Natural Ayurveda Tips for Constipation

158185172Constipation is a common problem. It is related to an imbalance in Vata dosha, and its subdosha, Apana Vata. Apana is downward moving and governs elimination and menses. An imbalance in apana vata can cause dryness and sluggishness of bowel functioning.

If you are Vata in nature, you may be more susceptible to constipation. Because Vata increases in the body after the age of 60, constipation is more common among older people.

If you have a tendency towards constipation, you want to avoid the following factors, which aggravate Apana Vata:

AVOID

Lack of exercise

Not drinking enough fluids

Dry, rough foods

Stress (a major cause of vata imbalance)

Multi-tasking

Eating heavy meals at night

Here are some general recommendations to avoid constipation:

DO

Go to bed early (before 10:00 pm) and rise early (before 6:00)

Drink plenty of fluids. Warm fluids are ideal. The general rule is to drink half your body weight in ounces each day. Drinking two glasses of warm water when you wake up can help stimulate bowl functioning. Hot water with black salt is sometimes recommended.

Eat fresh fruit juices are also helpful.

Eat cooked apples for breakfast. Try soaking raisins over night. Enjoy both the “raisin water” and the plump raisins in the morning.

Be sure to sit for 10 minutes after finishing a meal to support the digestive process.

Eat your main meal at noon.

Try to get in at least a half hour walk every day. Taking a walk after lunch (after first sitting for 10 minutes when your meal is finished) is ideal.

Gentle stretching exercise such as Yoga asanas and Sun Salutations help pacify Vata dosha and the twisting motions can massage the digestive organs and increase oxygen delivery and blood flow. Regular yoga can be very helpful in having more regular bowel activity.

Look to your diet—are you getting plenty of fiber? Vegetables, fruits and whole grains are high in fiber. Cheese, eggs, meat, packaged foods and overly refined foods can lead to constipation. Cold foods and drinks will interfere with digestion, leading to the build up of ama and causing constipation. Get to know which foods are vata aggravating and avoid them.

Warm oil massages in the morning before your bath or shower can help pacify Vata dosha.

Traveling can aggravate Vata, causing constipation. Eating lightly, drinking plenty of water, a warm oil massage and taking Maharishi Ayurveda Products Digest Tone or triphala with warm water will help keep Vata in line when traveling.

If you have chronic constipation, you probably have compromised a digestion. If home remedies are not helping, consider that it is time for Panchakarma, the Ayurveda series of detoxification treatments.

While the body has its own brilliant systems for the elimination of impurities, with chronic constipation the body can’t keep pace with the rate in which toxins (ama) build up in the tissues, cells and joints. According to Ayurveda, toxins or ama clog the system and form a breeding ground for disease. A 3 to 7-day cleansing program can start to remove the build-up of ama and restart your digestive process.

For more information on Ayurveda detox or cleansing programs, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa:

www.theraj.com

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Getting the Most Out of Our Food—Helpful Tips from Ayurveda and Modern Science

With the fullness of summer comes bustling farmers’ markets and overflowing shelves in the fruit and vegetable sections of our grocery stores. It is the time of the year when the availability of local produce is at its peak. Indulge! Studies have shown that eating seven or more servings of fruit and vegetables a day can extend life expectancy a staggering 42%.

To cook vegetables or to eat them raw is the question of the season. According to Ayurveda, this decision is best made with an understanding of your body type, your state of balance or imbalance, and the quality of your digestion.

Ayurveda’s main text, the Charak Samhita, recommends primarily cooked foods because cooking increases the element of agni that is essential for the assimilation of nutrients and their transformation into the bodily tissues. The higher proportion of nutrients available in raw food doesn’t count if you can’t digest, absorb and assimilate them. Let’s look first at body types and who can eat what. Then we’ll move on to specific foods and how to best make their nutrients available to us.

In order to choose the best option for your physiology, not only do you need to evaluate your individual physiology, it also helps take into account seasonal influences. In the summer, for instance, our body reacts to the high external heat by turning down our metabolism. This means that for many the ability to digest food is severely diminished.

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Raw Food vs Body Type

In general, those with Pitta, or Pitta/Kapha body types who do not have significant Vata imbalances can handle raw foods in their diet, especially in the late spring and summer seasons. This is because the element of “fire” or “agni” is very lively in their constitutions and they benefit from a cooling diet.

