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Ayurvedic Cleanse

An Ayurvedic cleanse renews your body on all levels. Our high intake of sensory experiences food,
information, emotions, relationships, pollutants and toxins, travel, driving, physical activity and so on layers
stress on the body. An Ayurvedic cleanse helps remove the impurities that build when we are taking in more than
we can process.
A complete and formal Ayurvedic cleanse is called Panchakarma and can be done under the supervision of a
trained Ayurvedic practitioner. However, you can apply the basic principles of an Ayurvedic cleanse even at home.

Ayurvedic Cleanse Diet


The foundation of an Ayurvedic cleanse is a simple diet. When the digestive system rests, the body can focus its
energy on processing and releasing the impurities that have built up. Simultaneously, new impurities dont build
because you dont consume unhealthy or difficult to digest foods. Apply the following simple rules to your eating
habits for 1-2 weeks for an Ayurvedic cleanse:

Increase & enjoy: warm, cooked, vegetarian and easy to digest foods the traditional diet for an Ayurvedic
cleanse includes plain basmati rice and yellow mung dal (lentils) or kitchari. Other options are steamed vegetables
and rice, vegetable soup and oatmeal. Eat a healthy amount of olive oil, ghee (clarified butter) or sunflower oil to
balance vata.
Reduce or remove: raw foods, frozen foods, cold foods, dairy products, animal products (meat or eggs), and
stimulants (alcohol, tobacco, chocolate and coffee) from your diet during this time.

Herbal supplements
An Ayurvedic cleanse with a trained practitioner includes herbal supplements specific to your condition. To follow
the principles at home, use spices and herbs to support your healthy digestion. Here are some kitchen-based
supports:

Cook with fresh ginger root & top your food with some black pepper.
A slice of fresh ginger with a squeeze of lime and a pinch of salt before meals helps ignite the digestive fire.

In addition, herbal supports from Banyan Botanicals will assist your Ayurvedic cleanse:

Vata Digest, Pitta Digest or Kapha Digest to aid your digestion*

Triphala to help support a healthy digestive and eliminative systems*

Healing Therapies
A trained Ayurvedic practitioner can offer various hands-on therapies during your Ayurvedic cleanse. At home on
your own, you will benefit during your Ayurvedic from a self-massage with warm oil using your choice of:

Mahanarayan Oil
Sesame Oil
Vata Massage Oil
Kapha Massage Oil
During your Ayurvedic cleanse you may also choose to take warm baths, practice meditation and yoga and give
yourself time for contemplation, reflection or journaling to release the subtle levels of emotion and mental stress.
In 1-2 weeks you can feel lighter, healthier and more balanced more like yourself!
For more information about Ayurvedic cleansing, see Banyan Botanicals free Ayurvedic Cleanse E-booklet

About Ayurveda & Banyan Botanicals


Ayurveda originated in India over 5,000 years ago and is known as the worlds oldest healing science. Consisting
of two Sanskrit words, ayush meaning longevity and veda meaning deep knowledge, Ayurveda means
knowledge of longevity. The fundamental principle of Ayurvedic medicine is to align the individual with nature
and with his or her intrinsic constitution.
Established in 1996, Banyan Botanicals is your ethical, knowledgeable source for Ayurvedic herbs and products.
We are committed to using herbs that are pure, USDA certified organic, sustainably sourced and fairly traded.

An Introduction to
Ayurvedic Cleansing

The Power & Potential of a Cleanse


Do you ever feel just slightly off, but you cant quite put your finger on what exactly is wrong? Or maybe its a
more specific condition thats disrupting your quality of life. These days, feeling lousy has almost become the
norm. Too many of us are giving up on the possibility of ever feeling our best again. Unfortunately, our cultural
focus on diagnostic tools, treating symptoms, and on labeling a wide range of ailments within tidy categories of
disease is dulling our collective capacity for self-awareness and inner sensitivity. As a result, many of us are
ignoring our own internal alarm bells. In some ways, feeling crummy can be a blessing; at the very least, it is an
important invitation. Why? Because it is at these early stages of being unwell of feeling off, down, or hindered in
some way that we can correct our imbalances with the greatest ease. And even if you feel fantastic today,
wouldnt you prefer to stay that way?
This is why Ayurveda can be such a transformational force in our lives. Ayurveda literally means the science of
life and it teaches us to tune into both the conspicuous and subtle indicators that there is room for improvement
within body, mind, and spirit. It then offers us a myriad of diverse therapeutic strategies to actually achieve
positive change. As a system of healing, Ayurveda honors the utter uniqueness of the individual while helping each
of us to court an ever-improving sense of balance and harmony in our lives. Ayurveda does not purport to offer any
one-size-fits-all solution no silver bullet to heal one and all. Instead, it teaches us how to better align with our
truest inner nature and to reinvigorate our own innate intelligence in order to guide a very gentle and authentic
healing process.
All of that said, Ayurveda does assert that there is one thing that influences our health more than any other: the
metabolic fire agni, in Sanskrit. Agni drives all processes of physiological transformation. It turns food into

consciousness and governs metabolism everywhere the body. It oversees digestion, absorption, and assimilation in
the GI tract, as well as the exchange of nutrients at the cellular level even the digestion of thoughts and emotions.
Agni is also our number one defense system against ill health and disease. Needless to say, when agni is impaired,
our overall health suffers sometimes in very overt and uncomfortable ways, other times, on much more subtle
levels. (If the concept of agni is new to you, you might appreciate this more thorough introduction).
The point is that tending to and supporting the health of agni can be an impressive catalyst for improving overall
health. And while there are many ways to support agni, a cleanse is one of the most straightforward and effective
means available. Done correctly, a cleanse strengthens agni throughout the system, helps to eliminate the very
toxicity that might otherwise inhibit it, and can therefore serve to initiate a powerful process of renewal and healing
at many levels.

Signs that You Might Benefit From a


Cleanse

You struggle with digestive difficulties of any kind.


You suffer from constipation, loose stools, or irregular bowel movements.
You have intense cravings for spicy, salty, or sweet foods.
You tend to have trouble listening to what your body needs (in the way of sleep, food, rest, exercise, etc.).
You frequently lack energy or feel exhausted.
You suffer from anxiety or stress.
You have trouble sleeping or waking up.
Your mind feels scattered and you have trouble focusing.
You tend to feel foggy-headed or lethargic.
You sense a subtle and undefined malaise; you just dont feel as well as you think you should (or maybe as well as
you have in the past).

Benefits
At its core, an Ayurvedic cleanse is focused on drawing toxins and excess vata, pitta, and kapha out of the tissues
and into the digestive tract so that they can be eliminated. While this is sometimes an uncomfortable process, the
end result of a cleanse should be an improved sense of balance and overall health.

An Ayurvedic Cleanse Helps To:

Restore a sense of calm to the mind and the nervous system.


Foster both clarity and groundedness in the mental, spiritual, and emotional spheres.
Nurture an improved sense of energy, vitality, and enthusiasm for life.
Support the maintenance of a healthy body weight.
Restore and maintain balanced sleep cycles.
Promote regular and balanced elimination.
Recover each individuals natural state of balance.

Prepare the tissues for deep nourishment and rejuvenation.


Promote optimal health.

Many Different Paths


Periodic cleansing is considered an important part of an Ayurvedic lifestyle, but the specific approach should
always take into consideration ones constitution, current state of balance, strength, and age, as well as
environmental and seasonal influences. Thankfully, there are many different ways to go about the process, and
there is generally something for everyone. The overall structure, length, intensity, and depth can all be adapted to
support the individual.
Most Ayurvedic cleanses are centered around simplifying the diet and, in some cases, adding supportive lifestyle
practices. The goal is to balance vata, pitta, and kapha, digest and eliminate ama, balance and strengthen agni, and
restore the bodys natural intelligence. These are powerful outcomes and they tend to reset our baseline health at
very deep levels. Remarkably, the process can be both curative and preventative because cleansing helps to
reinvigorate the bodys best internal defense mechanisms, as well as its capacity for repair and renewal. As a result,
truly profound changes often follow even a simple cleanse.
Our cleansing department offers a smorgasbord of different cleanses so that individuals can choose the approach
that best aligns with their personal needs, lifestyle, and available time. Whatever cleanse is right for you, working
with an Ayurvedic practitioner during a cleanse can provide an invaluable level of personalized support and can, in
turn, amplify the benefits youll glean from the process.

You Can Do This


If you feel intimidated, or have doubts about how youll respond to the restrictions or the overall structure of a
cleanse, please spend some time with the first couple of options described below. Some of the choices are truly
quite simple and are meant to serve those of us who have never attempted any sort of cleanse before. In addition,
keep in mind that the Ayurvedic approach to cleansing is typically built around a mono-diet that includes whole
grains, legumes, vegetables, ghee, many spices, and a wide variety of flavors. While your diet will be simplified,
you will not be fasting. In fact, you will continue to enjoy tasty and satisfying meals and teas, complete proteins,
and a balanced diet overall. Start small. You can do it!
If you remain skeptical about how this process might serve you, we encourage you to give the most basic cleanse a
try. Even if you dont feel any early warning signs of imbalance, your body will very likely appreciate the break.
You may find yourself pleasantly surprised even shocked by how powerfully a cleansing regimen can support
you and your overall health. And really, without our health, what else to we have? A periodic cleanse is one of the
most valuable gifts we can offer ourselves. In the modern era, when so many of us are overly busy, overly toxic,
and consistently weighed down by stress, anxiety, and dis-ease, a cleanse can be life-changing.

Freedom in Variety

One of the most elegant aspects of the Ayurvedic approach is that it is able to meet each of us exactly where we
are. Some forms of cleansing are quite intense, require a certain strength, and should only be practiced at specific
times of year. Other approaches are extremely simple, very gentle on the body, and are appropriate for most
people. That said, even the most basic cleanse has some contraindications. For instance, cleansing is generally not
appropriate for pregnant or breastfeeding women. This is simply not the time to be clearing the tissues or stirring
toxins into circulation. Weve included a list of contraindications for each of the cleanses described below, so
please review those carefully before you make a decision about which approach is right for you.

In Consideration of the Time Commitment


It is also important to realize that the longer and deeper a cleanse is, the more delicate the body is likely to become
during the process, and the more care and attention will be necessary in order to return to normal afterward.
When it comes to selecting an appropriate cleanse, this is actually one of the most important considerations. Youll
want to be careful to choose a very manageable timeframe and overall level of commitment in order to set yourself
up for success.
If you are new to cleansing, we highly recommend choosing a shorter, simpler approach in order to get a feel for
how you do with the discipline of a cleanse. You can always graduate to a more in-depth cleanse the next time.
However, if you are highly motivated to dive straight into a longer, deeper cleanse, weve done our best to clearly
outline the structure and expectations there as well.

