Last week we began our study of digestion in my year-long course. We’ve been looking at the state of our digestive fire--agni--and learning about how to work with imbalances there through practices in how and when we eat.
We've been learning about ama--toxicity--and how it is formed through undigested foodstuff, and what we can do to prevent ama formation, or support our bodies to digest it once it forms.
This week we'll focus more on what to eat in relation to the seasons and our own constitution. We spend a lot of time dialing in these habits because in Ayurveda digestion is not just about digestion.
How is digestion not just about digestion?
In this work, we recognize 6 stages of the disease process, and the first 2 happen in the digestive tract. These patterns of indigestion are our first sign that things are out of whack. Catch and treat it here and we've stopped the disease process in its tracks. Ignore it or simply cover over the symptoms, and we drive the imbalance deeper into our system, creating the seeds for a more serious health issue down the road.
Seriously, taking care of the belching and farting is soooo much easier than dealing with colitis or IBS, or colon cancer.
Digestion is not just about digestion—it’s also about the roots of our good or poor health going forward.
Untreated digestive issues lead to deeper issues within the gut (ulcers, colitis, IBS, cancers) but also to deeper systemic issues due to ama lodging in joints and deeper tissues (arthritis, fibromyalgia, muscle aches). This is where our personal genetics come in, our individual “weak links” (genetic predispositions for illness and the imprint of past illness/accident/surgery), for these, are the places ama will lodge in individual bodies.
We accumulate toxins from our environment, from poor dietary and lifestyle choices, from chronically over-eating (regardless of whether we gain weight), and from the excesses of a particular season. Ayurveda uses seasonal cleansing to support the body in releasing the excess and supporting its overall function. Register here for the spring cleanse.
And while it's true our bodies are equipped with organs that cleanse all the time--we eliminate through feces, urine, and sweat-our kidneys filter our liquid waste, and our liver filters our blood: our lungs and nasal passageways filter the air we breathe and release the excess as CO2; our lymphatic system similarly helps clear out the muck--still we have to deal with the problems associated with overuse and abuse of those organs through poor lifestyle and dietary choices.
Just like a poorly driven automobile, whose brakes blow out too soon, or whose oil burns too hot, we tax our systems through our irregular diet and lifestyle practices, and our digestive and eliminative organs don't function at par. Seasonal cleansing supports your body in repairing and then doing what it is designed to do more efficiently.
Signs that you need to cleanse:
imbalanced digestion: acidity, gas, burping, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, unstable appetite.
brain fog: memory problems, lack of clarity
lack of appetite
tired after meals
fatigue not relieved through sleep
irritability/anxiety/depression that doesn't resolve
In our culture, we suffer from both excess through overeating and ingesting the wrong kinds of food/drinks and depletion from stress and overwork so we want to cleanse in ways that also allow for more rest and digest time overall.
Next month's spring cleanse allows us to engage in our normal work hours, while also prioritizing more rest and renewal at the same time. We practice the medicine of simplicity and subtraction.
What can I say YES to that I've been craving.
How simple can I make things for myself?
What can I let go of that I don't really want to be doing anyway?
Like regular maintenance for our car, these seasonal tune-ups for our body, not only ensure proper functioning now but prevent bigger problems down the road.
The end product of healthy digestion is good quality tissue development, ending with ojas, or immunity. As we age, we want to do so with grace, minimizing inflammatory and depletion conditions chalked up to "old age," by engaging in simple practices of right living. The Spring Cleanse is a great place to start.
Register here for the spring cleanse and receive materials right away to support you living into greater balance this month. Just 7 spaces remain.
Find a friend and take advantage of the cleanse with a friend discount. (The price is all-inclusive of most all of your cleanse supplies, leaving less work for you, and a nice package of goodies waiting for you the week before we begin).
Here’s to your good health this season,