Why is this time of year so important?
Author: Linda Sinden Date Posted:14 August 2019
We are just on the edge of the gap between seasons called ritu sandhi. This is a special time of the year where your body’s natural cleansing systems go into a “self-repair phase” to help cleanse accumulated impurities in order to rejuvenate you!
It’s quite remarkable when one stands back and sees the wisdom in how nature has designed our self-repair systems. During winter we eat to stay warm and to support energy during the colder days when the energy of the sun is less. We naturally gravitate towards heavier meals during winter, with more carbohydrates, oils and fats. When we eat more than what we need, the excess is stored within the body’s tissues awaiting the thaw of spring, to signal it is time to cleanse this build up of impurities from our tissues.
With a little thought, one can imagine what happens if this stored excess is left to accumulate over time from season to season and year to year. Ayurveda explains that this buildup of impurities, or ama, is a primary cause of niggles or discomfort as well as "chronic" disorder or obstinate symptoms that don’t go away even with modern medical or "natural" treatment approaches. Ama is probably blocking the effectiveness of your treatments.
Understanding this can help put you in the driving seat of restoring well-being and maintaining health over time.
What is ama?
Ama is the Ayurvedic term for the build-up of toxins, impurities and blockages in your physiology. Ama can become aggravated where it has localized in your tissues and gives rise to stiffness, aches and pains, heaviness, tiredness and dullness.
Dr Nancy Lonsdorf an MD with deep knowledge of Maharishi Ayurveda, has a helpful way of explaining this process:
“Ama can come from environmental pollutants, mental and emotional disorders and a variety of other sources. However, ama mainly comes from improperly digested foods. As a result of the indigestion large, mis-shaped molecules become absorbed into the bloodstream as they have not been broken down properly in the digestive tract. Because the various channels and openings of the body are structured for smaller molecules, the large ama particles start to block the fine pores and channels within cells and throughout the body. Many symptoms result from this process.
For example because the cell pores are blocked they can start to build up toxins inside or even suffer from malnutrition, as nutrients can't get in from the outside. As a result even though a person may have eaten a large meal they soon get hunger signals from the body because certain tissues truly are starving. The person eats more to satisfy this false hunger and starts to put on more weight, creates more ama, and gets dragged into a downward spiral of increasing imbalance on all levels. “
What happens next?
Once ama builds in an area it can then overflow or spread about aggravating, disrupting or confusing the delicate biochemistry of your body. When the ama becomes mixed with the dryness of Vata imbalance, or the heat of Pitta imbalance, or the dampness of Kapha imbalance then a more destructive form of ama is created. Your immune system can begin to perceive this ama as an invader giving rise to inflammation and an auto-immune response against your body’s own tissues. This then results in auto-immune conditions with pain and/or swelling, such as arthritis, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, cysts and a variety of tumours.
How are you doing?
Review the following to see what are your current signs of ama:
- I wake up tired even after a good night’s sleep.
- I feel lethargic
- My tongue is coated especially upon awakening in the morning
- I don't feel real hunger even when I haven't eaten for hours
- I have generalized aches and pains. They are often noticed the day after eating certain heavy foods, like meat, cheeses, desserts and fried foods
- I lack mental clarity and energy
- I have a sense of heaviness in the abdomen, legs or body as a whole
- I feel weary and unenthusiastic
- I experience frequent indigestion, like gas bloating and/or heartburn
- I feel blocked in the body, for example constipation, sinus congestion or difficulty breathing.
Spring Clean Action Plan
Below I explain a gentle but effective cleanse to help you make the most of this ritu sandhi - the gap between winter and spring during the end of August until mid September (southern hemisphere).
- Upon waking take a drink of lemon or lime in lukewarm water with 1 tsp of honey.
- 30 minutes prior breakfast, lunch and evening meal take 1 tablet of Congest Assist
- 30 minutes after meals take 1 tablet of Elim Tox with 1 flat tsp of Manjistha powder mixed into ½ a cup of Kapha Tea.
- For breakfast stew an apple or pear with 1-3 cloves. Add a couple of figs or 4-8 prunes that have been soaked overnight. Sit and eat your breakfast with full attention. If you have a strong hunger in the morning then wait for 30 minutes before having a warm cereal.
- Drink Be Trim Tea or Kapha Tea - sips every 15-30 minutes.
- Favour warm food and drinks, avoid cold or raw until summer is on the horizon.
- Introduce more foods from the Kapha balancing food list
- If you eat meat, it is best to have it at lunch and take in small amounts. Experiment with some vegetarian options where you can.
- Cook with Kapha Churna or sprinkle over your lunch and evening meal to ensure your meals are balanced.
- Detoxifying Tea - boil 2 litres of water in the morning and add the following:
¼ teaspoon whole cumin
½ teaspoon whole coriander
½ teaspoon whole fennel
Let steep for ten minutes with the lid on. Strain and pour into a thermos and sip throughout the day every 15 minutes. Make a new batch each morning.
- The most important suggestion for Kapha is exercise, exercise, exercise. First thing upon rising is the best time of day for reducing Kapha dosha with exercise.
- Have your main quantity of food at lunch time and a light evening meal by 6.00pm.
- Be in bed by 9.45pm and wake just before the sun is rising to help reduce the heavy quality of Kapha dosha.
- Use warming aromas like those in Kapha aroma oil to help stimulate and balance Kapha dosha within you.
Wishing you the bliss of balance…