Even if you lead a healthy lifestyle, toxins or ama can accumulate in your body over time. This can lead to a dosha imbalances. An Ayurveda home detox is a gentle and effective way to correct imbalances, remove ama, and improve your overall health. Enjoy our detailed guide to daily Ayurvedic cleansing at home.
Explore more on the Saumya Blog, selected top Ayurveda blogs and websites to watch.
9 Ayurveda Home Detox Tools
Detoxing is an effective way to rid your body of ama from food, stress, and other factors. When you cleanse the body and mind, you'll find that you feel lighter and refreshed. You'll have more energy, an improved sense of vitality, and you'll enjoy life with a sense of calm.
"When we use daily detox tools, we are continually and gently cleansing every day. It's how we live each day that has the greatest impact on our lives." -Veena, Saumya Ayurveda
1. Tongue Cleaning
What is Tongue Scraping? Here’s everything you need to know about Ayurvedic tongue scraping and its benefits. According to the National Institute of Health, "Tongue scraping and brushing have been practiced for hundreds of years but are still little appreciated or used by the public."
As always with our Ayurvedic practices, our focus, intentions, and habits center around a set of tried-and-true tools that when combined, help us to reduce ama (toxins) and improve our overall wellbeing.
When we use tongue scraping as part of a comprehensive, yet manageable Ayurveda plan, it will benefit all who consistently uses tongue scraping.
Just as we sweep and clean the entryway of our home, we take good care of ourselves by cleaning our tongue daily. Removing ama from the tongue offers a multitude of benefits for our overall health.
What's that white coating on my tongue?
If your tongue has a thick white coating on it, this is an indication of ama (toxins) in your body. A coating is an indicator that ama, or toxins are present.
"Yes, we want to clean the coating off the tongue and that supports good oral health, but more important is to recognize that ama on the tongue is showing us that ama is in the body. Think of it this way--the tongue coating is the full trash bag that you take out to the bin every day, but it is not the end of the job. We need an effective, manageable plan to remove ama from the entire body and mind." - Veena
Cleaning your tongue every morning with a tongue scraper removes ama on the tongue and stimulates healthy digestion and elimination. (see the Ayurveda organ tongue map below.) Also start your morning with a glass of hot water to help your body flush the toxins from your digestive system.
In Ayurveda, we use tongue scraping to perform an inner and outer cleansing or detox every morning. Tongue scrapinginvolves gently gliding a stainless steel or copper tongue scraper from the back of the tongue forward to remove toxins. Tongue scraping is a simple and effective way of detoxing every day.
Tongue Scraping Benefits - What is It Good For?
Tongue scraping supports our inner wellbeing and overall health. When you begin daily tongue scraping, you’ll see the benefits right away. When you look in the mirror upon rising, stick out your tongue, you'll likely see a coating on it. Using a tongue scraper, you will slowly begin to remove that coating of ama. That's pretty rewarding in and of itself. How else will you benefit?
There is a map on the tongue that corresponds to organs such as the lungs, the heart, stomach, liver, spleen, GI tract, pancreas, etc. Using a tongue scraper, as part of an Ayurvedic morning routine, gently removes ama, or toxins, from the tongue while simultaneously massaging the internal organs.
Tongue scraping directly supports overall health and healthy digestion, which begins in the mouth.
Keep in mind that ama on the tongue is not only indicating toxins in the oral cavity, it is also showing ama in various parts of the body and mind. Tongue scraping removes ama on the tongue and it helps remove ama from the whole you.
Explore More with our popular article: What Your Tongue Says About Your Health (According to Ayurvedic Wisdom)
2. Oil Pulling
What is Oil Pulling? Here’s everything you need to know about Ayurvedic oil pulling treatment and its benefits. Clean your mouth, freshen your sinuses, clear your head, and your blood. Oral hygiene is an important part of your overall health.
How To Do Ayurvedic Oil Pulling and Its Many Health Benefits
According to a New York Times article, "Gum disease has been associated with a range of health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, dementia and more...If large amounts of bacteria from the mouth are inhaled and settle in the lungs, that can result in bacterial aspiration pneumonia, said Dr. Frank Scannapieco, a professor of oral biology at the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine."
Did you know that "About 47 percent of people aged 30 years and older in the United States have some form of periodontal disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention." That's an alarming number.
Here are two easy Ayurveda lifestyle tools you can use to begin to reduce oral bacteria, moisten the gum tissue, and freshen the breath all supporting overall health.
Ayurvedic Oil Pulling: So Much More Than an Oral Treatment
Oil pulling is a traditional Ayurvedic treatment which has existed for more than 5,000 years. According to the National Institute of Health, oil pulling "...is believed to cure more than thirty systemic diseases when practiced regularly and as directed. Due to occurrence of side effects to modern medicines and oral hygiene products, people are increasingly attracted towards complementary and traditional practices. Oil pulling in addition to offering several oral health benefits has also beneficial effects on overall health."
