And the beat goes on….here I am post-cleanse.  I wish I could say that it was the miraculous transformation that so many have witnessed in their own cleanses.  Indeed, there were micro-changes.  I spent a lot of the time observing my physical reaction to limiting sugars, caffeine, processed foods and most proteins as well as my emotional and mental reactions.  Some of the physical observations were easy to spot, like less flatulence (we are all friends here, right?) while others not so much (lightness, energy).  What was apparent in my moods, were increased irritability by afternoon time, fixation on my cravings and beginning each day on a very positive note.

So would a cleanse be beneficial for you?  And which one? There are so many varieties of cleanses as there are diets.  My friend and colleague, Lisa Scarborough, is creating a program for wellness which will include a cleanse according to the Ayurvedic dosha system.  Read more on the Ayurvedic system from our friends at by Nadya Andreeva  Once Lisa’s program is ready, I will let you know.

Ayurveda is a holistic science of health, focusing on maintaining a physically and emotionally balanced state. Ayurveda began about 5,000 – 6,000 years ago when Indian monks were looking for new ways to be healthy. Revering their bodies like temples, the monks believed that preserving their health would help them meditate and develop spiritually. Over thousands of years of observations, they gathered all their conclusions and advice and preserved it for future generations. This collection of knowledge came to be known as the “science or knowledge of life” — Ayurveda. 
How is Ayurveda different from modern medicine?

  • In Ayurveda, every individual is unique and there is no diet or lifestyle routine that works for everyone.
  • Prevention is key. Ayurveda focuses on providing specific advice and guidance on how to maintain physical and emotional health.
  • Food and lifestyle routines are considered the most important medicine. If you come to an Ayurvedic doctor with a complaint, you are more likely to leave with a recipe than with a prescription for pills.

How does Ayurveda work?
Ayurveda is based on the principles of three doshas. Doshas are the energies that make up every individual, which perform different physiological functions in the body: 

The 3 Dosha types:
1. Vata Dosha — Energy that controls bodily functions associated with motion, including blood circulation, breathing, blinking, and your heartbeat. 

  • In balance: There is creativity and vitality. 
  • Out of balance: Can produce fear and anxiety.

2. Pitta Dosha — Energy that controls the body’s metabolic systems, including digestion, absorption, nutrition, and your body’s temperature. 

  • In balance: Leads to contentment and intelligence. 
  • Out of balance: Can cause ulcers and anger.

3. Kapha Dosha — Energy that controls growth in the body. It supplies water to all body parts, moisturizes the skin, and maintains the immune system. 

  • In balance: Expressed as love and forgiveness. 
  • Out of balance: Can lead to insecurity and envy.

Each person has all three Doshas, but usually one or two dominate. Various Dosha proportions determine one’s physiological and personality traits, as well as general likes and dislikes. For example Vata types will prefer hot weather to cold and Kapha types are more likely to crave spicy foods than other types. Generally these are considered to be characteristics of each mind/body type:

The Poses

Belly Down

Props: 2 or more blankets, neck rolls
Benefits: soothing to the nervous system, grounding, stimulates the
digestive system, gentle chest opener, lengthens the legs, ankles, releases the pelvis

Place a blanket for the chest to lie on as well as fill in the belly area and one blanket for a pillow. Lie belly down with legs extended, arms bent slightly out to the side. Can hold onto your neck roll to ground through the palms. Turn your head to one side and change direction when you need to.  Additional support at the ankles. Add a blanket over top for comfort and warmth.

Another Version of Opening up the Chest and Comforting the Belly

Supported Belly Wrap Pose (Minimal Prop)

Props: 1-2 blankets
Benefits: grounding, soothes abdominal organs, relaxes and relieve fatigue in the legs, opens chest

Open blanket so that you have a longer rectangle, fold this rectangle over approx. 4 times, smoothing each fold so no creases appear.  Lay on your belly with the blanket between your lower navel area and the breastbone, legs stretch out.  Arms and hands can form a pillow under your head or use a neck roll.

Wrap extra ends of the blanket over your back and add another blanket for grounding.  Stay for 5 minutes or however long to release into the earth.

Reclined Bound Angle

Benefits: opens the hips and groin facilitating blood and energy flow to the urinary tract and reproductive organs. Opens the chest and abdomen benefiting breathing problems. 
Props: bolster, 4 blocks (or firm cushions, pillows or rolled-up blankets), 4 blankets and one extra blanket for warmth, strap and eye pillow

Place a block lengthwise under one end of a bolster to prop it up on an incline, add another block under bolster for stability. We used the wall in this week’s class placing the bolster at a higher elevation. Place a double-fold blanket on floor next to low end of bolster and a long rolled blanket on top next to bolster (for sacral support). Sit with your back to the short, low end of the bolster. Place two blocks where your knees will rest (can top with a soft blanket or use other props as necessary for propping knees)  Bring your legs into Bound Angle Pose with the soles of your feet together. Wrap a blanket around your feet to create a feeling of containment.  Lie back on the bolster. Place supports under your arms so that they are not dangling and there is no feeling of stretch in the chest. Stay in the pose for 10 to 15 minutes.

Legs up on Bolster

  Props: bolster, two blocks, blanket, neck pillow, eye pillow  

Benefits: may help reduce swelling in legs, release tension in pelvis, gentle chest opener, relaxing, great for end of day, reduces heat

The photo demonstrates Legs Up version with two blocks placed under the bolster. Another variation is to keep the Reclined Bound Angle set-up as above and lay the legs on the bolster at that angle.  Legs will be at more of an incline.  Use as many blankets as you need to ensure that your low back is comfortable.