The Options
Below, you will find a brief description of several different approaches to cleansing from the shortest, most basic
method, to the longest, most in-depth option (in that order). We recommend reading each of the descriptions
below in order to determine which options feel the most appropriate for your situation. You can then follow the
links to read detailed instructions for any of them. We hope that this resource proves helpful in selecting the
cleanse that is right for you at this time.

One-Day Digestive Reset


This short, one-day routine is not a cleanse, per se, but is a great opportunity to support agni on a more regular
basis. The digestive reset is designed to kindle agni and clear surface ama by encouraging the light, clear, and
subtle qualities with a one-day mono diet. The diet itself can be adapted to your particular needs. The most
universally appropriate approach is to eat kitchari for a day, but for some individuals, a day of fruit or juice might
be suitable.
Whatever the case, this approach works by very briefly cleaning up the diet in order to clear toxins and imbalances
from the digestive tract while strengthening the digestive fire for improved performance. This routine provides a
simple but effective means of supporting agni especially if the reset is practiced on a regular basis.
Consider this approach if:

Your digestion could use a somewhat regular boost.


You recognize and believe in the power of slow, steady progress.
You want to be proactive about clearing your body of any harmful influences.

You would like to offer your system more frequent support than an occasional cleanse.
You find a simple approach more appealing, and are willing to consider enacting these protocols on a routine
basis.
You are not sure you have the time or endurance for a longer cleanse, but can commit to a one-day mono diet every
so often (weekly, monthly, seasonally, etc.).
This approach is NOT for you if:

You are extremely weak, debilitated, or convalescing.


You are pregnant or breastfeeding. In this case, a one-day kitchari reset may be appropriate, but you should consult
with your health care provider or Ayurvedic practitioner first.
If this approach sounds appealing to you, please see our detailed instructions for doing a One-Day Digestive Reset.

Simplified Three-Day Cleanse


This entry-level, three-day cleanse is appropriate at any time of year and is designed to rest and reset the digestive
tract in the shortest amount of time possible. Because it is so brief and does not involve an extensive list of
practices beyond the dietary protocols, this approach is generally a wonderful introduction for anyone new to
cleansing. The cleanse is based on a very simple diet of whole grains and kitchari, and is complemented by
detoxifying fluids and supportive herbs. Like the digestive reset, this process kindles agni and clears ama by
encouraging the light, clear, and subtle qualities, but it goes deeper than the one-day digestive reset can.
This three-day cleanse affords the body an important break from the harmful inputs that we typically ingest each
day, giving agni a chance to rest, recuperate, and repair itself while encouraging the bodys natural mechanisms of
detoxification. Overall, this cleanse helps to kindle the digestive fire, strengthen the digestive capacity, burn
accumulated ama and clear excess vata, pitta, and kapha from the digestive tract. It can also be profoundly
clarifying for the mind and the tissues. In just three days, you will likely notice an enhanced sense of taste as well
as marked improvements in your appetite, digestion, elimination, and mental clarity.
Consider this approach if:

You want to experience the benefits of a stronger digestive fire and a clearer mind.
You feel ready to tackle more than a one-day digestive reset, but simplicity feels like the right energy to bring to
your cleansing process at this time.
You are new to cleansing and want to experience the benefits of an Ayurvedic cleanse, but you also want to start
small.
You have experience cleansing but want to focus on a short, food-based cleanse at this time (without many other
requirements).
You feel excited about committing three-days of your life to the process of cleansing.
This approach is NOT for you if:

You are extremely weak, debilitated or convalescing.


You are pregnant, breastfeeding, or menstruating.
If this approach sounds appealing to you, please see our detailed instructions for doing aSimplified Three-Day
Cleanse.

Traditional Ayurvedic Cleanse (Flexible Timeframe: 3-21 Days)


In general, this cleanse is more involved, requires a bit more commitment, and, ideally, is done at a time when you
have cleared your schedule in advance. That said, this cleanse can be done entirely at home and there is a great deal
of flexibility in the basic structure. The length of this cleanse can be anywhere from 3-21 days, and the cleanse can
include a number of supportive lifestyle practices or just a few depending on what feels the most doable and
nourishing to you at this time. Understandably, the longer the cleanse, and the more supportive practices you are
willing to take on, the deeper the benefit will be. While this style of cleanse is workable at any time of year, it is
the most beneficial at the junctions between seasons and in particular, around the onset of spring and autumn.
This cleanse involves three distinct phases preparation, active cleansing, and reintroduction which are then
followed by a period of rejuvenation. This structure helps to ease the body both into and out of the cleanse, and
offers deep nourishment to the tissues afterwards. Much like the options outlined above, the diet consists primarily
of whole grains, kitchari, and vegetables, and is supported by detoxifying herbs and teas. However, this cleanse is
complemented by practices such as self-oil massage, gentle sweating, and the administration of herbal nose drops
all of which help to loosen and release imbalances held in the tissues outside of the digestive tract. Therefore, this
cleanse has the capacity to initiate a slightly deeper level of detoxification.
The length of this cleanse is entirely up to you. For most people, the best results are experienced with an average
length of 9-15 days. Keep in mind that the active cleansing phase is the most intense, but it makes up only onethird the total length of the cleanse (e.g. for a 15 day cleanse, the active cleansing phase is just 5 days). As weve
said, you can also pick and choose which additional lifestyle practices feel the most important for you to observe
during this phase of the cleanse. Active cleansing encourages rest and repair in the digestive tract, kindles agni, and
serves to loosen and expel excess vata, pitta, kapha, and ama from the system. After this phase is complete, the
slow, gentle transition to a more diverse diet helps to preserve the newfound strength of the digestive fire and
encourages the continued elimination of any impurities stirred to the surface during the cleanse. Participants
typically finish this cleanse feeling lighter, clearer, and more attuned to their bodys innate intelligence with
improved digestive strength, healthier elimination, and an abiding sense of mental clarity.
Consider this approach if:

You are motivated to commit to a longer, more involved cleanse in order to experience deeper benefits.
You are capable of maintaining a disciplined diet and schedule for the length of your cleanse.
You are are willing to dedicate at least some time off to your cleansing process in particular, to the active
cleansing phase.
You are new to cleansing but are highly motivated and feel you have the self-discipline to start with a more
involved cleanse.
You want to get the most out of an at-home detox program and are ready to do whatever it takes to support your
body through the process.
You feel excited about making a deep commitment to yourself, your body, and to the process of cleansing;
cleansing is a high priority for you right now.
This approach is NOT for you if:

You are extremely weak, debilitated or convalescing.


You are pregnant, breastfeeding, or menstruating.
If this approach sounds appealing to you, please see our detailed instructions for doing aTraditional Ayurvedic
Cleanse.

Pancha Karma

Pancha karma (PK) is Ayurvedas signature cleanse. It is undoubtedly the most involved of the options listed here.
In fact, it is such an elaborate and individualized process that it truly requires the involvement of an experienced
practitioner. While we will not provide instructions for doing pancha karma, we did want to offer an overview of
the process, so that you can appreciate what distinguishes this approach from those outlined above. Pancha karma
is inherently seasonal; it should not be done in the summer or winter, and is best done around the time of the fall or
spring equinox. The length of a PK program can vary according to the needs of the individual.
On the surface, pancha karma looks very similar to other cleanses weve discussed here; it aims to loosen and
eliminate excess vata, pitta, kapha, and ama from the system and a mono diet of kitchari plays a central role in that
process. But, there is one very significant difference, and that is that pancha karma reverses the flow of nutrition in
the body. Normally, nutrition flows from the digestive tract into the bloodstream, and from there, into the tissues.
During PK, we intentionally smother the digestive fire and reverse the direction of that flow, allowing toxins and
impurities to move from the deep tissues, into the bloodstream, and back to the digestive tract where they can more
easily be eliminated. While this occurs in other Ayurvedic cleanses on a superficial level, PK intensifies the
process in order to cleanse impurities from the very deepest layers of the body. This is why pancha karma is such a
potent cleanse. However, this disruption to the flow of nutrients in the body necessitates a great deal of care after
PK is complete in order to return things to normal.
Pancha karma can be done at home, in a residential or retreat-type setting, or somewhere in between. Typically, the
less required of the participant, the deeper the detox will be. This being the case, a residential program is ideal, if it
is available to you. However, a home pancha karma, or a combination of home and professional treatments, can be
very successful and satisfying as well. Pancha karma should always be done under the guidance of an experienced
practitioner.
You may want to look into pancha karma if:

You really want to engage with the deepest Ayurvedic detox available.
You have the physical strength to undergo a very deep internal reset.
You can afford to take dedicated time off in order to pursue a cleanse.
You want the best possible outcomes for your time.
Cleansing and detoxifying your body is of the utmost importance to you.
This approach is NOT for you if:

You are pregnant, breastfeeding, or menstruating.


You are under the age of 8.
You are very elderly.
You are at all weak, debilitated, or in the process of convalescing.
You suffer from chronic consumption.
You have heart disease with complications.
You have a severe bleeding disorder.
You are currently undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy (although you are welcome to discuss when
pancha karma would be appropriate with a qualified Ayurvedic physician).
You do not have a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner or pancha karma center to guide you.

Trust Yourself
While cleansing can be profoundly beneficial, it is important to honor your own process and timing. Remember,
Ayurveda aims to meet each of us exactly where we are. We are all capable of experiencing the benefits of an

Ayurvedic cleanse, even if we are not ready for pancha karma. Start where you are. Start small, and give yourself
permission to progress at your own pace. Perhaps most importantly, seek support wherever your need it. One of the
rewards of honoring ourselves as we engage with a cleansing process (however simple) is that it gets easier with
time. Inevitably, as our overall state of balance improves, and as the intelligence within our bodies resurfaces, these
cleansing therapies become more and more natural, easeful, and rewarding. So, start with whatever steps feel right
to you today and trust that you are exactly where you need to be. We hope that we can continue to support you on
your journey with Ayurveda and on your quest for improved health.

An Ayurvedic Guide to
Healthy Elimination

Revolving Seated Pose Helps Support Healthy Elimination


Photo: Banyan Ambassador Pamela Quinn

Ok. Lets be completely honest for a moment. Who among us has not suffered from constipation, diarrhea, or some
other malady affecting the bowels? For many of us, these disturbances are somewhat routine occurrences. And yet,
as a culture, were morbidly afraid to talk about them. Fortunately, Ayurveda has a lot to say about why these types
of imbalances are so common, and what we can do to correct them. So, perhaps its time to cast aside any
resistance, stigma, or embarrassment in order to offer our bodies some real support in the area of elimination. This
resource explores Ayurvedas perspective on this topic in some depth. If you were hoping to find a few quick

recommendations for an acute case of constipation or diarrhea, click on the appropriate link for some suggestions.
But if your symptoms recur frequently, consider returning here soon so that you can begin to explore and address
the root cause of your imbalances. The truth is that, for all of us, our bowel habits and stools can teach us a great
deal about what our bodies need in order to return to balance.