In the Charak Samhita and Sushruta Samhita, two ancient traditional sacred texts of Ayurveda, two oil pulling treatments are discussed.
1. Kavala Graha: A comfortable amount of oil is placed in the mouth and the oil is swished and pulled briskly moving it throughout the oral cavity and between the teeth and spitting it out quickly.
2. Kavala Gandoosha: In this treatment, the mouth cavity is filled with oil, no gargling is possible because there is no room. Hold the oil or medicated water in the mouth. It is to be held in the mouth until there is salivation, tears from the eyes or discharge from the nostrils.
Today, when people think about oil pulling, it is usually Kavala Graha.
Benefits of Ayurvedic Oil Pulling
1. Reduces bacteria in the oral cavity.
According the National Institute of Health, "The oral cavity has the second largest and diverse microbiota after the gut harboring over 700 species of bacteria."
"...study observed 20% reduction in bacterial count upon 40 days of oil pulling using sesame oil. Also, they observed reductions in the severity of dental caries. Sesame oil was observed to possess moderate antimicrobial activity against S. mutans and L. acidophilus. They mentioned that toxins and bacteria from the body may be removed through the tongue and get trapped in oil and thrown out from the body." (NIH.)
This is the reason, in Ayurveda, tongue scraping is also part of the morning routine. To learn about how Each Dosha Benefits from Using an Ayurvedic Tongue Scraper, click here.
2. Freshens breath.
No one likes morning breath to taste it or to smell it. Oil pulling freshens the mouth. Halitosis is a by-product of bacteria so addressing the bacterial load at the root leads to fresher breath.
3. Supports healthy teeth and gums.
A happy oral microbiome supports healthy teeth and gums. Oil pulling reduces the number of bacteria in the mouth. Also, in part, come recession is due to drying of the tissues, so giving gum tissue a daily oil massage serves to moisten the tissue.
4. Supports healthy sinuses.
The mouth and sinus tissues are neighbors. Every wake up clearing your throat in the morning? The sinuses produce more than a liter of mucus per day and we're swallowing it day and night. Excess dosha can take up residence in the sinuses (think stuffed, inflamed, or dry sinuses) and the mind. From an Ayurvedic perspective, oil pulling reduces excess vata, pitta, and kapha dosha.
Explore More About Ayurveda and Sinuses:
5. Daily Detoxification of the Inner Organs and the Tongue.
According to Ayurveda, the tongue is a powerful and primary diagnostic tool in determining one's state of health. The tongue is viewed as connected to the inner organs such as kidneys, hearts, lungs, intestines, etc. Looking at the corresponding organ locations on the tongue provides specific details. For example, a discoloration or change in texture on the tongue, may indicate a disorder in that corresponding organ.
Oil pulling, combined with Ayurvedic tongue scraping, gently stimulates the inner organs and is said to provide a gentle cleansing action.
6. Supportive of Overall Health and Disease Prevention | Anti-Inflammatory
Oral health is connected to our overall health. According to Harvard Medical School, "The bacteria that infect the gums and cause gingivitis and periodontitis also travel to blood vessels elsewhere in the body where they cause blood vessel inflammation and damage; tiny blood clots, heart attack and stroke may follow."
By reducing inflammation in the gums, it may reduce inflammation throughout the body. (See #7)
7. Reduces Microbial Load and Supports Healthy Sinuses
At first oil pulling seems to be all about oral health, it’s that and so much more. While oil pulling removes ama (toxins) helping to keep ama from entering the body’s inner ocean (rasa and rakta, think circulation), and spreading throughout the body.
Sinus infections, for example, are the result of microorganisms building up in the sinuses. According to Ayurveda, oil pulling helps reduce the microbial load and is a remedy for sinus problems.
Oil pulling may also help alleviate allergy symptoms.
8. Alleviates excess doshas in the head, neck, and mind.
According to Ayurveda, oil pulling reduces excess doshas in the head, neck and mind. If Vata is high in the mind (anxiety, excess thinking for example), it may soothe and promote calmness. If Pitta is high (overly intense, irritable...), oil pulling may cool off a hot head. Tight shoulders, headaches, stress, and muscle tension-oil pulling may put you at ease.
Most of us experience shoulder and neck tension from time spent on computers. Try oil pulling and nasya and see if tension begins to melt away.
Which Ayurveda Oil to Use for Oil Pulling?
1. Sesame oil: Known as the “King of Oil” because it is nutrient rich. Traditionally sesame oil is used for oil pulling.
2. Coconut oil: Popular due to the oil’s antimicrobial actions.
3. Our Swishing Oil: Supportive of dental health. It’s refreshing and pleasing. Our Swooshing Oil is made with *Sesame Oil, Olive Oil, *Peppermint, Frankincense, *Myrrh. Ahhh..
How To Do Ayurvedic Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic treatment that alleviates excess doshas in the head and mind. It helps cleanse oral ama - or toxins - to ease congestion and support healthy sinuses.