The overly cold, dry, light qualities of raw foods, however, may create problems for anyone with a severe Vata imbalance. They may find an increase in symptoms of abdominal gas, bloating, constipation, worry and anxiety, and dryness. Those wishing to balance or counter Vata imbalances do better with a diet that is warm, moist and easily digestible.

Those with Kapha imbalances may find that the cold nature of raw foods leads to allergies, sinus problems or asthma.

One solution for those who prefer raw foods but lack a strong Pitta component is to enjoy raw juices. Juicing or blending with “super blenders” that basically pulverize foods allows you to break down the cellulose the surrounds the outer layer of fruit and vegetable molecules, thus allowing you to derive optimum nutritional benefits.

Nutrient Availability in Foods 

It turns out that many vegetables only offer their full nutritional value when they have been cooked. Let’s look at how to get the most out of this summer’s fresh, organic vegetables.

It is important to note that when I refer to cooking vegetables, I am usually referring to steaming for 4 or 5 minutes or baking in the oven with a slight drizzle of oil. Obviously, mushy, over-cooked vegetables are not going to provide many healthful nutrients. Boiling vegetables removes many important minerals and nutrients.

Cooking vegetables reduces the mass of the vegetable, concentrating more nutrients with less bulk. Bitter greens like spinach and kale are generally more edible when cooked because cooking also eliminates the oxalic acid, which interferes with calcium absorption.

Cooking significantly improves the digestibility and bioavailability of starchy foods such as potatoes and yams, squashes. This is also true with grains and legumes.

(One note about whole grains: the phosphorus in bran is tied up in a substance called phytic acid. According to the book, Nourishing Traditions, phytic acid combines with iron, calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc in the intestinal tract, blocking their absorption. This is why many traditional ways of cooking grains include presoaking or fermenting grains before eating them. These processes neutralize the phytates, essentially predigesting the food so that their nutrients are more available. Phytic acid is also present in nuts, which also should be soaked before eating.)

Green beans always need to be cooked until soft otherwise, they are actually toxic. Raw beans are poisonous because they contain prussic acid, which is deactivated only by cooking.

Cooked carrots, spinach, asparagus, cabbage, and peppers supply more antioxidants such as carotenoids and ferulic acid to the body than they do when raw,

Mild heating, such as steaming, appears to improve the extractability of beta-carotene from vegetables, along with increasing betacarotene’s bioavailability. Beta-carotene absorption can be as low as 1-2% from raw vegetables such as carrots.

Lycopene in tomatoes is thought to be responsible for reducing the risk of some cancers and heart disease. Studies have shown that the absorption of lycopene is greater from cooked tomatoes. However cooking tomatoes can destroy other vitamins, so it is good to include raw tomatoes in one’s diet as well as cooked tomatoes.

Steaming asparagus ignites its cancer-fighting potential.

If you have any questions about which form of vegetables is best for you, check with an Ayurveda expert in your area. Ayurveda pulse assessment will reveal what kinds and forms of vegetables will be most helpful in creating a healthy balance for your mind/body system. Ayurveda recognizes the unique differences of each individual. In order to correctly determine your optimal requirements, it is important to understand your level of balance and imbalance. For information on Ayurvedic consultations, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa website:

http://www.theraj.com

Exercise to Uphold Health and Beauty

The winter-to-spring transition is a delicate time when it comes to physical activity. While exercise is beneficial in balancing the natural increase of Kapha, the Vata that has accumulated in our physiologies over the long, cold winter can make us prone to joint pain, back pain and muscle spasms. Therefore it is good to pay attention to what your body is telling you. Back off if you feel any twinges or pain. As you increase your exercise, think to balance Vata at the same time. Being regular with your morning oil massage and yoga exercises, and favor warm, nourishing foods that can help pacify Vata while you wake up your Kapha. A visit to an Ayurvedic expert is the ideal way to determine how much Vata has accumulated over the winter and what procedures are best to restore a healthy balance.

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That said, let’s look at the benefits of exercise. Exercise can help us look and feel better on almost every level.

