Ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
The Winter solstice on 22nd December is nearly here signalling the start of Winter. Over the next 3-4 weeks nature guides us to be aware of Ritu Sandhi – the cleansing gap between two seasons. Autumn seems to have flown by!
With this change of season comes a special opportunity to move with the rhythms of nature in order to enjoy a healthy and happy winter season ahead. Here’s what you can do.
For the two weeks prior the solstice on December 22nd and up until the 9th of January your body is guided by nature to eliminate any impurities that have accumulated over the Autumn months. If you have not done a cleanse at the end of Summer or maybe even longer, then you are likely to be carrying a heavy load of circulating impurities. During Ritu Sandhi your body is especially ready to release these impurities and a gentle cleanse or digestive reset at this time can really make a difference.
The impurities come from partial or incomplete digestion, being exposed to stress or toxins and from lifestyle imbalances such as lack of sleep, irregular meal times, lack of exercise and eating canned, frozen, reheated or processed foods.
Upon writing reheated or frozen foods, a memory comes of living in Devon and attending a 10 Day World Peace Assembly in Holland over the Xmas and New Year holidays in the 80’s.. During a consultation with a women Vaidja at the course my interest in becoming a Maharishi Ayurveda Consultant was sparked. I was at this time teaching in a school for challenged adolescent boys.
In order to have a healthy lunch I had been previously preparing my lunches on the weekend and then freezing lunch size portions. I thought I was doing the right thing and being very responsible for my health and wellbeing.
I was shocked to hear when I meet with the lovely Ayurvedic Lady Doctor that cooked or processed foods, frozen or canned foods are hard for the body to digest. This is because the ‘pranic value’ of the food is greatly reduced when food is more than 4 hours old or is reheated.
Thermos Flask Lunch
I was greatly relieved later on in life to learn about the Thermos Flask Lunch that provides a freshly cooked lunch, with only 5-10 minutes preparation in the morning. Here is a link to the Thermos Flask Lunch to make it easy for you too! “A Window of Opportunity for Cleansing“
My experiences over the next month confirmed for me the power of the simple understandings that Maharishi Ayurveda provides. As I changed my food habit and took the recommended herbals I noticed my weight gain and sluggish metabolism began to be addressed. Other niggles and discomforts reduced too. There was a noticeable improvement in mental ease, ability to focus, improved memory and I was handling stressful situations more easily. I hadn’t known that old food could have such a dampening effect on my mental and physical health and happiness.
It can make a big difference in your health and wellbeing to complete a gentle Winter cleanse over the next 3-4 weeks. You can fit the cleanse around your Xmas celebrations starting it within the first 10 days of January if that is easier for you.
As Vata dosha is most active during Winter time, a cleanse at this time needs to also take care of your nervous system by maintaining balance while cleansing. With this in mind I suggest the following herbs to help gently cleanse and balance the bowel (prime site of Vata in the body), kidneys, liver and lymph, while simultaneously nourishing the nervous system.
After cleaning your teeth and tongue then drink 1-2 glasses of warm water with 2-3 squeezes of lemon or lime juice in each glass. Also add a pinch of rock salt to each glass. Put your full attention on drinking each glass. Then once finished go about your morning routine. If possible this is an ideal time for you to complete some Sun Salutations. With one fluid cycle of postures that only take a few moments, you can strengthen and tone all your main muscle groups. Or you may have some other form of exercise or stretching that you like to do at this time.
- If you have a normal appetite take 2 tablets of Detox (MA1010) 15-30 minutes prior breakfast.
- Or if your appetite tends to be sharp take 2 tablets of Detox Pitta (MA1663) 15-30 minutes after breakfast. The herbals in the Detox Pitta formulas support cleansing of the whole body right down to the cellular level.
Have a light breakfast of baked or stewed apple cooked with cloves. If you typically do not have a regular daily bowel motion then soak 6-8 prunes overnight and take them warm with the stewed apple. After 30 minutes if hungry follow this with a bowl of warm cereal.
- After Breakfast take 1 tablet of Organic Tulsi.
When the sun goes down, so does our capacity to digest efficiently. Thus impurities accumulate when we eat a heavy evening meal containing meat, cheese, sour cream, deep fried foods or yogurt. Favour freshly made vegetable and or lentil soups with some rice or quinoa cooked in the soup. Or have a lightly sauteed medley of seasonal vegetables that you enjoy sprinkled with Vata Aromatic Seasoning.
- Prior to eating if you have a normal appetite take 2 tablets of Deotx (MA1010) 15-30 minutes prior eating.
- Or if your appetite tends to be sharp take 2 tablets of Detox Pitta (MA1663) 15-30 minutes after eating.
- After eating (15-30 minutes) take 1-2 tablets of Organic Tulsi.
- Take 2 tablets of MA686 Ashwagandha/Indian Asparagus formula.
- If you have a tendency for a sluggish bowel also take 2 tablets of Organic Triphala Tablets (MA505) at bedtime.
Botanical Name: Ocimum tenuiflorum L.
Common Name: Holy Basil
It is closely related to the sweet basil plant widelyused in the West.
Tulsi is referred to in Ayurvedic texts as “Queen of Herbs,” “The Incomparable One,” or the “Mother Medicine of Nature.” It is a very special herb which is grown at many Indian homes as it is considered to create purity and lightness to the body, mind and spirit. The primary tastes are bitter, pungent and astringent. It is Kapha reducing so is helpful when completing a seasonal cleanse or help prevent respiratory congestion is present. It is also used to pacify Vata and Pitta as well.
My personal experience is that it is very effective in preventing nasal and respiratory congestion. It has increased my resilience to stress and definitely supports purity and clarity of awareness. In my opinion it stands up to the names it has been given.
Traditionally it is used to support respiratory health, meditation and spiritual practices, for joint health, to help prevent heart burning to bloating and to support the digestive organs. Modern research has identified it helps enhance resistance to disease, helps maintain healthy blood sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Wishing you the bliss of balance this Winter
Linda Sinden, Maharishi AyurVeda Consultant
Linda Sinden has been a practising Maharishi Ayurveda Consultant since 1990 and is a regular contributor to our health articles. She has a practice in Auckland, New Zealand and also provides phone or Skype sessions for those who need assistance, but don’t have a consultant in their vicinity.
Mobile: +64 212237525