An Ayurvedic practitioner can assess your prakruti (constitution) and vikruti (nature) to determine which type of oil is optimal for your doshic balance. After this, the process is simple:
Perform oil pulling in the morning as part of your morning routine (dinacharya). Explore: Ayurvedic Morning Routine | 6 Rituals for a Calm and Centered Day.
Place one tablespoon of oil in your mouth (usually coconut or sesame oil).
Swish the oil through your teeth and gums for 15-20 minutes.
Spit the oil in the trash or toilet when you’re finished. Don’t swallow it or spit it in the sink.
Explore our popular related articles: Ayurveda Tongue Diagnosis: What Your Tongue Is Saying About Your Health Ayurvedic Tongue Scraping | Why and How?
3. Dry Brushing
Detoxify with Garshana, Ayurvedic dry brushing. What is Ayurveda dry brushing or garshana? Here’s everything you need to know about Ayurvedic dry brushing treatment – and how it can improve your skin, circulation, move lymph, promote healthy weight, and more. This gently exfoliating Ayurveda treatment not only supports healthy skin, but a healthy you.
What it is the history of Ayurvedic dry brushing?
Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old spiritual tradition about the wisdom of life. In Sanskrit, Ayu means life, Veda, means knowledge; the meaning of Ayurveda is to know about the nature of life itself.
Do to Ayurveda’s growing popularity, most people are familiar with the holistic health care system that is part of the vast Ayurveda path.
Dry brushing, known as garshana, is a traditional Ayurvedic treatment one can do at home. Dry brushing promotes movement of lymph, which is a passive system. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the lymphatic system is part of the immune system responsible for fluid balance, defending the body against infection, and removing cellular waste.
Skin being our largest organ of digestion, it is also the largest detoxifying organ we have. This is how garshana, dry brushing, is such an important Ayurvedic treatment.
From an Ayurvedic view, lymph is rasa dhatu. Rasa refers to the body’s inner ocean and means sap or juice. (Plasma, aspects of blood, lymph and interstitial fluids (fluids around the cells).
Rasa directly relates to menstrual fluids and breast milk, and having a healthy female system is important mentally and physically. For all people, when rasa is happy, the other tissue (dhatu) layers are happy. Dry brushing and moving lymph, supports the health of the whole person.
Dry brushing is a key Ayurveda tool for detoxifying and optimizing wellbeing.
Explore More: Ayurveda Dry Brushing | How to Detoxify with Garshana
See us in: Everyday Health's What Is Dry Brushing? A Beginner's Guide to Ayurvedic Skin Massage and Exfoliation
Benefits of Ayurvedic Dry Brushing | Garshana
1. Promotes lymph flow/drainage
2. Gently supports detoxification
3. Improves healthy circulation and blood flow
4. May reduce the appearance of accumulated cellulite
5. Supports weight management
6. Improves skin texture
7. Exfoliates rough, dry skin
8. Helps to unclog pores improving the body’s ability to sweat and eliminate toxins
10. Supports detoxification of the liver
11. Removes stagnation
12. Prepares the body for abhyanga/Ayurvedic herbalized oil massage.
1. Avoid sensitive skin
2. Avoid eczema, psoriasis, acne, moles, warts, or raised bumps are present. (See your dermatologist)
3. Avoid open wounds, irritated skin, inflamed or sunburned.
4. Avoid skin that has infection, cellulitis, or skin cancer.
5. Do not perform dry brushing during acute illnesses.
6. If skin becomes irritated or inflamed, stop dry brushing.
7. Do not dry brush the face.
How to Perform Ayurvedic Dry Brushing?
Traditionally dry brushing is performed using raw silk gloves. Natural brushes are also an option and widely available in a range of textures.
Dry brushing especially benefits those with signs of ama such as sluggishness, fogginess, general sense of dullness, lack of vitality, stiffness, and constipation.
What is ama? According to Ayurveda, ama is toxins that accumulate in the body when foods, herbs and emotions are not completely digested, assimilated, and eliminated. This sounds like something we all experience at one point in time.
Dry Brushing: The 3 Ayurvedic Doshas
Kapha types and Kapha conditions benefit the most from the daily practice of dry brushing due its invigorating and stimulating effect. Pitta types may practice dry brushing 4-5 times per week, and Vata types benefit from 2-4 times.
Dry brushing should be followed by abhyanga, especially for Vata’s tendency to have dry skin.
Add Ayurvedic dry brushing to part of your Ayurvedic Morning Routine | 6 Rituals for a Calm and Centered Day
Ayurvedic dry brushing is best performed in the morning before bathing as it is stimulating and invigorating and a far healthier option for waking up than a big jolt of coffee. (Aka central nervous stimulant). You’ll be delighted how it helps you feel enlivened. The idea is to create movement and to literally get the juices (rasa) flowing!
How To Perform Ayurvedic Dry Brushing
1. Find silk or linen gloves, or a brush with a texture that is pleasing to you and gentle on your skin. This is never about no pain, no gain. Ayurveda is a path of ahimsa, non-violence and so how we perform practices, is as important as what we do.
