In recent times, the term “detox” has become a household word. Many people talk about it and quite a number of them adopt different methods of detoxification.
Here we will discuss the necessity for detoxification, the different methods to detoxify our systems, the best time/season to do detoxification in order to yield the maximum benefits, etc.
Why do we need to undergo detoxification?
According to Ayurveda, when the food we consume is properly digested, it is transformed into “sapta dhatus” (seven sustainers – tissues which sustain our body structure and maintain our health).
Unfortunately, in modern times, due to several factors such as processed or genetically modified food, the use of chemicals & pesticides in agriculture, consuming foods that are out of season, etc., our bodies cannot recognise the food we intake, with regard to its true form/nature, quality, etc. As a result, most of the time, the food we eat is not processed/digested properly.
Besides these general factors, at an individual level, most of us eat the wrong food, i.e. food which is not appropriate and which is unsuitable for us, and which is opposite/contrary to our “Prakruti” (constitution).
In such a situation, our body’s innate intelligence does not recognise the food that we supply to our digestive system. As a result, such food is not digested properly. And when the food is not digested, it gets converted into “Ama” (toxic mucus).
Ayurveda says, this toxic mucus is the main/basic underlying cause for most diseases, many of which can be very serious and fatal, e.g. cancer, tumours, heart attacks, etc. When this toxic mucus is accumulated in our system, it starts to cover our intestines, due to which our absorption is adversely affected. In this situation, even if we eat very “healthy”, “organic” food, we will not feel much benefit because the nutrients are not absorbed.
Even at the subtle level, this toxic mucus can be very harmful. When it clogs the channels, it creates obstacles in the air circulation and oxygen supply to the brain, neurotransmitters, sensory organs, etc. This can cause several neurological, mental, psychological and emotional disorders, e.g. memory loss, sleeping disorders, dementia, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, etc.
Thus, it becomes really necessary to eliminate this toxic mucus from the system in order to correct such disorders in someone who already has any one of them, and also to prevent the manifestation of such disorders in future.
How can Ayurveda help to detoxify the body?
Ayurveda is a very complete science which provides very comprehensive guidelines & instructions with regard to detoxification.
Firstly, it explains when is the right time to undergo the process of detoxification. Secondly, it describes what kind of detoxification method should be applied, based on one’s “Prakruti” (constitution) and “Vikruti” (current state of imbalance), one’s age, occupation, etc. Ayurveda does not subscribe to the common belief/practice that “one size fits all”.
With regard to the ideal time/season for detoxification – Ayurveda says, Sharad Ritu (Autumn season) is the most appropriate season for detoxifying our whole system.
Ayurveda says there are six seasons in a year, each one for 2 months, and those are:
Shishir/Sheit (Winter) – mid January to mid March
Vasant (Spring) – mid March to mid May
Grishma (Summer) – mid May to mid mid July
Varsha (Monsoon) – mid July to mid Sep
Sharad (Autumn) – mid Sep to mid Nov
Hemanta (Pre-winter) – mid Nov to mid mid Jan
Sharad ritu (Autumn season) which typically lasts from mid-September to mid-November, is like a transition period which is between the monsoon/rainy season and the winter season. During this season, the heat from the Sun starts soaking/drying up the water & moisture absorbed during the rainy season by the earth and the creatures living on earth.
Therefore, the Pitta (fire element), accumulated within our bodies during the monsoon season, becomes aggravated during this season. That means, in Autumn season, accumulated Pitta (heat) is released and is aggravated. Due to the aggravation of Pitta, the digestive fire is adversely affected and therefore one’s appetite is generally reduced during the initial part of the Autumn season. Appetite also fluctuates during this season because the temperature in the environment keeps changing due to the adjustment done by nature during this transition period.
This is why Ayurveda advises one to be very mindful about his/her eating habits and lifestyle pattern during this season. It is wise to eat moderately and focus more on eliminating toxins from the body, accumulated during the wet/rainy season of monsoon, through the appropriate detoxification procedures.
Nature shows us the way, where trees start to shed their old leaves in preparation for producing new leaves – one reason why Autumn season is also called “Fall”.
In conclusion, Ayurveda says that Autumn is the most ideal season for detoxification.
In our upcoming blogs we will discuss and share some specific detox methods which are very useful for cleansing the body and mind, thus helping our spirits to feel joyful and uplifted, ready for enjoying the festivities in the coming winter season.