  1. Improves digestion and prevents constipation: According to Ayurveda, poor digestion leads to an accumulation of ama, which is a contributing factor to most diseases and disorders. A study published by the Gastroenterological Society of Australia showed that exercise helps strengthen the walls of the abdomen and the intestinal muscles, allowing for the more efficient breakdown food by effectively moving it through your digestive tract. Even intermittent walking throughout the day can improve the functioning of your digestive tract.
  2. Helps beat anxiety, stress and depression: When we workout, our brain releases powerful, relaxing chemicals like seretonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. These hormones help relieve stress and anxiety. For this reason, exercise is often recommended to those with depression.
  3. Helps reverse aging. Reducing stress also means reducing the production of the stress-related hormone cortisol in the body. Cortisol has been shown to interfere with the production of collagen, the protein that helps keep our skin supple and elastic. Given that exercise boosts the production of collagen, it makes sense that walking, biking and other forms of physical activity can delay the onset of wrinkles and other signs of ageing.

Exercise also helps reverse the ageing process at the cellular level. According to a study conducted published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine, exercise helped reverse cell damage due to oxidative stress

  1. Helps improve sleep: A study published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine Reviews connected exercise with increased sleep hours. When we sleep our body produces a growth hormone that helps repair and rebuild body tissues.
  2. Gives us glowing skin. When you workout there is increased blood circulation in and around your face, giving your skin a healthy glow.
  3. Promotes healthy hair: Exercise helps increase blood flow to the scalp, keeping hair and its follicles healthy. It also helps circulate oxygenated blood to our hair, which makes it stronger.

If the end of winter brings with it poor sleep, increased joint and muscle pain, constipation, and other symptoms of Vata imbalance, you might want to consider Panchakarma or day spa treatments to help removed deep-seated Vata from the tissues. For more information on available treatments, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa website:

www.theraj.com

Pacifying Vata to Address Back Pain

Driving through my neighborhood this last week I kept seeing people preparing their houses and yards for winter. It occurred to me that this alertness to the change of seasons also needed to extend our own physiologies. As we head into the fall season it is very important to start taking measures to pacify Vata dosha. Vata controls all movement in the body and not surprisingly, it is the first dosha to move out of balance. Late fall and winter are known as Vata season because they are marked by the same qualities that characterize Vata: cold, dry, and moving. As Vata increases in the environment it increases in our bodies.

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Vata imbalances include insomnia, aching joints, arthritis, back pain, constipation, high blood pressure and anxiety. All body types are vulnerable to Vata imbalance at this time of the year, but those whose body types are predominantly Vata need to be especially alert to staying in balance. Today let’s look specifically at back and joint pain.

The Vata/Kapha Connection

One very common result of Vata imbalance is the sudden onset of back pain. Often it seems to come out of nowhere. You get out of bed in the morning or lean down to tie your shoe and suddenly find yourself immobilized.

Ayurveda recognizes that back pain is often the result of Vata and Kapha imbalances, aggravated by a build-up of ama. This helps explain why lower back pain often appears in the fall and winter, and why the incidences of back pain often increase with age. According to Ayurveda, when we are 60 and over we are in the Vata time of life. It makes sense that Vata imbalances — and their resulting problems — appear more frequently during Vata season and during the Vata period of life.

In the case of back pain, the build up of Vata interferes with the ability of Kapha dosha to support and lubricate the spine. This dryness further aggravates Vata, creating a vicious cycle leading to back pain, aches and stiffness in the joints, and constipation or difficulties with elimination.

Ama

Ama —toxins and impurities that accumulate in body—is another factor to be considered with back and joint pain. When Vata and Kapha are aggravated they mix with the ama, creating either a Vata-aggravated ama or a Kapha-aggravated ama. This ama can become lodged in the joints, blocking joint movement and interfering with the production of fluid lubricating the joints. This leads to cracking joints, stiffness, pain, loss of cartilage and overproduced bone growth at the joints resulting in osteoarthritis.

Treatment

Effective preventive treatment for chronic lower back pain should include regular stretching, such as yoga exercises. The authentic, traditional Ayurveda treatments (Panchakarma) offered at The Raj specialize in removing ama and impurities that have accumulated in the joints and tissues.  They also help balance Vata, allowing Kapha to once again function normally.

Diet

If you are prone to lower back pain, avoid eating Vata-aggravating foods such as dry foods and raw vegetables. Also avoid root foods, which not only aggravate Vata but also have certain properties that can adversely affect joints. To reduce ama, avoid cheese, meat and heavy, fried, or processed foods. Eat your main meal at noon and take a lighter meal in the evening. Drink lots of warm or hot beverages, such as herbal teas (like licorice root and ginger teas) throughout the day. Avoid cold, iced drinks and food. This is the time of year to make sure you include ghee and olive oil in your foods, as the oil helps combat the dryness of the season.