2. Stand in a tub/shower or on a towel as skin cells will slough off and may leave a little mess.
3. With your gloves or brush, perform dry brushing. Now pay attention to the pressure. Apply enough pressure so its deep enough so you don’t slide over the skin, but light enough to not feel below the skin. That’s about 1-4 ounces. Going deeper than this, one is going passed the lymph so easy does it! but vigorous.
4. Start at the feet and work upward.
5. As with abhyanga/Ayurvedic oil massage, always move towards the heart using circular strokes on the round bones and areas (shoulders, elbows, knees, etc.) and longer strokes on the limbs again, moving towards the heart.
4. Ayurveda Oil Massage
Abhyanga Massage - How to Do Ayurveda Self-Massage
Choosing the Right Abhyanga Massage Oils for You
Before you can make Abhyanga massage part of your daily practice, you'll need to select the best oil to use for your massage. Nourishing cold-pressed oils can penetrate the skin, providing many benefits. Which oil is best suited for you depends on a number of factors such as location, seaon, stage of life, and current symptoms.
As with all Ayurvedic treatments, using the correct herbalized oils to ensure balancing of the doshas is key. Ayurveda shines in its specificity and holistic, systemic approach, versus a one size fits all approach.
However, you're likely to get the best results by using herbalized oils that are specific to your unique needs. Saumya Ayurveda can help you with a customized Ayurveda plan and target which oils will work optimally for you.
Saumya Ayurveda offers a wide range of top shelf, small batch made, herbalized Ayurveda oils.
How to Prepare for Abhyanga Self-Massage at Home
"Maintain a gentle awareness of your breath. Relax, release, and let go. Performing Abhyanga is meditation." - Veena, Saumya Ayurveda
Give yourself a few minutes to prepare for your Ayurvedic self-massage with systematic relaxation. Use our free guided practices, or our Two Minute Meditation is a nice option to apply this meditation technique while you are performing Abhyanga. You'll have a deeper experience of Abhyanga self-massage using our preparations.
To receive the greatest benefits from your Ayurveda self-massage, Learn Diaphragmatic Breathing and Change Your Life.
Benefits of Abhyanga Self-Massage at Home
1. Stabilizes Vata
7. Increases focus and concentration 8. Increases circulation 9. Slows down the effects of the aging process 10. Promotes healthy skin 11. Supports healthy joints 12. Tones muscles and increase flexibility 13. Enhances immunity 14. Builds Ojas 15. Supports soft, luscious, and healthy hair 16. Pacifies vata, pitta doshas, while stimulating kapha dosha
How to Do Abhyanga Self-Massage at Home from Toe to Head
1. Put 1/4–1/2 cup of your dosha specific Ayurveda oil into a flip top bottle and place in hot water until warm. If your bathroom is nice and warm, and you have hot enough water out of your tap, place the flip top bottle into the sink and let it warm up.
2. While your oil warms up, gather the few other supplies you need for your Ayurvedic massage.
3. The temperature of the Abhyanga oil should feel soothing and pleasing on your skin.
4. Find a warm room and sit or stand on a towel you don’t mind getting soiled. The oil will build up and you'll want to use a towel with which you don't have a strong attachment.
5. Take a few diaphragmatic breaths to center and ground yourself. Be present to the moment. Our two-minute meditation technique is perfect meditation technique for performing your Ayurvedic self-massage.
6. Massage the oil into your skin. You’re gently working the oil into the largest organ of digestion, your skin. The quality of the warm oil is soothing to Vata and the herbalized Abhyanga oil is being directly digested by your skin. How perfect is that?
7. You should not feel like a sardine in a can of oil. Instead use enough oil that you have sufficient glide for your Abhyanga strokes, but not so much that it’s dripping off you.
8. Starting with the feet, massage from feet to head.
9. As you massage, use strokes that mirror each part of your body. Take a look at your body and you will see that we’re made of a series of long bones and round bones.
10. Three long strokes on the long bones, three circular strokes on the round bones. Let’s use the feet as an example to ensure all is clear. Three long strokes on the metatarsals, three circular strokes on the ankles. Lower leg, three long strokes, knee joints, three circular strokes. You get the idea.
11. Massage your abdomen in clockwise circles, which is the flow of digestion, this Ayurvedic massage motion encourages healthy digestion.
12. Start with your hand near the sternum and work to your left, around down to the navel, up around to the right and repeat slowly three times.
13. If there is an area of your body that needs more attention, provide. Use some additional strokes on the area and let your attention sink into the tissue area.
14. Your hands, scalp, ears, and feet are full of nerve endings, and benefit from extra time and attention a few times a week.
15. Be sure to fully wash off your feet before you bath, so you don’t slip.
16. We recommend breathing diaphragmatically or doing on of our 11 minute guided practices after your massage to allow the oil to penetrate deeply into your skin. (If you’re short on time, you can hop right into a warm bath or shower.)
17. Enjoy a warm bath or shower. Only soap the few strategic areas, do not soap the entire body. Make a horseshoe shape with your hand, using your index finger and thumb to create a “U.” Now use this to squeegee off the oil and water from your skin.