Ayurveda views elimination as an important indicator of overall health because healthy elimination generally
points to strong agni (digestive fire), which is one of the cornerstones of well-being and longevity. Perhaps even
more significantly, Ayurveda recognizes that the digestive tract is the very first place that imbalances arise in the
body. This being the case, our stools tend to offer very early warning signs that something is amiss physiologically,
even if the imbalance is fairly minor at first. If an emerging imbalance is not properly addressed, it will either take
root in the digestive tract (as a more serious condition), or spread to other tissues and create disturbances there. If,
on the other hand, we can learn to understand and respond to the early indications of discord, our bodies have a
remarkable ability to self-correct and heal.

It is amazing what we can learn about ourselves just by paying attention to our bowel habits and our stools. But,
given the taboo nature of this topic, the easily observable indications of health and imbalance that can be seen in
our daily cycles of elimination are often overlooked. We hope that this exploration will be both enlightening and
inspiring for you, and that it will offer you a number of practical tools to support healthy elimination in your own
life.

What Defines Healthy Elimination?


According to Ayurveda, healthy elimination occurs one to two times daily. 1 In a perfect world, the first bowel
movement of the day occurs within a few minutes of waking, ideally before sunrise. If there is a second bowel
movement later in the day, it often occurs after a meal, in the afternoon or evening. Balanced stools themselves: 1

are well formed, about the consistency of a ripe banana.


maintain their shape after being eliminated.
are a light brownish-yellow color.
float (if eliminated into a toilet bowl containing water).
are slightly oily.
are not sticky; the anal orifice is easily cleaned and the stool does not stick to the toilet.
have only a mild odor.
Does your reality fall a little short of the ideal? Most do. Its not surprising, really. Leading fast-paced, stressful
lives, ingesting processed foods, multitasking, and eating on the run can all take a significant toll on digestive
health and excretory function. But thats why exploring this topic is so valuable so that we can foster balance in
our bowel habits, our stools, and throughout our bodies.

Through the Lens of Ayurveda: The Channel of Elimination


In Ayurveda, the physiological systems in the body (like the reproductive system or the urinary system) are called
channels each with important overall functions. Many of us are accustomed to thinking about the digestive tract
as a continuous whole, with each of its component parts the mouth, the esophagus, the stomach, the small
intestine, the colon, etc. contributing to the complex process of refining ingested food until whats left is finally
eliminated as waste. But consider this: over 5,000 years ago, Ayurveda distinguished the channel of food (which
starts at the mouth and ends with the small intestine), from the channel of solid waste (which begins at the colon

and continues to the anus). Its not that the ancient rishis were confused about the continuity of the human digestive
tract. They simply recognized important distinctions in the functions (and the therapeutic treatment) of these two
channels. While the two are certainly related and can impact one another, the first is more about taking food and
nutrition into the body; the second is primarily about eliminating waste.

Ayurveda emphasizes the importance of proper movement and flow throughout all channels of the body, and the
channel of elimination is no different. Regular movement of the bowels is an essential part of keeping the digestive
channels flowing properly. But healthy elimination also carries out the critical functions of absorbing water and
glucose, forming stools, eliminating solid waste, and clearing heavy metals and toxins from the body. 1

Common Imbalances in the Channel of Elimination


While there are certainly many things we can do to generally foster healthy elimination (see general strategies
below), identifying which dosha(s) are involved in a specific imbalance allows us to pursue deeper, and more
focused therapeutic strategies. The following table is meant to facilitate this process.

Healthy Versus Imbalanced Stools1


Balanced

Vata

Pitta

Kapha

Quantity

moderate

scanty

moderate

copious

Qualities

slightly oily, soft

dry, hard

oily, liquid, hot

oily, slimy, sticky,


slow

Consistency

similar to a ripe
banana in shape
and consistency

bullet-like, similar
to deer or rabbit
droppings

loose, semi-solid,
frequently fall apart
in the water

well-formed (but
often sticky, or with
mucus)

Buoyancy

floats (because
there is no ama)

sinks

can float or sink

sinks (may float with


mucus)

Color

light brownishyellow

dark brown

yellow-green or red

pale yellow

Odor

mild, nonoffensive

slightly astringent,
mild

sour, pungent,
acidic, very strong

mild, may smell


sweet

Regularity

1-2 times per


day, once upon
waking

irregular, tends
toward constipation

frequent (commonly
at least 2-3 times per
day), tends toward
diarrhea

1-2 times per day,


may not feel
complete, and may
occasionally skip a
day

Subjective
Experience

easy and natural


to pass

difficult to pass,
can cause straining
and can even be
painful

passes quickly; can


feel hot, urgent

often feels sluggish,


slow, or incomplete;
sticky; difficult to
clean

Sometimes it is very easy to identify personal tendencies at a glance in which case, youll find more specific
support for returning to balance here:
Vata Type Elimination
Pitta Type Elimination
Kapha Type Elimination
If you remain uncertain after reviewing the table, youre welcome to peruse all three dosha-specific elimination
guides to gain a deeper understanding of each type of imbalance. Or, a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner can offer a
more personalized assessment of your needs.

More Complex Imbalances


It is also important to keep in mind that longstanding imbalances in the channel of elimination often involve more
than one dosha, and can easily lead to more complex disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory
bowel disease. These conditions are more serious and should be treated only by qualified practitioners in
partnership with your primary healthcare provider. That said, understanding the Ayurvedic perspective on these
types of disorders can provide valuable insights.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome


Ayurveda views irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as an imbalance involving both vata and pitta. Vata (which
is mobile) pushes the hot, sharp, and liquid qualities of pitta, from their seat in the small intestine, into the
colon where pitta disrupts the function of elimination.2 IBS can cause alternating diarrhea and constipation,
or result in a general tendency toward one or the other. 2 If you suffer from IBS, a trained Ayurvedic
practitioner can recommend a protocol appropriate for your particular manifestation of the disease, but
common treatment strategies include the use of individualized herbal formulas, supportive foods such as
yogurt or soaked flax seeds, and bastis (Ayurvedic enemas) to lubricate and soothe the colon. 2

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases


Vata and pitta are also both involved in inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohns
disease. The Ayurvedic perspective on inflammatory bowel disease is that it is a result of vatas mobile
quality displacing pitta into areas of the digestive system that are not adequately protected against pittas hot,

sharp nature. The specific diagnosis depends on where pitta lodges in the digestive tract and how it disturbs
the local tissues. In the case of ulcerative colitis, pitta inflames the colon, leading to ulceration of the bowel
wall and the disruption of normal bowel function. 2 In Crohns disease, while vata remains the instigator, and
pittas hot, sharp qualities are still the inflammatory agents, the inflammation and ulceration can occur
anywhere in the GI tract.
Specific treatment strategies for inflammatory bowel disease will depend on the individual, but usually focus
primarily on soothing pitta, while simultaneously stabilizing and correcting the movement of vata. 2 Common
remedies include customized herbal formulas, soothing foods such as stewed apples and apple juice, the
internal use of cooling aloe vera gel, and bastis (Ayurvedic enemas), which use oil or herbal tea to pacify
both vata and pitta in the colon. 2

Start your morning with a cup of warm water.

General Strategies to Support Healthy


Elimination
Whatever your specific imbalances, the following strategies tend to support healthy elimination on a very general
level, and are typically appropriate for anyone.

Hydrate

Taking in an appropriate quantity and quality of fluids is a great place to start because being properly hydrated is
critical to both digestion and elimination. How much fluid is appropriate can vary widely depending on ones
age, constitution, imbalances, climate, and activity level. But chances are that if you tend to have dark, pungent, or
scanty urine, infrequent urination, a tendency toward constipation, or dry skin, you may be under-hydrated.
If you think you need more fluids, try drinking a cup or two of warm water upon waking, and a large glass (about
two cups) of warm or room temperature water 20-30 minutes before your meals. These tactics not only help to
cleanse and hydrate the tissues, they can also awaken the digestive capacity and dramatically improve
digestion.3 Ayurveda generally recommends avoiding iced beverages (including iced water) and does not
recommend more than a few sips of water (or other beverages) with meals; these fluids, when taken with food, can
dilute or inhibit the digestive process. And finally, focus on receiving adequate amounts of cleansing, hydrating
fluids were talking primarily water and herbal teas (though small amounts of fruit and vegetable juice can also
be supportive for some). In general, it is best to avoid drinks that are loaded with sugar or caffeine, like soda or
coffee.

Implement A Daily Routine


Physiologically, our bodies are highly adapted to having a sense of routine. Ayurveda tends to be elegantly
intuitive and this recommendation is a perfect illustration; it just makes sense that regularity in our schedules
would foster regularity in our bowels. If you dont have much of routine, consider starting with some simple focal
points throughout your day: work toward getting up and going to sleep at about the same time, and try carving out
a consistent time to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day. These simple steps give our nervous systems a sense
of normalcy, quiet the stress response, and support our bodies in carrying out routine physiological functions.
If your elimination is not especially regular, you might also consider setting aside a few minutes for a bowel
movement each morning, even if there is no urge. Simply sit quietly on the toilet, breathe into your belly, and
relax. Allowing your body the time and space to eliminate in this way each morning (even if nothing happens) can
invite a more regular habit of doing so over time.
Exercise is also an important component of a routine one that can be critically important to regular bowel habits.
When we are underactive, the metabolic system slows and the bowels can become especially sluggish. Exercising
3-4 days per week fires up the metabolism and helps to support regular elimination. Even something as simple as a
20 minute brisk walk can make a big difference. Ayurveda recommends different types and intensities of exercise
for different individuals. For more specific recommendations, please see our resources on vata, pitta,
andkapha type elimination.
If you are generally intrigued by the idea of developing a daily routine that will foster balance and overall health,
please explore our resource on creating an Ayurvedic daily routine.

For optimal digestion, fill the stomach with 1/3 food, and 1/3 water, leaving 1/3 empty.

Eat Well
As one might expect, diet has a profound effect on elimination. A healthy diet emphasizes nutritious, seasonal,
whole foods and limits processed foods and refined sugars. But in Ayurveda, it matters not only what we eat, but
also when we eat, how much we eat even how we eat. For instance, its incredibly important to offer our full
attention to the act of being nourished. Fostering a degree of presence with our food can dramatically improve our
digestive capacity. In addition, consider adopting the following Ayurvedic practices to further strengthen digestion
and elimination.

Follow Your Hunger


Ayurveda views appetite as an important precursor to nourishment. Hunger is a natural indication that the
body is ready to eat and that the digestive fire is strong enough to digest a meal, so it is best to eat only when
we are hungry. 2 But for many of us, distinguishing real hunger from a more emotional desire to eat can be
tricky. We have to ask ourselves if we are emotionally objective. And, if we have eaten a substantial meal
within the last 3-4 hours, its quite possible that the hunger is more of an emotional craving. Real hunger
comes with a natural feeling of lightness and clarity, a pleasant anticipation of eating, and is satisfied by
food.4

Eat Appropriate Quantities of Food


In the West, we are generally accustomed to eating very large meals. Ayurveda recommends much smaller
meals: just the amount of food that we could hold in our two cupped hands. 2Another helpful guideline is to
think about filling the stomach with food, and with water, leaving the final empty for optimal

digestion.2 Any water taken with a meal should be room temperature or warm, not iced. 2 And ideally, we
would not ever eat to full satiation.