Daily Oil Massage

Pacifying Vata is the key to keeping everything else in balance. A simple home oil massage each morning or evening can help soothe Vata and also help remove ama from the skin tissues.

Relax

Many people find that their back goes out when they are under stress. In a stressful situation the whole body can tighten, tense, and can easily go into muscle spasm, which can push vertebrae out of place. At The Raj, daily practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique is recommended to reduce stress, thereby reducing incidences of lower back problems.

For more information on Panchakarma treatments or Transcendental Meditation, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa web site:

www.theraj.com

Creating Health Bite by Bite: The Wonders of Diet and Digestion

The process of eating and digesting is a wondrous thing. It is magic. It is alchemy. Ayurveda acknowledges this. In our Western culture the process of eating has become mindless or, at best, a form of entertainment. Too often as we eat we watch TV, have meetings or socialize or, worse, we eat standing or on the run. The consequences of this disconnection to the process of eating and digestion are seen in the growing prevalence of problems such as malabsorption, irritable bowel, food sensitivities, bloating, gastritis, indigestion/heartburn, and excess gas. It also leads to lowered immunity. Before opting for a flu shot this winter, think about fine-tuning your eating habits.

There is an ancient Ayurvedic proverb: “Without proper diet, medicine is of no use. With proper diet, medicine is of no need.” When we think of proper diet we need to think not just of what we eat but also how we eat and how we support our ability to digest and assimilate what we have eaten.

Let’s think about what happens when we eat. We take in vegetables, grains, and animal products and we transmute those materials into their fundamental components in a form that our cells can assimilate. From that we create tissues, organs, bones, and fluids. We eat a tomato and turn it into a heart. We are recreating ourselves everyday through a process to which we give little to no thought or attention.

According to Ayurveda, food is a tiny package of intelligence. The reason we eat is to extract and assimilate that intelligence. If digestion is incomplete or if we eat food that is essentially devoid of intelligence, we are deprive ourselves of the basic building blocks needed to create healthy balanced physiologies. What is the secret of good health? Choosing the right diet and maintaining a strong digestion. Everything else is icing on the cake. If you are looking to avoid colds and flues during the winter, if you are trying to avoid binge eating, if you are looking for more energy and focus, the answer may simply be to elevate eating to a position of proper respect and priority.

Let’s look at these two aspects of creating health.

Digestion

Ayurveda focuses on enhancing digestion so that we are able to get the most from the food we eat. Below are some general guidelines. However, if your digestion is compromised, you may benefit from an Ayurveda consultation in which individualized recommendations can be given to address your specific doshic imbalance and state of balance.

Eat only when hungry—when your digestive fire is strong. If you do not feel hungry, try eating a small slice of ginger with salt as you first sit down. This stimulates the digestive process.

Avoid cold foods and cold drinks while eating or immediately after meals. These will “douse the fire of digestion”.

Eat in a settled and quiet atmosphere. Avoid the telephone, television, reading material, and over-stimulating conversation during meals.

Avoid eating when upset.

Avoid eating when standing (or walking).

Savor each mouthful and chew your food well. When you chew your food, your body releases digestive enzymes in the stomach that help to break down the food. Saliva also contains digestive enzymes, so the longer you chew, the more time these enzymes have to start breaking down food, making digestion easier. When large particles of improperly chewed food enter your stomach, they may remain undigested when they enter your intestines. This may lead to gas, bloating, constipation, cramping and other digestive problems.

Eat until you are satisfied—but not full. Avoid overeating.  Leave room in your stomach for the digestive process to take place.

Sip small amounts room temperature or hot water during your meal.

After you are finished, sit quietly for at least 5 minutes. Don’t immediately jump up from the table.

Healthy Foods

The food you eat should contain lively intelligence. Processed food, canned and packaged foods are essentially “dead”. Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fresh dairy products can provide the intelligence your body needs to build healthy tissues every day.

Choose organic foods, when possible, so that you are not introducing harmful chemicals into your body. In addition, studies have shown that organic foods contain between 20 to 40% more antioxidant activity than conventional foodstuffs. These antioxidant compounds, which go by names like carotenoids and flavonoids, protect cells from the effects of aging and from the sort of damage that can lead to cancer.