18. Pat off with a towel that is designated for Ayurveda self-massage as over time, it will accumulate the Ayurveda oil.
19. Step into rubber soled slippers or the like to ensure your safety as residual oil may remain on your feet. Avoid slipping.
20. If you enjoy essential oils, apply a few drops to your wrists and neck to enhance your Abhyanga experience and to carry it with you throughout the day (or night).
5. Break a Sweat
Sweating (or swedana) is a highly effective way to release ama (toxins) from the body. Cleansing from the inside out through use of far infrared saunas, a well-timed soak in the warm sun, or by walking, cycling or hiking outside.
Choose what is correct for you. Be gentle, be consistent.
Having warm water first thing in the morning flushes the system and encourages healthy elimination. Try a hot cup of water with lemon or plain tea temperature water.
Everyone benefits from drinking daily digestive detox tea. Which herbal blend is best for you depends on your constitution, current condition, the season, and your location. When you set up a free phone consultation with Saumya Ayurveda, we’ll uncover the digestive detox tea for you.
7. Breathwork | Pranayama
The Right Environment for Pranayama
It's important to be mindful of your breathing during Pranayama, which is why you'll want to do your breathing exercises in a quiet space that's free of distractions. Choose a clean room that's well-ventilated. When the weather is warm, Pranayama techniques can be done outdoors. For your indoors, choose an area and make that your designated spot for pranayama, breathwork.
Do You Feel Your Mind Working Overtime?
Ever feel your mind going and going? Too many thoughts? Wake up at night solving problems? Often clients share that their minds are going a million miles an hour and they can't shut it off. How exhausting and anxiety provoking.
What we need to do first is to return to the way we were breathing when we were born--diaphragmatic breathing. For most of us, over time we are trained out of this healthy way of breathing. Now, we will retrain our breathing and return to our natural state of diaphragmatic breathing. When we breathe diaphragmatically, we are more relaxed and grounded.
Whether we are new to pranayama, or we've practiced for years, we all lie in shavasana, corpse pose, on a firm, flat surface on a blanket or yoga mat. You may want to cover yourself with a shawl or thing blanket. let your arms turn so palms are upwards and arms near but away from your sides. Be comfortable. Straighten your spine. You may want to use a bolster under your knees.
Breathe through your nose, focusing on the way your belly expands and contracts as you inhale and exhale. Place your right hand over your belly and your left hand over your chest. If you are breathing with your diaphragm, your right hand will move up and down while your left hand will stay still.
Once you have confirmed that you are practicing diaphragmatic breathing, in time your breath will naturally lengthen. Simply place your attention on the gentle rise and fall of your abdomen. As you exhale, your abdomen contracts, and as you inhale, it expands. There is nothing "to do," only observe the rhythm of the breath.
Diaphragmatic breathing calms Vata dosha, leaving you feeling relaxed and grounded. It soothes the nervous system. Once diaphragmatic breathing becomes established, you can repeat this exercise without placing your hands on your chest and stomach.
Nadi Shodhana or Alternate Nostril Breathing
Once diaphragmatic breathing is established as a habit, then alternate nostril breathing follows. Pranayama practices should not be attempted until diaphragmatic breathing is a well-established habit.
Alternate nostril breathing is one of the most effective pranayama exercises to relieve anxiety. This exercise can restore Vata balance and put your body and mind at ease.
1. Bring the right hand to the nose, fold the index finger and the middle finger so the right thumb can be used to close the right nostril and the ring finger can be used to close the left nostril (vishnu mudra). Alternatively, you may place the index and middle fingers on the bridge of the nose between the eyes.
2. Close the passive nostril and exhale completely through the active nostril.
3. At the end of the exhalation, close the active nostril and inhale through the passive nostril slowly and completely. Inhalation and exhalation should be of equal duration.
4. Repeat this cycle of exhalation with the active nostril and inhalation with the passive nostril two more times.
5. At the end of the third inhalation with the passive nostril, exhale completely through the same nostril keeping the active nostril closed with the finger.
6. At the end of the exhalation, close the passive nostril and inhale through the active nostril.
7. Repeat two more times the cycle of exhalation through the passive nostril and inhalation through the active nostril.
1. Exhale Active
2. Inhale Passive
3. Exhale Active
4. Inhale Passive
5. Exhale Active
6. Inhale Passive
7. Exhale Passive
8. Inhale Active
9. Exhale Passive
10. Inhale Active
11. Exhale Passive
12. Inhale Active
9. Return your hand to your thigh and exhale and inhale through both nostrils evenly for three complete breaths. This completes ONE cycle or round of the nadi shodhanam practice. It is customary to do three cycles or rounds of the practice.
Note: When practicing three rounds in one sitting, the second of the three rounds begins with the opposite nostril, and the pattern of alternation is therefore the reverse of rounds one and three. The third round is exactly the same as the first round.
