Detoxing during Springtime
by Coen Van der Kroon
Detox is in Fashion
Everyone is talking about 'detox' these days. Especially in spring. And that it is also 'according to Ayurveda'. What is detoxing actually, why in spring, and what does Ayurveda mean by a detox?
Our body has three Doshas: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha - they are our biological managers, according to Ayurveda. In other words, these Doshas are like motors in the body that help maintain health. Let's look at 'Kapha Dosha': it is the manager that keeps our body fresh and provides it with good building blocks. Our body consists, largely, of water. This water must both serve as a building material, together with binding elements, and it must remain fresh and alive.
Refreshing the System
Everyone knows the image of a pool of stagnant water that eventually starts to stink, and where anything can grow. We have to prevent this from happening in our bodies, especially in the parts of our bodies that are particularly sensitive to it. That is what Ayurveda does with its way of detoxing. And keeping the Kapha Dosha manager healthy, strong, and clean plays an important role in this.
Spring is a Kapha season: new and fresh water becomes available for new and fresh growth. We can support this by removing old stagnant water or watery tissues from our bodies, so that new and strong watery tissues can take their place. Think, for example, of your mucous membranes. If this does not work, you can catch a cold more easily. Those same mucous membranes become a breeding ground for 'things from the outside'.
Extra Cleaning Support during Spring
External influences cannot be prevented. However, the impact they have on your water tissues can be reduced. This can also be very important in seasons other than spring. Especially when we live inside a lot, in spaces with less ventilation and fresh air.
How can you actively help this process?
In Kapha-sensitive periods, including spring, make sure you eat less Kapha-increasing foods:
- Eat less - or temporarily avoid - dairy products, fats, meat, and heavy foods
- Avoid non-fresh food, and avoid leftovers
- Fast every now and then
- Maintain good personal hygiene of nasal and oral cavities; these are the Kapha-sensitive water tissues of your body
- Keep your nasal tissues healthy and strong with cleansing nasal oil ('Nasya' oil, and Anu Taila, in particular, are good)
- Keep your oral cavity clean and strong; gargle with some warm water after eating and use Ayurvedic tooth-powder, or Ayurvedic toothpaste with spices, salt, and herbs)
- Cleanse your throat area regularly by gargling with cleansing substances
- Give your bronchi and your lungs more fresh space, for instance by regular, steaming water with mild essential oils
- Get more and adequate exercise, in order to stimulate your inner tissue metabolism; this can help to burn off some of the sticky winter leftovers.
- During spring, breathe in the fresh air, and let yourself be filled with warmth and light from the rays of spring sunshine, and reduce stress by thinking of all the beauty of new, blooming, sprouting fresh life.
Coen van der Kroon was born in Utrecht, The Netherlands in 1962. He has an academic background in Greek and Latin Languages and Culture. His MA thesis was on ancient Greek gynecology with a comparison between Hippocratic and Ayurvedic Medicine. This was the start of his interest in and study of ayurveda.