Food without intelligence or heavy foods such as meat and fried foods tax the body’s digestion capabilities and end up creating ama in the body. Ama blocks the body’s channels of communication and delivery. Thus as well as not supplying your body with needed intelligence, these foods end up blocking other sources of intelligence from reaching your cells.

For more information on gastritis, constipation and other digestive disorders or to schedule a consultation, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa website:

www.theraj.com

Relieve Constipation, Pacify Pitta and Boost Immunity with Triphala

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While constipation is often associated with winter and Vata aggravation, it can also become a problem in the summer months. Vacation travel can aggravate Vata and soaring temperatures reduce our internal fire, leading to sluggish digestion. Add in the temptation to eat ice cream and enjoy iced drinks and it is not surprising that despite the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, constipation can be a summer time hazard.

One of the best herbal remedies for keeping the digestive tract healthy and toned is the traditional Ayurvedic formula, Triphala. The name “Triphala” means “the three fruits”. It is comprised of the Indian fruits amalaki, bibhitaki, and haritaki. These three fruits work together to support the elimination process. They also help to balance all three doshas.

Amalaki is a fruit that supports intestinal repair. Amalaki has a sour flavor and is cooling, astringent and mildly laxative. It is used to treat Pitta imbalances, including ulcers, inflammation of the stomach and intestines, liver congestion and constipation. In various studies, Amalaki has been shown to have a mild anti-bacterial property, as well as pronounced expectorant, anti-viral and cardio-tonic activity. It has been shown to help lower cholesterol and is high in vitamin C, having 20 times the vitamin C content of an orange. While appropriate for all doshas Triphala is particularly effective for balancing Pitta.

Bibhitaki acts to pull the old mucus off the intestinal wall. Bibhataki is astringent, tonic, digestive and anti-spasmodic. While its primary flavor is astringent, it has secondary flavors of sweet, bitter, and pungent. It targets imbalances associate with Kapha dosha. Specifically, Bibhataki purifies and balances excess mucus. It is helpful in treating asthma, bronchiole conditional and allergies.

Haritaki strengthens the intestinal muscles so that it can contract more efficiently when the bowels need to move. Traditionally it is used for heart conditions, spastic colon and other intestinal disorders. It’s believed to have a variety of positive health effects on the heart and brain. It has an anti-inflammatory and is calming to Vata.

Most laxatives act as irritants to the bowel, and over time can actually cause the body to require the use of more laxatives. During each meal, the intestinal tract produces a certain amount of mucus that helps lubricate it. If we are not eating enough fiber or if we are eating foods that create ama or compromise our digestion, digestive mucus can up in the digestive tract, clogging the little hair-like villi that help the body absorb its nutrients. With the overuse of laxatives, the mucosa can become desensitized. This creates a very sluggish and non-responsive bowel. Triphala helps to cleanse the mucus off the digestive villi, making for a more efficient digestive process. Triphala is designed to restore the muscular function and contractibility of the intestinal wall.

In traditional Ayurveda medicine, Triphala has important uses beyond its ability to stimulate digestion, relieve constipation and cleanse the gastrointestinal tract. It is also is said to:

Reduce serum cholesterol

Improve circulation

Stimulate the immune system

Contain 31% linoleic acid

Have a marked cardio-protective effect

Reduce high blood pressure

Improve anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties

Ayurveda also recommends Triphala in the treatment of diabetes and in the treatment of eye diseases.

Contemporary research on Triphala has shown preliminary evidence that Triphala has significant immunostimulatory effects on cellular immune response. Increases in the absolute number of these cells may provide a novel adjuvant therapy for HIV/AIDS positive people in terms of immunological improvement.

Triphala is available in power and tablet form. The powder can be quite bitter in taste, so many people prefer to take it in tablet form. The Raj Maharishi Ayurveda Health Spa sells an organic version of this traditional formula in their herb shop under the name of Digest Tone.

Visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa herb shop:

www.theraj.com

The Raj Herb Shop

Keep Balanced in Winter with Ayurveda

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By the beginning of February, those who live in northern climates have reached their peak of Vata aggravation. Months of cold, dry, windy weather results in an increase of those same qualities within our physiology: dryness, coolness, movement and quickness. Once our Vata becomes imbalanced we can start experiencing problems sleeping, aching joints, emotional instability, less mental clarity, dryness of the skin, increased sensitivity to the cold weather and a low frustration level.