Allow Adequate Time Between Meals


The metabolic function works best when it is allowed to completely digest one meal before it starts in on
another. It is usually a good idea to allow at least 3-4 hours between meals. While this timeframe can vary
based on the meal itself and the individual, the return of natural hunger is usually a good indicator that the
digestive system is ready for action.

Undertake a Dietary Cleanse or Detox Program


Stoking the digestive fire with a cleanse can be an incredibly powerful way to support proper elimination and
improved overall health. The basic premise of a cleanse is that our bodies are inherently intelligent; when we
provide a break from the barrage of potentially harmful inputs, our bodies immediately allocate the extra
energy to cleaning house repairing and rejuvenating the system for optimal performance. Cleanses can help
to clear toxins, balance the doshas, kindle a stronger digestive fire, and balance the cycles of elimination. A
cleanse can be as simple as a half or full day fast, a short juice cleanse, or a longer mono-diet of something
like kitchari. Ayurveda offers a number of effective cleansing techniques. If you are intrigued and would like
some guidance choosing the one that is right for you, please visit our Introduction to Ayurvedic Cleansing.

Meditate to Reduce Stress


Stress can have a very detrimental impact on our overall heath, and is particularly disruptive to digestion and
elimination. Ayurveda recognizes the power of a number of subtle therapies for stress reduction. Meditation is a
very effective technique; it helps to minimize our experience of stress and also encourages the development of
more constructive responses to stressful situations. Even 10-15 minutes of daily meditation can have a profound
impact on your state of mind and your digestive health. If you do not already have a meditation practice, Empty
Bowl Meditation, as taught by Dr. Vasant Lad, is a simple but powerful practice appropriate for most anyone.

Devote a Few Minutes Each Day to Pranayama


Pranayama is the practice of working with the breath to affect both gross and subtle aspects of the mind-body
organism. Like meditation, pranayama supports balance in the nervous system and begins to unwind the cycle of
chronic stress that can trigger imbalances in the digestive tract. Pranayama also helps to access and reset
longstanding patterns in the energetic body. Further, by breathing deeply into the abdomen, we naturally unwind
tension patterns that can inhibit digestion and elimination. Specific pranayamas for each dosha are recommended in
our resources on vata,pitta, and kapha type elimination.

Practice Yoga
Yoga is another therapy that can help to reduce stress, strengthen digestion, and keep the channel of elimination
relaxed and flowing properly. Specific practices for each dosha are recommended in our resources on vata, pitta,
and kapha type elimination.

Take Triphala
Triphala, a traditional Ayurvedic formula comprised of three fruits, is balancing for vata, pitta, and kapha. Triphala
has a particular affinity for the colon and is therefore very supportive of healthy elimination. It is revered for its
unique ability to gently cleanse and detoxify the digestive tract, while replenishing, nourishing, and rejuvenating
the tissues.
About half an hour before bed, take 2 Triphala tablets with a glass of warm water. If you prefer a powder, steep 1 teaspoon Triphala powder in a cup of freshly boiled water for 10 minutes. Cool and drink. Or, you might
try Triphala Liquid Extract before bed instead.

Consider the Condition of Agni


When it comes to imbalances in the channel of elimination, identifying the root cause usually requires looking at
and tending to the broader condition of the agni (digestive fire). If you are interested in understanding more about
agni, please consider exploring these complementary resources:

Understanding Agni
Symptoms in the channels of elimination are often the result of broader imbalances with agni (the metabolic fire).
As an introduction to the critically important Ayurvedic concept of agni, this resource explores agnis role in
maintaining health and vitality throughout the body, and offers practical tools for kindling the sacred fire within.
The Importance of Agni
This article explores the specific functions of agni, as well as the signs and symptoms of both healthy and impaired
agni.
The Four Varieties of Agni
This resource compares balanced agni to the different types of imbalances that can disrupt it, and offers appropriate
therapies for each type of imbalance.
Ama: the Antithesis of Agni
This piece introduces the toxic, undigested material called ama, whose qualities directly oppose those of agni. Ama
in the body can either be the cause or the result of impaired agni and in either case, threatens our health.

Your Unique Path to Healing


Ayurveda honors the bodys innate intelligence. In many cases, when we return the body to balance, it heals itself
naturally, and our symptoms simply cease to exist. Its also important to understand that, in Ayurveda, context is
everything. Ayurveda teaches us to look beyond our symptoms and to identify the primary imbalance(s) behind
them. Correcting the underlying cause is a fundamental part of the Ayurvedic healing process. This is why each
individuals situation is so important. A seasoned Ayurvedic practitioner might give two people with Crohns
disease very different recommendations. Likewise, two people with chronic constipation might be directed to
follow individually nuanced treatment strategies. It all depends on who they are as individuals their age, their
constitution, their imbalances, their diet, their lifestyle, their strengths, and their weaknesses. In other words, in
Ayurveda, it matters how you arrived at this particular moment in time, and that context can help to reveal where it
is that you have the greatest capacity to heal your unique entry point for profound change.
A qualified Ayurvedic practitioner can support you in getting to the bottom of and resolving your particular
concerns. But with or without professional guidance, Ayurveda offers a number of elegant treatment strategies for
every ailment. Finding the specific combination of tools that will most powerfully support you can take a bit of
time and effort. But, its a rewarding journey, and we sincerely hope that we can support you along the way.

References:
1. Lad, Vasant. Textbook of Ayurveda, Volume II: A Complete Guide to Clinical Assessment. Albuquerque: The
Ayurvedic Press, 2006. Print. 105-107, 278, 316-318.
2. Lad, Vasant. The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies. New York: Three Rivers Press, 1998. Print. 100,
153-155, 212-213.
3. Douillard, John. Fan Your Digestive Fire: Just Add Water. LifeSpa, 18 Apr. 2014. Web. 8 May 2014.
4. Lad, Vasant. Textbook of Ayurveda Vol III: General Principles of Management and Treatment. Albuquerque: The
Ayurvedic Press, 2012. Print. 142.

One-Day Digestive Reset


Renew Your Digestive Strength
According to Ayurveda, agni the sacred fire within is the gatekeeper of good health. Balanced agni preserves
and restores optimal health and prevents the formation of ama a harmful, sticky sludge made up of poorly
digested foods, accumulating wastes, and toxins. On the other hand, impaired agni is at the root of every imbalance
and disease. Ayurveda recognizes a number of different types of agni in the body, but the central digestive fire
nourishes and affects agni throughout the system.
Agni in the digestive tract is simultaneously our first line of defense against ill health and the essential pathway
through which nutrients are made available to every tissue in the body. The central digestive fires impact on our
overall health and well being is no less influential. In fact, proactively tending to agni which is precisely the idea
behind a short digestive reset like this one is one of the most effective ways to encourage improved health. This
short digestive reset is based on observing a mono-diet for about a day to rest and rekindle the digestive fire, while
encouraging detoxification and healing. If you are new to the concept of agni, this introductionmight provide a
useful perspective on why strengthening the digestive fire is so beneficial especially today, when our bodies are
being asked to process a seemingly endless barrage environmental toxins, processed foods, unresolved emotions,
and psychological stress. A periodic digestive reset can help to clear these accumulations from the system while
kindling and balancing agni.

Why This Approach?


There are a lot of different cleansing techniques out there, but many of them require a great deal of planning and a
significant time commitment. The truth is that it is often easier to complete a one-day digestive reset than a longer
cleanse. In the context of our busy modern lives, this can mean the difference between doing something
meaningful to support agni and doing nothing. Whats more, you can choose a frequency that works for you and

your schedule. Whether you commit to one day each week, month, season, or just commit to engaging this process
whenever you feel the need, it can be a powerful tool for improved health and, if done regularly, can have a
transformative effect.

You might benefit from a regular digestive reset if:

You struggle with digestive difficulties of any kind.


You suffer from constipation, loose stools, or irregular bowel movements.
You have intense cravings for spicy, salty, or sweet foods.
You frequently lack energy or feel exhausted.
You suffer from anxiety or stress.
Your mind feels scattered and you have trouble focusing.
You tend to feel foggy-headed or lethargic.
You sense a subtle and undefined malaise; you just dont feel as well as you think you should (or maybe as well as
you have in the past).
However, a digestive reset like this one is not appropriate for anyone who is extremely weak or debilitated at the
moment. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should only consider a digestive reset based on a mono-diet of kitchari
(i.e. fruit and juice fasts would not be appropriate), and they should consult with a health care practitioner before
doing reset on any sort of regular basis.

Several Different Methods


While a water-only fast might be appropriate for some individuals, it would not be recommended on a general
level. For many, a water fast would simply be too extreme and provoking causing more harm than good.

The Diet
We will discuss three different mono-diets here. Recommendations are based on your constitutionand your current
state of balance. We highly recommend the first option, particularly if you do not have a firm grasp of the unique
imbalances at play in your system. It is far more universally appropriate than the others, and will be detailed below
more thoroughly than the other options.
1. Kitchari
Kitchari is a traditional Ayurvedic stew made from basmati rice and split mung dal. It is very nourishing and
substantive, balances vata, pitta, and kapha, and provides powerful support for internal cleansing. It is generally
safe for people of all constitutions and imbalances.
2. Fruit
Appropriate fruits can be especially light and clarifying, but still provide some substance. A mono-diet of fruit
counters excesses in the heavy, dull, stable, and cloudy qualities and could be appropriate for individuals with a
substantial kapha imbalance, provided they are not also suffering a significant vata imbalance. However, if your
appetite is particularly sharp or if you have trouble skipping meals, do not try a mono-diet of fruit; kitchari will be
preferable. If you think that a mono-diet of fruit might be appropriate for you, an Ayurvedic practitioner can help
to advise you on personally and seasonally appropriate fruits.

3. Juice
A mono-diet of juice imparts the lightest, clearest qualities to the system and also helps to counter excesses in the
heavy, dull, oily, stable, and cloudy qualities. A mono-diet of juice would generally only be appropriate for
individuals with a substantial kapha imbalance, without significant vata or pitta influences. If you think that this
technique might be appropriate for you, we would highly recommend that you consult with an Ayurvedic
practitioner not only to confirm that a juice mono-diet would be appropriate for you, but also to advise you on the
best juices for your situation.

Varying the Length


For those with especially light constitutions and anyone who is underweight, a daytime observance of the monodiet might be sufficient from the morning until dinner, which could be a more typical (though healthy) meal. For
everyone else, the mono-diet can be observed straight thru until breakfast the following day.

