Yoga is for everyone!
End of February - early March is the perfect time to do a bit of housecleaning with a mild cleanse. I have done this cleanse for many years and have loved the results. Every year I tweak it a little incorporating new knowledge/products. I link all products below for easy shopping on Amazon.
First, some things I don't recommend. I do not recommend fasting or juice fasting, especially for Vata. Pittas and Kaphas could do with a little lighter diet (eliminating dairy and simple carbs would be great for them), but generally I believe in good food choices appropriate for one's constitution type daily, so that there is never a need to correct overindulgence, and a mild cleanse would suffice. Juice alone without the fiber is mostly sugar (even root vegetables such as beets and carrots have a lot of sugar), and even though it may give you energy and you would lose weight, effects would be temporary at best or give you digestive upset at worst.
Fiber, actually, is very important in a cleanse - moving it through is good exercise for your gut, the roughage scrapes and cleans out the intestines and colon, so my first recommendation is actually increasing fiber. I consume great amounts of cooked vegetables as it is, plus nuts and seeds, so I add fiber in capsule form. My favorite is the Ayurvedic blend of three berry husks, called Triphala. Dosage and time of ingestion needs to be individualized to sync in with one's digestive rhythms, so that all elimination happens at your usual time. I take two 1000mg capsules at 4pm with lots of tea.
I have a new purifying tea recipe this year that I absolutely love! Most important new addition is banana water, which is rich in magnesium and potassium, two minerals that are often lacking in our diet. Boil an organic banana in its skin for ten minutes, then use the hot water to brew a tonifying blend of loose tea. None of the things I brew are technically tea. Equal parts of:
Roobois - it is not tea but bark of an African tree rich in antioxidants.
Whole Dill Seed - a great Vata-pacifying treatment that reduces gas and keeps digestive tract calm. Reduces inflammation. Do not confuse this with dill weed, which is a great seasoning, but not the same thing.
Dandelion Root - for the liver. This bitter herb acts as a cleanse and a tonic for this hard-working organ, and is great for Pitta.
Optional: Valerian Root - calming and soothing for stressed-out nervous systems.
You can put a tablespoon of each into a tea infuser and steep for a few minutes, drink your tea, and then add more banana water and steep again. I get two small pots of this tea, about four cups, which is what I drink every afternoon - a couple of cups at 4pm, and then after dinner another two cups.
This tea is great before bed as it improves sleep, which is extremely important to good health. You could be doing everything right, eating well, exercising, but if you are not sleeping well, none of that will matter much. Sleep needs to be a priority! Lack of deep, restorative sleep will compromise your immunity and metabolism.
Speaking of immunity, after at least three-four weeks of this, once your gut has been cleaned a bit and tonified, you can start adding probiotics. This is expensive, but very much worth the money - buy the highest CFU (colony forming units) you can find in an enteric coating, so that more of them can survive their journey through the acids in your stomach. You need to take this for at least a month, or until you use up your stash. If you've had antibiotic treatments in the past year, I recommend doubling the dosage. A good bacterial flora and fauna has been linked to improved immune function and better mood. I discuss this subject in another article, The Universe Within - Microbiome.
You can add other things to this tea, such as fresh ginger and turmeric root (I am going to try that next!), cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, or anything else Ayurveda recommends for your dosha.
And last but not least, increase the amount of good fat in your diet, especially cold pressed organic kind such as flax or hemp. It can be taken in capsules, but better yet - get a bottle and pour it generously over your food. There are many other healthy oils, such as avocado, roasted walnut or almond, pumpkin seed oil, that taste great in salads or on their own. Branch out!
Our minds often get muddled with toxic thoughts as well. As you take care of yourself with the tea/oil regimen, narrate to yourself that you are doing an act of self-love and acceptance. Do some mild Yoga with the same mental attitude. Self-care and self-maintenance are a necessary part of a wholesome life. The more sustained you are, the more you are able to be useful and generous with others. If you are not doing it already, invent a ritual or two to anchor your day with mindfulness.
And this is it! Nothing drastic, but these therapies over a period of two months will give you glowing skin, happy disposition and digestion. Hope this helps!
I have been drinking dandelion tea every day for a week now. Great info here, thank you Anna!