Spring clean

Well, spring is finally here and with the sunshine, unfolding leaves and blossoming flowers the energies of nature encourage us to also unfurl from our deep winter hibernation and quite literally “spring forth” into a new way of being.

This energy of spring is the perfect opportunity for us to focus on our growth and renewal and with that comes the necessity of clearing out and letting go, ready for that new growth to come through. When we take ourselves through a gentle detox we release any buildup of old toxins that may have accumulated over the winter months and once we let go physically, emotionally and mentally we can emerge feeling refreshed, lighter and more joyful.

In maintaining good health it’s important to know our selves and recognise any symptoms of imbalance. Modern life keeps us so occupied that we can miss signs that our body is distressed, often choosing to push through or reach for temporary relief. Ayurveda believes that a strong digestion is the key to good health. Rather than the old adage, ‘We are what we eat’, Ayurveda says ‘We are what we digest.’

If we under-eat or overeat foods that aggravate our doshas (body type) or eat at inappropriate times of the day we can create ama. Ama is partially digested residue. It can also be created by exposure to environmental pollutants or stresses. Excess ama can clog up our body channels and find its way into the deeper tissues where it may eventually lead to immune disorders and chronic disease. Skipping meals or eating late at night when the digestive system needs rest can also compromise the digestion. Here are some things to think about for your healthy digestion:

Body type

Every body is different, just as every mind is different. Some foods nourish and revitalise us but others that are generally promoted as ‘healthy’ don’t sit comfortably in every stomach. That’s why eating according to our body type is a fundamental part of Ayurvedic living.

Tongue

The tongue is a window into our digestive tract, providing feedback on the efficiency of our digestion. A healthy tongue is pink and moist, with no coating, cracks, scalloped edges, bumps, or patches. A white, grey or yellow film on your tongue or bad breath suggests you might want to look at what you are not digesting.

Feeling heavy, stiff joints, general aches and pains

Pain in our body is not always what it seems. Sometimes, the place we feel pain has nothing to do with what’s causing it. Some pain is a reflection of unprocessed emotions of grief, loss or distress. This can create painful, swollen and stiff joints, heaviness, lethargy and weight gain.

Impaired sleep

Too much or too little sleep, inability to fall asleep or get back to sleep and not reaching the stage of deep sleep all make it difficult for our mind and body to digest and vice versa certain foods can keep you awake, as they take longer to digest. Take a note of what you are eating in the evening and see what you can adjust.

Skin rashes or itchiness

Too many toxins overload the liver and congest the lymph to the extent that they cannot eliminate them all. The skin steps in to help, which leads to rashes, itchiness and outbreaks of acne, eczema and psoriasis.

Stress & anxiety

Stress and anxiety can lead to a range of unpleasant symptoms: insomnia, indigestion, high blood pressure, muscle tension, weakened immune system, a tired body, a foggy mind and volatile moods. Certain foods can help with stress and anxiety or try a relaxing yoga class to let go of what is worrying you.

Headaches

Regular headaches with no other obvious cause can signal that something is not right with the digestion. So, if you find you’re reaching for pain relief, it might be time to give yourself the gift of relieving them naturally with a seasonal detox.

When our digestion is clear and balanced we will feel light and clear, with glowing skin, shining eyes, bright and energetic, just like a beautifully burning fire.