The Reset Day


Whatever mono-diet you choose should be substantive enough that you can maintain your essential
responsibilities. Freshly prepared foods are always best, so youll want to prepare your meals and teas fresh each
day at whatever time works best with your schedule, but you can prepare all of your food for the day in the
morning, if you like.

The Diet

Eat kitchari (or your mono-diet of choice) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner allowing at least 3 hours between
meals.
You can garnish your kitchari with a little melted ghee, fresh cilantro, a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice, and
salt to taste.
Try not to eat anything after 7pm the day before your reset.
Drink at least 8-12 cups of room temperature, warm, or hot fluids to ensure adequate hydration and to help flush
toxins from the system.
Ideally, most of your fluids should be taken between meals.
Appropriate fluids include water, CCF Tea, Rehydration Tea, and Detox Tea drink as much of any of these as
you like.

Routine for the Day

Rise early enough to give yourself a spacious and relaxed morning.


Upon waking, scrape your tongue and brush your teeth.
Sip 8-16 oz. of hot water to cleanse the system and to awaken the digestive capacity.
Optional: Gentle Exercise such as walking, tai chi, qigong, or gentle yoga. This is not a day to push yourself
physically.
After that, youll want to have plenty of time to prepare your food and teas for the day.

Eat your mono-diet throughout the day, as much as desired (but do not overeat).
Optional: about a half hour before bed, take Triphala to bolster digestion, elimination, and the bodys natural
detoxification processes.
Steep teaspoon Triphala powder in a cup of freshly boiled water for 10 minutes. Cool and drink.
Or, take 2 Triphala tablets with a glass of warm water.
Retire for the Night by 10pm.
Sleep is the bodys best time to detox so be sure to get plenty of rest during this process.

Activity Level

Keep your activities relatively quiet and mindful, whenever possible.


Surround yourself with things that you find uplifting and nourishing.
Minimize stress and exposure to frantic or disturbing environments.
REST as you need to. You can ensure that the bulk of your energy is devoted to cleansing by minimizing the
number of resources that your body allocates elsewhere.
It is not uncommon to experience mild constipation during a cleanse. This brief reset is unlikely to disturb your
system. However, if you find that your bowel movements are slowing in frequency or volume, or your stools are
becoming more difficult to pass either during or after your reset days please see our resource on how to
remedy Constipation During a Cleanse. Healthy elimination is critical to the detoxification process, so it is best to
be proactive about relieving any discomfort as soon as you are aware of it.

A Catalyst for Positive Change


While a single day may seem too short to truly reset agni, periodically dedicating a day to rest and detoxify the
digestive tract can ignite dramatic improvements in the strength of agni throughout the system. As we discussed
earlier, Ayurveda views balanced agni as the key to optimal health and longevity, so this is no small feat. Over
time, this approach can strengthen the digestive capacity, balance elimination, de-escalate cravings, improve
energy levels, and contribute to a richer sense of wellbeing. If youre even a little bit curious about how a one-day
digestive reset might feel to your body, its certainly worth giving it a try. What do you have to lose? Its simple,
yes. And sometimes, in todays complicated and busy world, simplicity is just what we need in order to heal.

Recipes
Remember that whatever mono-diet you have chosen to work with, your food will absorb the energy of your
mindset and state of being while you are preparing it. You can assist your healing process by bringing good
intentions and a sense of presence to your kitchen. For those eating kitchari, the recipe is below. Recipes for
several supportive teas are below as well.

Tridoshic Kitchari
Kitchari is an Ayurvedic stew that is prepared from basmati rice and split mung dal. Appropriate vegetables
provide texture, flavor, and an important source of fiber. Kitchari is very easy to digest, which makes it a
wonderful food for resting the digestive tract and allocating extra energy to the bodys natural detoxification
processes. The quantities in this recipe provide a good starting point for a days supply of kitchari. As you learn
your preferences and habits, you are welcome to adjust the quantities to better fit your needs.
Ingredients

1 cup white basmati rice


cup split mung dal
2 Tablespoons ghee
Spices (or 1 Tablespoon Kitchari Spice Mix)
teaspoon black mustard seeds
teaspoon cumin seeds
teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoons coriander powder
teaspoon fennel powder
1 pinch hing (asafoetida)
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon natural mineral salt
6 cups water
2 cups easily digestible vegetables (such as asparagus, carrots, celery, green beans, summer squash, sweet potato,
winter squash, or zucchini)
Soak the split mung dal overnight (or for at least 4 hours). Strain the soaking water, combine with the rice and rinse
the mixture at least twice, or until the water runs clear, and set aside. In a medium saucepan or soup pot, warm the
ghee over medium heat. Add the black mustard seeds, cumin seeds and saut for a couple of minutes, until the
mustard seeds begin to pop. Add the turmeric, coriander, fennel, hing, and fresh ginger (or the kitchari spice mix).
Stir briefly, until aromatic. Stir the rice and dal mixture into the spices and saut for a few moments, stirring
constantly. Add the 6 cups of water, turn heat to high, and bring to a boil. When the soup comes to a boil, stir in the
salt, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, cut your vegetables into small, bite-sized
pieces. About halfway through the kitcharis cooking process, stir in the vegetables and allow the stew to return to
a boil. Continue to simmer until the rice, dal, and vegetables are fully cooked. Remove from heat, cool, and serve.
Note: some vegetables, such as sweet potatoes and winter squash, might require more cooking time and may be
added earlier, if necessary.
Aim to have very little water remaining when finished. The consistency should be that of a vegetable stew as
opposed to a broth. While you want the beans, rice, and vegetables to be thoroughly cooked, excess water and
over-stirring can cause the ingredients to become thick and gummy. Garnish the kitchari with your choice of fresh
cilantro, ghee, lemon or lime juice, and salt to taste. Enjoy!

Cumin, Coriander, Fennel Tea


Ingredients

1 quart of purified water


1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
1 teaspoon whole corianderseed
1 teaspoon whole fennel seed

Place all the ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for fifteen minutes, or until the seeds
begin to sink. Remove from heat and strain. Store the tea in a thermos or in the refrigerator, but do not drink it
cooler than room temperature.

Alakananda Mas Rehydration Tea


Ingredients

4 cups pure water


2 heaping teaspoons peppermint or fresh mint
1 heaping teaspoon brahmi (gotu kola)
teaspoon natural mineral salt
lime (squeezed juice)
2 teaspoons turbinado sugar
Boil water. Remove from heat and add herbs, salt, and lime. Steep 10 minutes, strain, add turbinado, and drink
warm or at room temperature.

Other Herbal Teas


Banyan Botanicals also carries a variety of masterfully blended organic teas for your tasting delight.

Shopping List for Kitchari and Teas


The quantities below represent the approximate amount required for each one-day digestive reset. As you learn
your habits and needs with this process, the quantities may need to be adjusted accordingly.

Herbs & Products


Continuing to take Triphala in between reset days will help to support further detoxification. You are welcome to
continue any of the teas in between reset days as well.

Triphala Powder ( oz.) or Triphala Tablets (2 tablets)


Tongue Cleaner
Optional: Brahmi / Gotu Kola for Alakananda Mas Rehydration Tea ( - oz.)

Groceries

Organic White Basmati Rice, (7 oz.)


Organic Yellow Split Mung Beans (4 oz.)

Organic Ghee, Clarified Butter available at most health food stores (2 oz.)
Vegetables for Kitchari (2 cups total), Your Choice Of:
Asparagus
Carrots
Celery
Green Beans
Summer Squash
Sweet Potato
Winter Squash
Zucchini
Spices and Garnishes to Have on Hand
Black Mustard Seeds
Cilantro
Cumin Seeds, whole
Coriander Powder
Coriander Seeds, whole
Fennel Powder
Fennel Seeds, whole
Ginger Root, fresh
Hing (Asafoetida)
Optional: Kitchari Spice Mix (replaces some individual spices in kitchari)
Lemons
Limes
Mint, fresh or dried Peppermint
Natural Mineral Salt
Turbinado Sugar
Turmeric Powder
Or, save time and money with one of Banyans Cleanse Kits:

Kitchari Kit
7-day Supply of Organic Basmati Rice
7-day Supply of Organic Split Mung Dal
Kitchari Spice Mix
Organic Ghee
Ayurvedic Cleanse Kit
All of the above plus
Organic Triphala Tablets
Organic Sesame Oil
Detox Tea
Deluxe Ayurvedic Cleanse Kit
All of the above plus
Organic Chyavanprash
Organic Nasya Oil
Nasal Rinse Cup
Stainless Steel Tongue Cleaner

Additional Resources
For more information on Ayurvedic Cleansing, click here to return to our cleansing department.

For more information on agni and why it is so critical to our overall health, you may enjoy our piece
on Understanding Agni.
For more on ama (a toxic substance that interferes with our wellbeing), and why it is so detrimental, please see our
article on Ama: the Antithesis of Agni

A Simplified Three-Day
Cleanse

Reset and Detoxify in Just 3 Days


There are a lot of different cleansing techniques out there, and finding the one thats right for you can sometimes
feel overwhelming. If you really just want to give your body a break, hit the reset button on your digestive system,
and do a short detox without a lot of fuss, this is the cleanse for you. The process is simple, straightforward, easy to

follow, and its only three days long making it a very manageable undertaking for most people. If this will be
your first experience with cleansing, youve chosen a perfect place to start.
This cleanse can be undertaken at any time of year, but it will be especially beneficial at the junctions between
seasons when our bodies are ripe with a sense of transition already. However, even a very simple cleanse like this
one is not appropriate during menstruation, for pregnant or breastfeeding women, or for anyone who is extremely
weak or debilitated at the moment.

Benefits
The practice of cleansing is considered a vital part of an Ayurvedic lifestyle. It provides an important means of
clearing accumulated waste and toxicity from the mind and the tissues, encouraging optimal health. These days, a
periodic cleansing regimen is more vital to our health than ever before. Our bodies are being asked to process a
seemingly endless barrage of harmful inputs such as environmental toxins, processed foods, unresolved emotions,
and psychological stress. Over time, these stressors can cause toxicity to build up in the system, deposit in the
tissues, and compromise our health. A periodic cleanse helps to clear these accumulations from the system.
This particular cleanse is based on eating a mono-diet of whole grains and kitchari, drinking plenty of detoxifying
herbs, and taking Triphala in the evening to support digestion, elimination, and the bodys natural detoxification
processes. This regimen supports the physiology by slowing the flood of harmful inputs and by providing the body
with an important opportunity to rest, recuperate, and repair itself.
A simple three-day cleanse can help to:

Improve digestion and metabolic function.


Promote regular and balanced elimination.
Support the maintenance of a healthy body weight.
Nurture an improved sense of energy, vitality, and enthusiasm for life.
Foster clarity and groundedness in the mental, spiritual, and emotional spheres.
Encourage a balanced sleep cycle.
Promote improved overall health.
The foods ingested during this cleanse are very easy to digest and therefore help to improve the strength of agni
which is essential to optimal health. If the concept of agni is new to you, this introduction will provide a useful
context for your cleansing process.