With months of cold weather still ahead of us, this is the time to adopt a diet and daily routine that will help settle Vata. One key to balancing Vata is regular routine—eating and going to sleep at the same time, for example. Going to bed early on a regular basis is actually one of the most powerful tools available for balancing Vata.

You may find yourself thinking more about food than you did last summer. When the cold, dry weather of winter begins to aggravate Vata dosha, we naturally crave hotter, more unctuous foods that help counter this effect. An increase in appetite is also the natural result of the cold weather—it tends to cause our digestion fire to increase. As long as you don’t eat more than you can easily digest, large portions at meals can help keep Vata in balance.

One very important point is that the food we eat in the winter should always be warm. Never eat or drink ice-cold food or beverages. Oil is our friend in the winter. Using olive oil and ghee in our meals will help counter the drying effects of Vata.

Along this same line of thinking, daily oil massage with sesame oil is particularly helpful in the winter. The warm, unctuous quality of the oil is the perfect antidote to the cold, dry qualities of Vata. If you are Pitta by nature, you may prefer coconut oil or olive oil, as sesame oil is naturally heating. Ideally you should heat your oil before applying it. Letting your bottle of oil float in hot water for a few minutes will bring the oil to a nice, soothing temperature. Try to keep the oil on for a while before jumping into the shower or bath. 10 minutes letting the oil soak into your skin is ideal.

Vata imbalances often lead to constipation. Remember to drink plenty of warm fluids during the day. Drinking two glasses of warm water when you wake up can help stimulate bowel functioning. Hot water with black salt can also be helpful in this area.

It is easy to find oneself becoming sedentary during the colder months. Be sure that you incorporate Yoga or some kind of gentle stretching exercise into your routine, as well as other comfortable and easy exercise. Don’t strain or over-do in your winter exercise routine. Spring is a much better time for vigorous exercise, as that is the time when Kapha is increasing and we naturally have more strength and stamina.

If you find that diet, lifestyle and self-massage are not helping, it may be that your Vata imbalance has gone deep into the tissues. In this case Panchakarma, the traditional rejuvenation treatments of Ayurveda, are recommended. Panchakarma removes Vata from the tissues by using various herbal decoctions and oil preparations in combination with specialized treatments to treat the root of the Vata imbalance.

For more information on Ayurveda consultations and Panchakarma treatments, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa web site:

www.theraj.com

The Healing Powers of Hot Water

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Ayurveda considers removing toxins and impurities from the physiology, and preventing their build-up in the tissues, to be a key part of staying healthy. Ayurveda refers to these toxins and impurities as “ama”. Because ama disrupts the delicate biochemistry in the tissues and blocks the channels of circulation and communication within the physiology, it is a contributing factor in many physical disorders. The build-up of ama often starts with poor digestion. A sluggish digestion creates toxins and poor elimination, which allows the toxins to be absorbed into the circulation system and transported throughout the body.

Many of the recommendations given by Ayurveda experts during a consultation address the need for internal cleansing or detoxification. Of those that can be done at home, sipping hot water throughout the day is easy and effective.

Hot water flowing through the digestive tract helps to dissolve impurities and cleanse the digestive and eliminative systems. The result is an improvement in digestion and assimilation of food, improved elimination, and prevention of the formation of ama.

In addition, the hot water is absorbed into the circulatory system and travels throughout the entire body. The extra warmth and fluid aids in opening all the various channels of circulation, dissolving accumulated impurities and washing them from the body.

Many people report that after just a few weeks of sipping hot water throughout the day, digestion and elimination has improved and they feel fresher, lighter and more energetic.

Drinking hot water (water which just cool enough to be sipped comfortably) is especially helpful during vata and kapha season. During the hot summer months, warm or room-temperature water may be preferred, especially for those with pitta body types or with pitta-related disorders.

Ideally, Ayurveda recommends that water be boiled for ten minutes. Boiling the water allows excessive minerals deposits and impurities to precipitate out and increases the water’s lightness and its cleansing influence.

A slice of fresh ginger root, a pinch of turmeric or a few fennel seeds may be added to the boiling water if desired. These herbs can help increase the cleansing influence of the water in your system. Lemon may be added if it is not upsetting to the stomach.

For more information on Ayurveda consultations, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa:

www.theraj.com