Diaphragmatic breathing and alternate nostril breathing practices are the key two foundational pranayama. Practiced consistently and in tandem with our guided practices, you'll observe changes in your body and mind.
Three Breathwork|Pranayama and Meditation Tools:
Guided Practices (morning and evening)
8. Love Up Your Liver
Liver cleanse with Ayurvedic foods. Your liver peforms hundreds of vital functions. Concerned about cholesterol? Having hot flashes? Irritable? Feeling older than you want to? Have a bitter taste in your mouth? It's time to love up your liver using food as medicine.
Why Liver Cleanse with Ayurvedic Food?
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the liver has over 500 vital functions, including:
"Production of bile, which helps carry away waste, break down fats in the small intestine during digestion
Production of certain proteins for blood plasma
Production of cholesterol and special proteins to help carry fats through the body
Conversion of excess glucose into glycogen for storage (glycogen can later be converted back to glucose for energy) and to balance and make glucose as needed
Regulation of blood levels of amino acids, which form the building blocks of proteins
Processing of hemoglobin for use of its iron content (the liver stores iron)
Conversion of poisonous ammonia to urea (urea is an end product of protein metabolism and is excreted in the urine)
Clearing the blood of drugs and other poisonous substances
Regulating blood clotting
Resisting infections by making immune factors and removing bacteria from the bloodstream
Clearance of bilirubin, also from red blood cells. If there is an accumulation of bilirubin, the skin and eyes turn yellow."
According to Ayurveda, the liver is the home of Pitta dosha which is associated with metabolism and transformation. The liver supports several key functions including digestion and metabolism.
It clears the body’s inner ocean, known as rasa and rakta dhatu (think of blood and plasma) of ama (toxins) to prevent them from entering the blood stream and circulating around the body and organs. In other words, the liver purifies the blood to keep the garbage out.
Ayurveda also recognizes the liver cholesterol connection. According to Harvard University Medical School, “your liver and intestines make about 80% of the cholesterol…” only 20% comes from food.
"We worry about our fat intake, but do we think about our liver? It's time we do as modern living is stressful, especially to this organ. This is why Saumya clients will hear me say, ‘Let’s love up your liver.’ Labs can come back in the normal range, but that does not mean the liver is optimized." -- Veena, Saumya Ayurveda
When we balance the liver through herbs (plant nutrition), food as medicine, and Ayurveda lifestyle tools, the liver produces more good cholesterol. How much good cholesterol the body manufactures is determined by how well the body metabolizes and digests fats.
An ounce of prevention? What a difference it makes!
Over time, ama - or toxins - can accumulate in our bodies and minds. This makes seasonal cleanses a vital part of an Ayurveda lifestyle.
Our bodies and minds build up ama - toxins and energetic gunk - as we move throughout the world. Every day, we’re assaulted with more than we can digest: food, stimulation, stress, environmental pollutants... the list goes on and on.
An ounce of prevention? What a difference it makes! Regular cleansing helps us reset, repair, rest, and rejuvenate. When the tsunami of stimulation ceases, our bodies and minds know what to do. In the gentle slowness of cleansing time – we heal.
Our detox programs are customized to your goals, current dosha state and life circumstances, and seasonal changes, and where you live. To learn more, click here.
Explore more with our popular Pitta articles:
We don't often think about our liver until we have to, but how much better we'll feel with an ounce of prevention.
“A year ago, after some lab tests, I was told I had an "abnormal" liver. I thought of my mother, who had died fairly young from liver disease. Veena's Ayurvedic recommendations, which included herbs and healthy foods, turned things around in less than six months. My liver was retested, and each lab result was in the "normal" range. This testifies to my longstanding mantra: In Veena I Trust.” -- Don, Golden Valley, Minnesota
Chock-full of antioxidants, Ayurvedic Liver Cleanse Veggie Dish is a recipe to cleanse old Pitta dosha from the liver and to ground and nourish Vata dosha, making use of the blood purifying and liver-healing properties of carrots, beets and daikon.
Use this recipe as a delicious part of your Ayurvedic cleanse, as food as medicine. Integrate into your Ayurvedic diet.
Supports healthy hormone balance all the way along that path and especially during the menopausal transition.
For Pitta dosha, choose Chioggia or golden beets rather than the standard red ones and use plenty of cilantro. For Kapha dosha, add a hot green pepper and cook the vegetables more lightly to avoid releasing the sugars. Serves approximately 6.
4 medium carrots
2 beets- I like to use the beet tops as a daily green
2 tbsp ghee or sunflower oil
1 bunch bitter dark greens
1'' fresh turmeric, finely chopped, or 1 tsp organic turmeric powder
1" fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
½ tsp salt
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
Wash and slice the root vegetables. Heat half the ghee in a wok or frying pan and stir fry the vegetables. When they begin to soften, add the greens, cover and sauté to the desired tenderness.
Meanwhile, in a small fry pan, heat the rest of the ghee or your best oil from your Saumya Ayurveda Food Program. When it is hot, but not smoking, lower the heat and add cumin, turmeric and ginger. Sautee until the cumin seeds brown, add the hing and toss into the vegetables. Stir in the salt and cilantro and serve with Cleansing Kitchari. Check out our Recipe Box for more inspiration.