Planning For Your Cleanse


The more completely you can clear your schedule for the entirety of your three-day cleanse, the better. More
importantly, pick a time when you can minimize your exposure to stress. Ideally, you would not be working at all
during the cleanse. If this is not realistic for you, we recommend scheduling the first day or two of your cleanse
over your weekend so that you can get familiar with the diet and the routine before you are juggling the cleanse
alongside work obligations. Youll also want to avoid any social engagements that would make it difficult to
maintain the simple diet prescribed below. In general, eliminate any unnecessary commitments and give yourself

as much unstructured time to rest as possible. A menstruating women should also schedule her cleanse around her
cycle so that she is not bleeding at any point during the three-day cleanse.
Once you have found a workable timeframe, put your cleanse on the calendar and come up with a plan for
acquiring the necessary supplies ahead of your start date (see our recipes and shopping lists at the end of this
article). When the cleanse starts, you will want to focus your energy on the process of detoxification and renewal.
In other words, aim to be finished running around gathering supplies by the time your cleanse begins.
If you are in the habit of taking coffee, caffeine, tobacco products, alcohol, or any recreational drugs on a regular
basis, you may find it helpful to gradually reduce or eliminate their use in the days leading up to your cleanse.
Similarly, reducing your intake of fast foods, processed foods, meat, refined sugars, and sweets ahead of the start
date can be very beneficial. You might also consider enlisting the support of close friends or family members who
know what you are up to, what your intentions are, and can help to encourage you through the process.

What To Expect
This three-day cleanse is generally safe for a diverse range of constitutions and imbalances. Still, any cleanse can
be exhausting, emotionally taxing, and physically uncomfortable due to the nature of the detoxification process.
This cleanse is extremely gentle and should not cause a great deal of discomfort, but you may still experience some
ups and downs on either emotional or physical levels.

The Cleanse Itself


During the three-day cleanse, you will be eating a simplified diet of oatmeal and kitchari. This diet is substantive
enough that you can maintain your essential responsibilities while resetting the digestive system, supporting the
elimination of toxins, and balancing vata, pitta, and kapha. Freshly prepared foods are best, so youll want to cook
your oatmeal, kitchari, and teas fresh each day at whatever time works best with your schedule. While youll
want to avoid eating leftovers from previous days, it is acceptable to prepare all of your food for the day in the
morning. Garnishes such as cilantro chutney and sesame seed chutney can usually be kept for several days without
issue.
It is not uncommon to experience mild constipation during a cleanse. If your bowel movements slow in frequency
or volume, or if your stools become more difficult to pass, please see our resource on how to remedy Constipation
During a Cleanse. Healthy elimination is critical to the detoxification process, so it is best to be proactive about
relieving any discomfort as soon as you are aware of it.

The Diet

In general, eat as much as is desired at each meal enough to feel satisfied, but be careful not to overeat.
Eat simple oatmeal or kitchari for breakfast.
Eat kitchari for lunch and dinner, allowing at least 3 hours between meals.
You can garnish your kitchari with a little melted ghee, fresh coriander chutney and sesame seed chutney to ensure
that your system stays well lubricated and that you continue to enjoy all 6 tastes in your diet.

It is best to avoid snacking between meals, but if you need a little something extra, you can enjoy some fresh fruit
or a few raw nuts.
If the mono-diet is causing a sense of deprivation, you can try steaming your vegetables and serving them as a
separate side dish garnished with a little melted ghee, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Or, have a
side of avocado with lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt.
Try not to eat anything after 7pm.
Drink at least 8-12 cups of room temperature, warm, or hot fluids each day to ensure adequate hydration and to
help flush toxins from the system.
Ideally, most of your fluids should be taken between meals.
Appropriate fluids include water, CCF Tea, Rehydration Tea, and Detox Tea drink as much of any of these as
you like.

The Daily Routine

Rise early enough to give yourself a spacious and relaxed morning.


Upon waking, scrape your tongue and brush your teeth.
Sip 8-16 oz. of hot water to cleanse the system and to awaken the digestive capacity.
Optional: Gentle Exercise
Slow, gentle movements will support cleansing; more than that can be counterproductive.
This is not a time to push yourself physically.
Consider walking, tai chi, qigong, or gentle yoga such as Vata Pacifying Yoga (which is appropriate during a
cleanse).
Take a bath or shower, using soap strategically (not all over the body).
After that, youll want to have plenty of time to prepare your breakfast, kitchari, and teas for the day without undue
stress.
Eat simple oatmeal or kitchari for breakfast (ideally between 7am-8am).
Eat kitchari for lunch (ideally between 12pm-1pm).
Eat kitchari for dinner (ideally between 5pm-6pm, but no later than 7pm).
About a half hour before bed, take Triphala.
Steep teaspoon Triphala powder in a cup of freshly boiled water for 10 minutes. Cool and drink.
Or, take 2 Triphala tablets with a glass of warm water.
Retire for the Night by 10pm.
Sleep is the bodys best time to detox so be sure to get plenty of rest throughout the cleanse.

A Supportive Lifestyle During Your Cleanse

Keep your activities as quiet and mindful as possible.


Surround yourself with things that you find uplifting and nourishing.
Minimize stress and exposure to frantic or disturbing environments.
If intense emotions arise during or after your cleanse, greet your emotions with compassion, observe them with
detached awareness, and allow them simply to move through honoring yourself in the process.
REST as much as possible. You can ensure that the bulk of your energy is devoted to cleansing by minimizing the
number of resources that your body allocates elsewhere.

After Your Cleanse


After you complete this simple, three-day cleanse, your body may continue to process toxicity for a few days. And,
your digestive system will have become accustomed to a very clean diet; you may even be somewhat sensitive to
overly stimulating or processed foods. A slow transition back into your normal routine and a more diverse diet will
help to preserve the benefits of your cleanse. For a couple of days afterwards, eat primarily simple, whole foods,
gradually diversifying your menu. This is not the time to celebrate with pizza and a beer! Also, pay special
attention to how you handle potentially aggravating foods like dairy, wheat, soy, and nightshades after your
cleanse. Your body may have some new information to offer you about your relationship with specific foods.

A Fresh Start
While this cleansing model is incredibly short and simple, it can be quite powerful. According to Ayurveda,
balanced agni is the key to optimal health and longevity. Our bodies are incredibly intelligent, and the three-day
cleanse gives them an important opportunity to strengthen agni. So, while it may seem hard to believe, even a
simple cleanse like this one can initiate dramatic improvements in the quality of your digestion and elimination,
your cravings, your energy level, and your overall wellbeing.
As you wrap up the cleanse, take some time to reflect on your life so that you can move forward with whatever
new intentions feel important to you. This is a potent time to cultivate a deeper level of inner awareness, to listen to
your body, and to honor every aspect of your being as you transition out of the cleanse. You might also take some
time to appreciate your body for all the ways it serves and supports you. Remember, too, that youve offered
yourself a valuable gift with this cleanse one that requires a certain level of discipline and commitment.
Congratulations on your accomplishment. We hope that it serves you in a multitude of gratifying ways.

Recipes
Remember that your food will absorb the energy of your mindset and state of being while you are cooking. You
can assist your healing process by bringing good intentions and a sense of presence to your kitchen.

Simple Oatmeal
Kitchari is traditionally eaten three times a day during an Ayurvedic cleanse, but this simple oatmeal recipe is a
good alternative, if preparing kitchari before breakfast is not realistic for you. This recipe can also provide a helpful
break from the kitchari mono-diet which is especially important if you tend to tire of similar foods easily.
While fruit and grains are typically considered a poor food combination, the cooking process generally renders
stewed fruit lighter and more digestible. These particular fruits all have something in common with the taste profile
of oatmeal; when cooked together, their more diverse qualities are able to mingle in a way that makes them more
compatible.
Ingredients

cup dry rolled oats


1 cups water
cups raisins
- 1 cup fresh apple, apricot, peach, or pear (cut into small pieces)
Optional Warming Spices

teaspoon cinnamon
teaspoon nutmeg
teaspoon cardamom powder
teaspoon ginger powder
Combine the raisins, cut fruit, 1 cup water, and any desired spices in a small saucepan and bring to a boil on
medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the fruit is tender and well cooked (apples
may take a tad longer). Add the oats, the remaining cup of water, stir, and return to a boil. When the mixture
boils, stir thoroughly, remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 5-10 minutes, until the oats are soft and the water
is absorbed. Cool and serve.
Fruits By Dosha:
For vata, favor apricots and peaches.
For pitta, favor apples and pears.
For kapha, any of the fruit is fine. If you are primarily focused on balancing kapha, you may also want to try this
delicious kapha pacifying modification: simply combine a couple of varieties of cut fruit, omit the oats and the
second batch of water, follow the rest of the recipe as it is, and enjoy a breakfast of stewed fruit.
Spices By Dosha and Season:
For vata, kapha, and cooler seasons, the optional spices offer a tasty addition of warmth to this dish. If there is pitta
imbalance, favor cinnamon and cardamom, and consider reducing the quantity. For severe pitta imbalance (or if the
season is hot) consider foregoing the spices altogether. The oatmeal with cooked fruit is surprisingly tasty on its
own.

Tridoshic Kitchari
Kitchari is a stew type meal that is prepared from basmati rice and split mung dal. During a cleanse, appropriate
vegetables provide texture, flavor, and an important source of fiber. Kitchari is very easy to digest, which makes it
a wonderful food for any cleansing regimen. It allows the digestive system to rest, allocating extra energy to the
bodys natural detoxification processes. The quantities in this recipe provide a good starting point for a days
supply of kitchari, but as you learn your preferences and habits, you are welcome to adjust the quantities to better
fit your needs.
Ingredients

1 cup white basmati rice


cup split mung dal
2 Tablespoons ghee
Spices (or 1 Tablespoon Kitchari Spice Mix)
teaspoon black mustard seeds
teaspoon cumin seeds
teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoons coriander powder
teaspoon fennel powder

1 pinch hing (asafoetida)


1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon natural mineral salt
6 cups water
2 cups easily digestible vegetables (such as asparagus, carrots, celery, green beans, summer squash, sweet potato,
winter squash, or zucchini)
Soak the split mung dal overnight (or for at least 4 hours). Strain the soaking water, combine with the rice and rinse
the mixture at least twice, or until the water runs clear, and set aside. In a medium saucepan or soup pot, warm the
ghee over medium heat. Add the black mustard seeds, cumin seeds and saut for a couple of minutes, until the
mustard seeds begin to pop. Add the turmeric, coriander, fennel, hing, and fresh ginger. Stir briefly, until aromatic.
Stir the rice and dal mixture into the spices and saut for a few moments, stirring constantly. Add the 6 cups of
water, turn heat to high, and bring to a boil. When the soup comes to a boil, stir in the salt, reduce heat, cover, and
simmer for about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, cut your vegetables into small, bite-sized pieces. About halfway through
the kitcharis cooking process, stir in the vegetables and allow the stew to return to a boil. Continue to simmer until
the rice, dal, and vegetables are fully cooked. Remove from heat, cool, and serve. Note: some vegetables, such as
sweet potatoes and winter squash, might require more cooking time and may be added earlier, if necessary.
Aim to have very little water remaining when finished. The consistency should be that of a vegetable stew as
opposed to a broth. While you want the beans, rice, and vegetables to be thoroughly cooked, excess water and
over-stirring can cause the ingredients to become thick and gummy. Garnish the kitchari with your choice of fresh
cilantro, coriander chutney, and sesame chutney. Enjoy!

