4 times this week. We had our first intro meeting this Sunday night. I contemplated skipping out on this meeting because I felt like crap still from my strep throat, but considering I already paid for it (hey, I’m cheap), I went. We went over the background to Ayurvedic healing, everything the cleanse would entail, then had a short cooking demonstration followed by some eating. It was really interesting and intense.
We were given all of these culinary herbs to help with the cleanse.
The cleanse officially started on Tuesday and goes through Saturday.
Tuesday-Friday (The Oleation)
Internal Oleation: This consists of “lubricating” the insides taking either ghee (clarified butter) or flax seed oil on an empty stomach in the morning. This increases from 2T to 8-10T from Tuesday to Friday. I’m not really looking forward to Friday!
External Oleation: Massaging warm sesame oil into skin from head to toe every morning. This is also thought to stimulate the release of toxins from the body.
Mono-Diet: This is NOT a starvation cleanse this week! I will be eating kitchardi (mung beans, brown rice, a multitude of spices) with balancing tea or homemade ginger tea. This gives the body a break from having to digest different items. I’m not quite sure how this is supposed to be good for me, but it is only for a few days, and I’m able to add veggies to the top and eat as much as I want so that makes me happy. I don’t think I could deal with a fast that lasts for more than one day.
Herbs: Oh there are tons of herbs to be taken before each meal.
I can also eat figs, dates, or raisins in between meals if I get hungry. I have been utilizing this!!
We have our second group meeting for meditation and questions about the cleanse on Thursday.
This is what I had for lunch today. I mixed some pumpkin into the kitchardi and topped with avocado.
I still have the external massage, but instead of the morning flax seed oil and kitchardi, I take 4-6 T of castor oil in warm water. I’ve never taken castor oil, and this freaks me out just a little. I heard that it will clean you out! I need it, trust me, but I don’t know how intense it will be!
We have a one hour meditation for our 3rd group meet-up on Saturday, but many people don’t make it to that because they are on the toilet the entire day. I’m hoping that won’t be the case for me, but you never know.
Then, after fasting all day, I am to finish will a rice gruel. Sounds great, right? haha. Not really. I’m always willing to try new things, and we will see how refreshed I feel next week b/c of this!
The 4th meeting will be on Sunday to close out the cleanse, answer questions, etc.
Ayurveda is so much more than I have explained here. Research it more if you have time!
Keep in mind that I am not a dietitian, and I’m simply sharing with you my experiences since this is MY blog. Do your own research to find out whether this is good for you or not. I think it is sad that I have to add this “disclaimer,” but that is life.
Have you ever tried something like this? Any advice on castor oil? I’ve never taken it before, and I’m quite frightened of the results!