9. Ayurvedic Practices for Emotional Cleansing
These days, feeling lousy is status quo. But it doesn’t have to be. According to US News and World Report, 2017 was a record year for unhappiness.
Emotional cleansing helps us to release old feelings and traumas that hold us back, so we can live fully and with joy--in other words, emotional cleansing helps balance Vata, Pitta and Kapha in the body and mind.
“Ayurvedic emotional detox helps clients live happier, more fulfilling, healthier lives,” says Veena of Saumya Ayurveda. “And that – is positively contagious.”
What is Emotional Cleansing?
Emotional cleansing is the process of releasing accumulated mental “yuck.” Pranayama, yog-asana, and other Ayurvedic lifestyle tools help instill a sense of balance, wellbeing, and vitality in its place.
“Many clients who benefit from emotional cleansing have anxiety as a chief concern – and almost everyone feels stressed and tired” says Veena.
Emotional imbalances manifest differently in every person. Pitta-type emotions may manifest as impatience, irritability, explosiveness and burning digestion. Vata, on the other hand, may present as sleep troubles, depression, intense stress, exhaustion and constipation.
Benefits of Emotional Cleansing with Ayurveda
Set the foundation for physical healing and wellbeing
Relieve chronic anxiety, stress, trauma or PTSD
Enjoy more balanced physical and mental health
Reduce and soften non-productive emotions
Access higher states of consciousness
Develops a stronger immune system
Feel younger and like yourself again
Enjoy your whole being balanced
Enjoy life more
How Do We Begin an Ayurveda Emotional Detox?
We start by simply observing. Through ongoing awareness and practice, we become the witness to how the doshas manifest in the present moment. (“Oh, that’s just Pitta talking.”) By being the witness and observing the dosha manifesting, we create a healthy space between the rising emotion and that reduces reactivity and overwhelm.
“Creating awareness softens the experience, and creates distance,” says Veena. “Then, we introduce practices that alleviate the pressure building inside us.”
We don’t do laundry once, we wash our clothes when they need it. At Saumya Ayurveda, we approach emotional cleansing as a lifestyle practice – not something you do once or twice a year.
Can You Benefit from Detoxing Emotionally? Let’s Find Out!
When the doshas (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) are imbalanced, we feel it physically and mentally. One sign that we can benefit from an Ayurvedic emotional detox is to ask ourselves, “Do I struggle with things that used to be easy?” In other words, is there an expenditure of disproportionate energy, where once it seemed to take nothing at all? If so, your body and mind may benefit from Ayurveda emotional and physical detox, but more on that here.
Signs that you may benefit from an Ayurveda style emotional detox:
Changes in weight.
Ignoring your gut feelings.
Feeling a lack of purpose in life.
Being overwhelmed most of the time.
General sense of feeling out of balance.
Experiencing, "I don't feel like me anymore."
Avoiding certain people or people in general.
Chronic health changes, mentally or physically.
Feeling hopeless, helpless, worthless, not good enough.
Feeling that most days are a struggle and not knowing why.
Things that were once easy and enjoyable, are now difficult.
Difficulty in letting go, wanting to, needing to, but not sure how.
Being easily influenced by others. (sense of having lost oneself.)
Trouble falling and/or staying asleep. Ayurvedic Tips for Good Sleep
Hard to get things done or to get going, lack of feeling motivated, inspired, and interested.
Wondering where your sense of calm went. “I wasn’t like this before!”
Difficulty or absence of speaking up for yourself. (loss of your own voice in relationships.)
Seeking escapes such as alcohol, drugs, affairs, media binges, and other vehicles of escaping.
Stagnant. Feeling hum drum, and/or difficulty letting go of the past and being present and open to possibilities. (Aka stuck)
Lack of focus, forgetfulness, word search, why did I come in this room? Read our 8 Ayurveda Tips for Brain Health
“Oh, golly way, way improved. Stress fell off like an old hairy coat, I’m just not anxious. Depression is way decreased. There just nothing there. I was haunted by anxiety whole life, and it’s just gone.” --Mark Hughes, Minnesota
1. Yoga-asana For Emotional Cleansing
In our busy, stressful world – most people need to rejuvenate, relax, and ground. Practice Savasana and Viparita Karani once or twice daily for emotional cleansing on all levels.
Corpse Pose/Savasana: Lie on a firm, flat surface with the spine, neck, and head in alignment. Arms flat, palm-up beside your body. Activate your relaxation response with this 11-minute systemic relaxation meditation.
Viparita Karani/Legs-up-the-Wall: Begin seated beside an open wall. Gently lower your torso to the ground while lifting your legs up the wall, forming an “L” shape with your body. Dip into a state of grounded calm with this 2-minute relaxation meditation.
“The Saumya Ayurveda way is to focus on quality, not quantity,”people are already overwhelmed – a few minutes of the right practice, performed correctly, is all and everything we need.”