Fresh Coriander Chutney


This tridoshic recipe from The Ayurvedic Cookbook by Amadea Morningstar is very tasty and is especially useful
for reducing excess pitta.
Ingredients

1 bunch ( pound) fresh coriander leaves and stems (also known as cilantro or Chinese parsley)
cup fresh lemon juice
cup water
cup grated coconut
2 tablespoons fresh ginger root, chopped
1 teaspoon barley malt or raw honey
1 teaspoon natural mineral salt
teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Blend the lemon juice, water and fresh coriander until the coriander is chopped. Add the remaining ingredients and
blend until it is like a paste.
Use sparingly. This chutney can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to one week. For a silkier
texture, use only the leaves and the tops of the fresh coriander stalks.

Sesame Seed Chutney


This tridoshic recipe from Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing by Usha and Vasant Lad, is especially good for
people with vata and kapha imbalance. Reduce cayenne pepper to teaspoon if there is any pitta imbalance.
Ingredients

1 cup roasted and ground sesame seeds


1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
teaspoon natural mineral salt
Blend ingredients together and garnish kitchari with about 1 teaspoon of the mixture.

Cumin, Coriander, Fennel Tea


Ingredients

1 quart of purified water


1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
1 teaspoon whole corianderseed
1 teaspoon whole fennel seed
Place all the ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for fifteen minutes, or until the seeds
begin to sink. Remove from heat and strain. Store the tea in a thermos or in the refrigerator, but do not drink it
cooler than room temperature.

Alakananda Mas Rehydration Tea


Ingredients

4 cups pure water


2 heaping teaspoons peppermint or fresh mint
1 heaping teaspoon brahmi (gotu kola)
teaspoon natural mineral salt
lime (squeezed juice)
2 teaspoons turbinado sugar
Boil water. Remove from heat and add herbs, salt, and lime. Steep 10 minutes, strain, add turbinado, and drink
warm or at room temperature.

Other Herbal Teas


Banyan Botanicals also carries a variety of masterfully blended organic teas for your tasting delight.

Shopping List
Amounts recommended are approximate and may need to be adjusted according to your needs.

Herbs & Products


While you will certainly have leftovers of any herbs you order for your cleanse, you can continue to take any of
them after the cleanse to support further detoxification.

Triphala Powder ( oz.) or Triphala Tablets (6 tablets)


Tongue Cleaner
Optional: Brahmi / Gotu Kola for Alakananda Mas Rehydration Tea ( - 1 oz.)
Optional: Vata Digest, Pitta Digest, or Kapha Digest tablets can be taken after meals to improve agni (9 tablets)

Groceries

Optional: Organic Rolled Oats (1 cup or 6 oz.)


Optional: Raisins ( cup or 4.5 oz.)
Optional: (1 - 3 cups apple, apricot, peach, or pear)
Organic White Basmati Rice, (21 oz.)
Organic Yellow Split Mung Beans (12 oz.)
Organic Ghee, Clarified Butter available at most health food stores (6 oz.)
Optional: Organic Roasted Sesame Seeds (1 cup per batch of sesame seed chutney)
Vegetables for Kitchari (6 cups total), Your Choice Of:
Asparagus
Carrots
Celery
Green Beans
Summer Squash
Sweet Potato
Winter Squash
Zucchini
Spices and Garnishes to Have on Hand
Black Mustard Seeds
Black Pepper
Optional: Cardamom (for oatmeal)
Optional: Cayenne Pepper (for sesame seed chutney)
Cilantro ( pound per batch of fresh coriander chutney)
Optional: Cinnamon (for oatmeal)
Cumin Seeds, whole
Coconut, Unsweetened and Shredded
Coriander Powder
Coriander Seeds, whole
Fennel Powder
Fennel Seeds, whole
Optional: Ginger Powder (for oatmeal)
Ginger Root, fresh
Hing (Asafoetida)
Optional: Kitchari Spice Mix (replaces some individual spices in kitchari)
Lemons
Limes
Mint, fresh or dried Peppermint
Natural Mineral Salt
Optional: Nutmeg (for oatmeal)

Sweeteners: Barley Malt or Raw Honey; Turbinado Sugar


Turmeric Powder
Or, save time and money with one of Banyans Cleanse Kits:

Kitchari Kit
7-day Supply of Organic Basmati Rice
7-day Supply of Organic Split Mung Dal
Kitchari Spice Mix
Organic Ghee
Ayurvedic Cleanse Kit
All of the above plus
Organic Triphala Tablets
Organic Sesame Oil
Detox Tea
Deluxe Ayurvedic Cleanse Kit
All of the above plus
Organic Chyavanprash
Organic Nasya Oil
Nasal Rinse Cup
Stainless Steel Tongue Cleaner

Additional Resources
For more information on Ayurvedic Cleansing, click here to return to our cleansing department.
To explore the Ayurvedic practice of rejuvenation (rasayana), click here.
For more information on agni and why it is so critical to our overall health, you may enjoy our piece
on Understanding Agni.
For more on ama (a toxic substance that interferes with our wellbeing), and why it is so detrimental, please see our
article on Ama: the Antithesis of Agni

A Traditional Ayurvedic
Cleanse

Detox, Refresh, and Renew Your Body &


Mind
Your body is remarkably intelligent and incredibly hard working. Day in and day out, it processes all kinds of
inputs distinguishing whats good for you from whats not, doing its best to eliminate any harmful substances
alongside routine metabolic waste. But these days, our bodies are inundated with a never-ending barrage of
stressors: environmental toxins, processed foods, unresolved emotions, and psychological stress, to name a few.
Inevitably, in attempting to digest it all, we accumulate some degree of toxicity which, over time, can build up
in the system, deposit in the tissues, and compromise our health. But there is something you can do to give your
body a break. Actually, this is precisely the idea behind an Ayurvedic cleanse: to minimize the variety and
complexity of inputs (and potential toxins) so that the body can rest, recuperate, and repair itself. And amazingly,
when the deluge of damaging inputs slows, your body will immediately take advantage of the lull to do some very
deep cleaning.
The practice of cleansing is considered a vital part of an Ayurvedic lifestyle, with great potential for improved
energy, strength, and immunity, as well as a renewed love of life. At its root, an Ayurvedic cleanse improves the
strength of agni in the GI tract and throughout the body by resting and purifying the digestive system. Ayurveda
sees balanced agni as one of the most important requirements in achieving optimal health. Tending to agni with a
cleanse offers a potent antidote to any imbalances that might be active in your system. If the concept of agni is new
to you, this introduction will provide a useful context for your cleansing process.

Benefits
An Ayurvedic Cleanse:

Restores a sense of calm to the mind and the nervous system.


Fosters both clarity and groundedness in the mental, spiritual, and emotional spheres.
Nurtures an improved sense of energy, vitality, and enthusiasm for life.
Supports the maintenance of a healthy body weight.
Helps to restore and maintain balanced sleep cycles.
Promotes regular and balanced elimination.
Helps to recover each individuals natural state of balance.
Prepares the tissues for deep nourishment and rejuvenation.
Promotes optimal health.
Ultimately, an Ayurvedic cleanse is focused on drawing toxins and excess vata, pitta, and kapha out of the tissues
and into the digestive tract so that they can be eliminated. The cleanse itself may not be entirely pleasant; as these
impurities are stirred into circulation to be eliminated, they can become more palpable for a short time. However, if
a cleanse is undertaken correctly, the end result should be an improved sense of balance and overall health.
Below, you will find everything you need to implement a simple, food-based cleanse at any time of year. However,
even a gentle cleanse like this one is not appropriate for pregnant or breastfeeding women, or for anyone who is
extremely weak or debilitated. On the other hand, if you are considering becoming pregnant, Ayurveda highly
recommends that both partners undertake a cleanse approximately three months prior to conception.

The Four Phases of a Cleanse


A traditional Ayurvedic cleanse involves four distinct phases, each of which plays an important role in the process:
1. Preparation The First Step
A time to clean up your diet and lifestyle in preparation for an effective cleanse.
2. Active Cleansing The Heart of the Cleanse
A period of eating a mono-diet of grains, kitchari (basmati rice cooked with split mung beans), vegetables, and
plenty of detoxifying fluids; the process at this stage can be complemented by a number of supportive lifestyle
practices.
3. Reintroduction A Buffer for Your Digestive Fire
A time to slowly diversify the diet, gradually incorporating simple, whole foods other than kitchari, and eventually
re-introducing common allergens such as wheat, dairy, soy, and nightshades.
4. Rejuvenation The Final Step
This is the time to offer deep nourishment to the tissues and to promote rejuvenation throughout the system. This is
really a separate endeavor from the cleanse itself, and while it is peripherally addressed below, you will find a
more thorough set of resources for this phase of your process in our Rejuvenation Department.

Choosing The Length of Your Cleanse


The length of your cleanse is entirely up to you, but please consider the time required to complete all of the
different phases affording each of them equal value and importance. In general, the longer your cleanse, the
deeper your detox will be. A longer cleanse will also result in a more delicate digestive system for some time,
requiring an increased dedication to the reintroduction phase of the cleanse. It is critically important that you
choose a timeframe that feels very manageable to you. It is better to succeed at a shorter cleanse than to struggle
through or completely abandon a longer one. You can always graduate to a longer cleanse in the future, when
the procedure is more familiar to you.
Below is a table outlining the structure for a 3 day, 9 day, 15 day, and 21 day cleanse each based on dedicating an
equal number of days to the preparation, active cleansing, and reintroduction phases of the cleanse. This phase
structure is ideal because it allows the body to gracefully ease into cleansing mode and to gently transition back to
your normal routine afterward. It is also very intuitive and can easily be adapted to any other length of time that
feels appropriate to you (i.e. a cleanse based on 2-day, 4-day, 6-day phase lengths). We would advise against doing
phases longer than 7 days without the guidance of a trained Ayurvedic practitioner.

