by Shannon Gierl Wintheiser
You may have not realized it (especially if you live somewhere like Minnesota, Cleveland, or even New York which I saw got a bit of the white stuff this past weekend) BUT Spring is officially here! She made her grand entrance this past Friday, and while it may only be Spring in name for awhile, it's never too early to start spring cleaning.
Some of you may have just gotten a little overly excited at the notion of organizing, clearing house, and going to the Container Store. Or if you're like me, you just had a small panic attack. Either way, no need to bust out the yellow gloves nor the extender on the duster. I'm talking spring cleaning of a much less daunting sort: spring cleaning your lovely bod, inside and out!
Over the past couple years I have become more and more interested in the ancient Hindu system of medicine called Ayurveda. It literally means "science, or wisdom, of life" in sanskrit. It is based on the idea of balance in the bodily systems, and the connection between mind and body. It uses practices of yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, herbs, and diet.
One really important part of Ayurveda health is the practice of Panchakarma, a complex detoxification treatment involving massage, herbal therapy, and a mono-diet, among other practices. Panchakarma is traditionally exercised during seasonal transitions, and especially at the onset of Spring. According to Ayurveda, at this time our bodies are best suited and supported to eliminate toxins, purify, and rejuvenate. If you want more information on Panchakarma, see the Ayurvedic Institute website or google Ayurveda in [your local city].
But for today, I thought that instead of going into the traditional cleansing rituals of Panchakarma, I would let you know about 3 simple, more general Ayurvedic practices that you can do at home, for little money and little time and effort (I mean that's what we all want right?! The EASY button!). Spring is a great time to start these habits, but they should ideally be incorporated into your routine and continued throughout the year!
I am such a fan of these three detox "tricks" that I shared them last week on Fox19 Cincinnati's morning news show! Check out the footage, and then read below to get the full scoop on all the benefits of these practices, how much they cost, and where you can find them!
SCRAPE YOUR TONGUE Tongue scraping involves using a copper or stainless steel U-shaped utensil and scraping the tongue first thing in the morning - before you ingest any water! This is a helpful practice because the body naturally eliminates toxins though the tongue during the night while we sleep. Scraping them off ensures we finish what the body started, and the toxins don't get re-ingested. Also, it helps prevent cavities and bad breath, as well as improves your ability to taste your food. This alone can mean you eat less volume, and you need less sugar and salt to flavor your food. Cost: $7-$10 for good copper or steel scraper Time: <1 min
DRINK WARM LEMON WATER IN THE MORNING Drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning has many benefits. It strengthens the liver, one of our main detoxifying organs, aids in digestion and contains pectin (which is great for colon health), and is a natural antibacterial for the body. It is also a great source of Vitamin C, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium, which are essential vitamins and minerals for the body. Squeeze 1/2 small/medium lemon in 12 oz of water, and consume upon waking (after tongue scraping), or before your first meal of the day. Cost: < 30 cents a day Time: 3 min
DRY BRUSH BEFORE YOUR SHOWER Dry brushing sloughs off dead skin cells along with toxins that we naturally eliminate through our skin. It also stimulates the lymphatic system, improves circulation, and tones and firms the skin. If you dry brush regularly (3-4+ times a week), your skin will start to be more bright and luminous. Dry brushing before you get in the shower is a great way to help the body finish its own detoxification process and ensure these toxins aren't reabsorbed back into the body. Cost: $8-$25 (on Amazon) Time: 3-5 min every other day
Seem like a lot? Try picking one of these three habits, and doing it for 2-3 weeks. Then go on to the next. By the time Summer arrives, your skin will be brighter (ready for that little swim number you picked up), your digestive tract healthier, and your mouth fresher and ready to taste those Summer berries in full flavor! Happy Cleaning!
Ok, now I want to hear from you!! Do you currently do any of the above practices? Have any other spring cleaning tips? Leave a comment below to weigh in and help out your fellow Radiant Beings!