--Veena, Saumya Ayurveda
Our inner-dialog is a tool for self-reflection. Working with this dialogue helps you befriend your mind. You learn to become comfortable with who you are and be softer with yourself. In this state, you can make choices from awareness and love – rather than your subconscious.
“Think of a pressure cooker,” says Veena. “The steam needs to be released. When we take a dip into relaxation and meditation, that pressure is released. This prevents it from building up past the boiling point, as with Pitta, or unhealthy overwhelm, as with Vata.”
Inner-dialog is a path to understanding your true nature without judgment. When you come to appreciate how your mind works, you may even experience a spiritual “aha!” – accompanied by relief and deep healing.
3. Healthy Sleep Hygiene
Have you ever had a nightmare about work or a vulnerable moment from your childhood? Dreaming is how our minds cleanse mental toxins (ama) and work through challenging experiences – whether they’re from yesterday or long ago.
There’s a saying in Ayurveda, “today started yesterday.” What we did yesterday, and how we did it, influences our present state. Our hectic society places little emphasis on the importance of sleep, but it’s the bedrock of our physical and mental wellbeing.
Sleep Hygiene for Emotional Cleansing
Quality sleep rejuvenates the body and mind, while poor sleep leaves us feeling drained and lousy. When it comes to healthy sleep hygiene – a consistent wake-up schedule is key. On average, Vata types should wake by 6:00 am, Pitta by 5:30 am, and Kapha by 4:30 am. If your schedule isn’t ideal, adjust it gently by waking up 15 minutes earlier each week.
“The best sleep schedule isn’t one-size-fits-all,” says Veena. “It depends on your doshic picture, location, stage of life, and the season. Personalized guidance helps you surf the energy waves.”
Our sleep position matters too. Sleeping on the left side allows gravity to move food waste more easily from the small to large intestine. This encourages better heart function, blood flow, and digestion; neck and back pain relief; greater immunity; and even lighter snoring.
Get it out. Let it go. Journaling is an effective way to start an Ayurveda emotional detox. Find a notebook or choose a special bound journal. (Avoid journaling on a device.) Feel the pen in your hand, it's movement across the paper, let everything slow down.
Benefits of Journaling:
Reduces stress and anxiety
Improves communication skills (which tends to also reduces stress and anxiety}
Provides perspective by showing your progress and transformation
Boosts health and sense of wellbeing
Provides a vehicle for processing emotions
Helps to clarify next steps and long term direction, as well as wants and needs
Boosts emotional intelligence
5. Acknowledge What Is
"As spiritual beings having a human experience, each of us is gifted with an internal compass that guides us through life so we can effectively digest, assimilate, and eliminate (let go) of our emotions. It is the same process as our physical digestion. If we don't digest food, our digestive system feels unwell. When we don't digest and let go of our emotions, we feel sick and often all over-mentally and physically." - Veena, Saumya Ayurveda
It feels overwhelming and where do we start untied the knotted ball of yarn inside us?
We start by acknowledging what is. How do we do that?
We may ask ourselves, What are the causes of stress and unease in your life? Perhaps make a list and really go for it. No need to edit or limit, get it all out.
Now pause, take check in with the breath, re-establish diaphragmatic breathing,
Look at the list again and add anything else that floats to the surface.
Step away from the list, go for a walk, maybe even wait a day, and then revisit the list and continue to add to it.
Acknowledging what is --is the best way to address, at the root cause, and allows us to clear the path to healing. This is a key tool in Ayurveda's approach to emotional detoxing as it cleanses the mind of ama. Ama is a Sanskrit word that may translate as toxins.
"I explain ama as the gunk that makes us feel old, stuck, and not like our vibrant, flowing selves. Physically, when the doshas are imbalanced, ama circulates in the body and creates symptoms and left unaddressed, syndromes, conditions, and diseases. Mental and emotional ama pulls us down and under and then also negatively impacts our mental health." - Veena, Saumya Ayurveda
9 Ayurveda Home Detox Tools performed daily can keep you feeling your best by continually removing ama and balancing the doshas.
Discover the Saumya Ayurveda Way
We all want to be heard, understood, and cared for as whole beings, not a set of isolated symptoms. True health is more than the absence of disease, which is why Western medicine so often leaves us feeling hopeless and unseen.
Deep down, you already know what you’re searching for: a new framework for living – one that brings your entire being back into balance. With Saumya Ayurveda, you’ll receive individualized guidance to create the physically, mentally, and spiritually vibrant life you crave.
Veena is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and meditation teacher, and monk.
She is President Emeritus of the Meditation Center and former staff member of the Minnesota Institute of Ayurveda.
Veena fell in love with the traditional medicine used in her family’s home learning herbal remedies at her grandmother's knee. She remains passionate for over 30 years, helping clients feel their best physically, emotionally, and spiritually with Ayurveda.
Veena individualizes treatment plans to each person, rather than offering a one-size-fits-all approach, so it fits your life and becomes woven into your daily life, naturally.