February 2, 2024

An Ayurvedic Winter Cleanse.


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I am currently doing a winter cleanse that is quite different from all other ayurvedic ones I have done.

I started doing cleanses in Spring 2022 out of curiosity and kept trying them with different ayurvedic teachers to see if some worked better than others. Most are the same, but when adding in panchakarma techniques, it takes them to another level.

Typically, I do the spring and fall cleanses for 10 days with Kate O’Donnell’s Ayurvedic Living Institute. I have done numerous seven-day kichari resets with Myra Lewin’s Hale Pule’s Agni Therapy. Regardless of whose school’s protocol, they are cookie-cutter for the most part. In the fall of 2023, I did my first panchakarma—a harsh cleanse—as an at home version through the California College of Ayurveda.

When I saw an ad for Dr. Lad’s Ayurvedic Institute’s Winter Cleanse, I immediately registered. I am impressed. I was taken to his platform and reviewed the material. Complete with shopping lists and instructions. We had a launch meeting on January 12th, and starting Sunday the 21st, we met daily for an hour zoom over 10 days. We have a close-out meeting today, on February 2nd.

After day one, we reported at the meeting our hunger level, tongue coating, and bowel movement activity from the day before. Ayurveda is not for the shy; we discuss pee, poop, and libido. Such an open lifestyle. Insert smile.

Why is this one different? It adds different herbs, herbal massage oil, and some panchakarma procedures. I could not get the chyvanprash since it is out of stock. I decided to use the castor oil as a pack over my liver and pelvis on the full moon and will do it again on the weekend—swallowing it did not seem palatable.

Below, I will detail my daily routines:

1. Rose water on my face and in my eyes.

2. Tongue scrape and damp brush my teeth.

3. Ginger tea, honey from ethically treated bees.

4. Gudduchi powder in my tea.

5. Kichari or cooked veggies.

6. Rest, sauna, cuddle with Hamlet.

7. Short walk to get sun in my eyes.

8. Neti pot and nasya oil to cleanse the nostrils.

9. Zoom with the teachers.

10. Healthy vata tablets.

11. Prepare large lunch with kichari and lots of ghee, increasing ghee daily. Consume hing—hingvastak before meals.

12. Eat, post-prandial lie on my left side, short walk.

13. Study, classes.

14. Moderate to light kichari.

15. Self oil massage with herbal oil—mahaganesha.

16. Medicated ghee, mine with triphala. Triphala tablets too.

17. Brush teeth, daily oil swish.

18. In bed before nine. Sleeping in a cool, dark, quiet, electronic-free room.

Below are new to me, two herbs, one supplement:

>>Guduchi powder: a nutritive tonic to support immunity and skin health; it also eliminates toxins.

>>Hingvastak: Hing for short; it reduces excess vata and relieves gas and bloating.

>>Healthy vata: removes excess vata, brings overall well-being.

I cheated on day six. I needed a ghee and kichari break. However, I got on track the next day. Switching to balanced meals my last three days: different grains, lots of veggies, normal amount of ghee. Exercise returns soon, which makes me happy.

Also, since I skipped the basti enemas, which I failed on the fall panchakarma, I have two basti packets of herbs and will create a dough dam for my pelvis on my last two evenings. I do not recall the herbs but when I used them previously, I had never heard of them.

I feel clean inside and out and my home bidet has gotten a workout since these promise lots of toilet time. Although I feel drained during the process, after, I feel light, cleaned inside and out. My energy levels start to lift. My skin glows and feels smooth. Spiritually and mentally, I feel calmer and happy.

I will do this next winter; the community is supportive, and I enjoy the camaraderie.

So if you want to refresh, renew, rejuvenate, eat a ton of ghee, and swallow herbal formulas, and refrain from exercise, vices, and se—yes, sex—for 10 days, this may be the formula for you.


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