There has been a groundswell in recent years against the idea of ‘cleansing’ and ‘detoxing,’ since the restriction associated with cleansing can feed into toxic diet culture and create unhealthy eating habits and mindset around body image and food. In Ayurveda, cleansing is seen as a gentle return to balance and a way to support your body’s natural processes. There’s a focus on making changes sustainably, slowly, and carefully to support and show gratitude for the body rather than be at war with it. It’s cleansing without stripping the body of its nutrients or the mind of its peace. An intelligently designed cleanse can actually help to foster respect for the body as a temple. Our bodies are our temples and we are their keepers. 

 

Why does the body need help detoxing?

Our bodies have detox processes built in. Our livers, kidneys, and lymphatic system all work together to remove toxins from the body. And they do a wonderful job of it if we get out of their way. The problem is that inhibit our body’s ability to detoxify by overwhelming our digestion with the wrong foods, not listening to the cues our bodies give us, and flooding our systems with environmental toxins. These factors create what we call Ama in Ayurveda. Ama blocks the energetic channels in the body, leads to inefficient digestion, and creates doshic imbalance throughout the body. 


What is Ama?


Ama translates to ‘undigested’ and refers primarily to the toxic buildup caused by improperly digested food, but extends to any kind of toxic buildup created as a byproduct of metabolic processes. In Ayurveda, Ama is seen as the root cause of the majority of disease. Ama is present in all doshic constitutions and it can take assume different forms and show up in different organs and tissues  based on which Dosha is imbalanced. Ama disrupts subtle energy channels which leads to stagnation and disease. 


What Causes Ama?

  1. Improperly Digested Food - In Ayurveda, digestion is foundational to overall wellbeing, and when food isn’t being digested properly, it causes imbalance throughout the body. 
  2. Accumulated Waste - Excess unwanted bacteria produces cytotoxins which negatively impact cell function. 
  3. Doshic Imbalance in the Tissues - Aggravated Doshas can get lodged into the tissues which eventually leads to dysfunction and disease.
  4. Unresolved or Repressed Emotions - Unprocessed emotions create stagnation and tension in the mind. 

How Do You Know if You Have Excess Ama and Need a Cleanse?


  • Body Aches - Body Aches are caused by clogged energetic channels due to excess Ama.
  • Irregular Tongue Coating - Vata Imbalance: brown/black coating, Pitta Imbalance: yellow/green coating, Kapha Imbalance: white/grey coating 
  • Fatigue/ Malaise/ Sluggishness
  • Heaviness/ Bloating/ Water Retention
  • Signs of Vata Flowing Improperly: constipation, headaches, menstrual problems, burping, nausea, hiccups
  • Low Appetite, Lack of Taste 
  • Low Sexual Energy
  • Brain Fog

What is the Best Way to Cleanse and Rebalance?


In Ayurveda, the goal of detoxification is to get out of the body’s way so it is able to purify and cleanse itself efficiently and effectively. Rejuvenation, not deprivation, is the goal.


Lightening up the diet is a really good starting point. Incorporate freshly cooked, easily digestible, organic foods, and make sure to wait until the last meal is fully digested before eating again. Sip on warm water and stomach-soothing teas and broths. Cook and eat mindfully, chew food slowly, and let yourself eat without distraction. 


If you feel ready for a more intensive cleanse, try a nourishing and detoxifying cleanse such as our Surya Home Cleanse. The Surya Home Cleanse is designed to gently pull toxins from the body. It begins with a ghee oleation process that draws impurities out of the tissues. The diet is kept low fat and vegan to allow the ghee to work deeply without interruption. On the final day of the cleanse, a gentle flush is used to sweep away everything that the ghee drew out of the tissues. The cleanse revitalizes the mind and body, heals digestion, removes ama, and leaves you feeling lighter both physically and emotionally. Our Cleanse Kit with all the essentials you need to get started can be found here.