Total Length of Cleanse

3 days

9 days

15 days

21 days

Phases of the Cleanse

Phase Lengths

1. Preparation

1 day

3 days

5 days

7 days

2. Active Cleansing

1 day

3 days

5 days

7 days

3. Reintroduction

1 day

3 days

5 days

7 days

Suggested Length of Rejuvenation Phase

4. Rejuvenation

2 weeks

1 month

6 weeks

3 months

Please Note: If you are short on time and still want to do a lengthier active cleanse phase, it is possible to reduce
the preparation and reintroduction phases by half (rounding up where necessary). For example, you might choose
to do a 7 day active cleanse with 4 days of preparation and 4 days of reintroduction, for a total length of 15 days.

What To Expect
This style of cleanse based on a mono-diet is much less provoking than many forms of cleansing and is
generally safer for a diverse range of constitutions and imbalances. That said, an Ayurvedic cleanse tends to move
long-standing imbalances into circulation so that they can be eliminated. This is how our bodies repair themselves
when we afford them the opportunity. As a result, a cleanse can be exhausting, emotionally taxing, and physically
uncomfortable. This cleanse is gentle and should not cause a great deal of discomfort. Nevertheless, it is better to
be prepared for some ups and downs than to expect to feel fabulous throughout your cleanse. You should begin to
experience the deeper benefits of the cleanse within a few days to a week after completing it, if not sooner. For
women of childbearing age, the first menstrual cycle following a cleanse is an important part of the process, and
can deliver a meaningful sense of completion to the cleanse. As a result, the fullest expression of positive change
may not be experienced by these women until one or two menstrual cycles after the cleanse is complete. This is
especially true of a longer 15-21 day cleanse.
This process can also stir up unresolved emotions so it is important to be prepared for some emotional cleansing. It
is quite common to have unexpected and somewhat unexplainable emotions crop up during a cleanse. Ideally, we
would simply witness these states as they arise, creating space to honor, move, and release our feelings in a healthy
way. The emotional aspects of a cleanse can make it especially important to enlist a loving support team for your
cleansing process.

Planning For Your Cleanse


Finding the Right Time
While this cleanse is workable at any time of year, it will be especially beneficial at the junction between seasons,
when our bodies are already ripe with a sense of transition. In particular, the periods surrounding the fall and spring
equinoxes are especially supportive of cleansing. The more completely you can clear your schedule for the entirety
of your cleanse, the better. It is also important to minimize your exposure to stress for the duration of your cleanse.
At a minimum, focus on making the days of active cleansing as obligation-free as possible. The best way to do this
is to schedule active cleansing during a time when you can be a bit of a hermit and stay home most days. Ideally,
you would not be working during the active cleansing phase at all, but if that is unrealistic for you, we recommend
scheduling the first days of active cleansing over your weekend so that you can get familiar with the routine before
you are juggling active cleansing and work obligations together. In general, eliminate any unnecessary obligations
and give yourself as much unstructured time to rest as possible for the entire length of your cleanse, but especially
during the days of active cleansing.

Additional Considerations for Menstruating Women


A menstruating woman should schedule her cleanse around her cycle to ensure that she is not bleeding during the
active cleansing phase. If her period comes unexpectedly, she can continue on the kitchari diet, but should suspend
all other practices (abhyanga, nasya, triphala, etc.) until her menstruation is complete.

The Next Steps

Once you have found a timeframe that feels like it will work with your time off and your unavoidable
responsibilities, put your cleanse on the calendar, noting which days correspond with each phase of the cleanse.
Next, come up with a plan to acquire as many of the necessary supplies as possible in advance of your start date
(see our recipes and shopping lists at the end of the article). Once you are cleansing, you will want to focus your
energy on the process of detoxification and renewal. Ideally, this is not the time to be running around gathering
supplies.

The Preparation Phase


This phase is all about cleaning up your diet and lifestyle in order to prepare for an effective cleanse. During the
preparation days, you will want to eliminate (or at least dramatically reduce) your use of coffee, caffeine, tobacco
products, alcohol, and any recreational drugs. At the same time, you will be reducing your intake of fast foods,
processed foods, meat, refined sugars, and sweets. Focus instead on eating as many simple, whole foods as possible
(fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds). This will set the stage for a more productive and
beneficial cleanse, and will help your body ease into detox mode.

The Active Cleansing Phase


This is the heart of the cleanse. During this time, you will be eating a very simplified mono-diet of very simple,
cleansing foods such as kitchari. The diet is substantive enough that you can maintain your essential
responsibilities, but it simultaneously resets the digestive system, supports the elimination of toxins, and balances
vata, pitta, and kapha. During this phase of the cleanse, practices such as abhyanga (Ayurvedic oil massage), gentle
exercise, yoga, pranayama, and taking supportive herbs can enhance the impact of the cleanse.
Freshly prepared foods are best, so youll want to cook your oatmeal and kitchari fresh each day at whatever time
works best with your schedule. While youll want to avoid eating leftovers from previous days during this phase of
the cleanse (and all throughout, if you can manage), it is acceptable to prepare all of your food for the day first
thing in the morning. Garnishes such as cilantro chutney and sesame seed chutney can usually be kept for several
days without issue.
It is not uncommon to experience mild constipation during this phase of the cleanse. If your bowel movements
slow in frequency or volume, or if your stools become more difficult to pass, please see our resource on how to
remedy Constipation During a Cleanse. Healthy elimination is critical to the detoxification process, so it is best to
be proactive about relieving any discomfort as soon as you are aware of it.

Making Supportive Lifestyle Choices

Keep your activities as quiet and mindful as possible.


Surround yourself with things that you find uplifting and nourishing.
Minimize stress and exposure to frantic or disturbing environments.
If intense emotions arise during or after your cleanse, greet your emotions with compassion, observe them with
detached awareness, and allow them simply to move through honoring yourself in the process.
REST as much as possible. You can ensure that the bulk of your energy is devoted to cleansing by minimizing the
number of resources that your body allocates elsewhere.

Morning Routine During the Active Cleansing Phase

Rise early so that you can complete your morning routine before breakfast.
Upon waking, scrape your tongue and brush your teeth.
Optional: administer warm Nasya Oil (3-5 drops in each nostril).
This practice is especially supportive of the mind, the eyes, and helps to balance tension carried in the shoulders
and the neck.
If this is a new practice for you, please see our helpful instructional video.
Sip 8-16 oz. of hot water to cleanse the system and to awaken the digestive capacity.
Optional: Perform Abhyanga (Ayurvedic Self Massage)
This practice helps to loosen and move toxins stored in the tissues toward the digestive tract so that they can be
eliminated.
Recommended oils include Organic Sesame Oil, Organic Sunflower Oil, and dosha-specific herbal oils: Vata, Pitta,
and Kapha Massage Oils.
Which oil is right for you will depend on your constitution, your current state of balance, and the season.
For maximum benefit, let the oil soak in for about 20 minutes.
Optional: Steam Bath, Sauna, or Improvised Sweat
If you have access to a steam room or sauna, let your oil soak in as you sit just long enough to break a sweat.

Otherwise, you can warm your bathroom with a space heater and create a little steam with hot water from the
shower.
It is important not to get chilled.
Take a bath or shower, using soap only where needed (ideally, not all over the body).
If you are doing abhyanga daily, here are some additional considerations:
Take care not to slip on oily surfaces consider washing your feet first.
Excess oil will rinse off with water.
If you do not need to go out, it is fine to leave some oil in your hair.
Otherwise, you may need to shampoo more than once to remove all of the oil. You can also try applying shampoo
to your dry hair (before you wet it), lather, then rinse. For many, this method cuts the oil more effectively.
Use a designated towel to pat dry (this towel will become oily over time).
Gentle Exercise
Slow, gentle movements will support cleansing; more than that can be counterproductive.
This is not a time to push yourself.
Consider walking, tai chi, qigong, or a grounding yoga practice such as Vata Pacifying Yoga(which is gentle
enough for a cleanse).
Eat Breakfast
Simple Oatmeal or Kitchari as much as desired (do not overeat)

Diet During the Active Cleansing Phase

Eat kitchari throughout the day, as desired, allowing at least 3 hours between meals and aiming to have a total of 3
meals per day. Again, eat enough to feel satisfied but do not overeat.
You can garnish your kitchari with Fresh Coriander Chutney or Sesame Seed Chutney.
It is best to avoid snacking, but if you need a little something extra, you can enjoy some fresh fruit, a few raw nuts,
or a couple of slices of avocado.
It is very important not to feel deprived during your cleanse. Be sure to eat enough food and enough variety that
you truly feel satisfied and at peace with the process.
If the mono-diet is causing a sense of deprivation, do not eat kitchari for breakfast. Have simple oatmeal instead.
You can also vary the vegetables that you use in your kitchari from day to day. If you are still struggling, try
steaming your vegetables and serve them as a separate side dish, garnished with a little melted ghee, a squeeze of
lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Or, have a side of avocado with a sprinkle of salt and lemon juice.
Try not to eat anything after 7pm.
Drink at least 8-12 cups a day of room temperature, warm, or hot fluids each day to ensure adequate hydration and
to help flush toxins as they are released.
Ideally, most of your fluids should be taken between meals.
Appropriate fluids include water, CCF Tea, Rehydration Tea, and Detox Tea drink as much of any of these as
you like.

Evening Routine During the Active Cleansing Phase

Triphala Tea
About a half hour before bed, steep teaspoon triphala powder in a cup of freshly boiled water for 10 minutes.
Cool and drink.
Or, take 2 Triphala tablets with a glass of warm water.
Retire for the Night by 10pm
Sleep is the bodys best time to detox so be sure to get plenty of rest throughout the cleanse.

The Reintroduction Phase


After you complete the active cleansing phase, your body will still be processing the toxins that were stirred into
circulation. And, your digestive system will have become accustomed to a very clean diet and will be somewhat
sensitive to overly stimulating or processed foods. Therefore, a slow transition back into your normal routine and a
more diverse diet is critically important. Eat primarily simple, whole foods, diversifying your menu very gradually.
The more committed you can be to maintaining a diet of simple, whole foods, the stronger your agni will be after
your cleanse. This is also the time to test the waters with foods that are potentially aggravating like dairy, wheat,
soy, and nightshades ideally, reintroducing these foods one at a time and giving yourself up to 24 hours to
observe how your body responds to each of them.
Maintaining a very simple diet through this phase of the cleanse buffers your system, strengthens agni, and
prepares your digestive system to successfully receive more complex foods after the cleanse is complete. But the
truth is that, it is often easier to maintain a highly structured mono-diet than to stick to eating a more diverse range
of very simple, whole foods after completing the mono-diet. For many, this is actually the most challenging phase
of the entire cleanse. It can feel like weve come thru the hard part, and after days of kitchari, we are often craving
some substance and stimulation in our diets. Therefore, it is extremely important to mentally prepare for this phase.
Think of it as an essential part of rather than a gradual transition out of the cleanse. You may also find it helpful
to plan a menu for this phase in advance. Choose meals that you will find delicious and exciting so that you are not
tempted to dive right into overly complex and difficult to digest foods. This is not the time to celebrate with a pizza
and a beer! Remember, the longer your cleanse, the more time your body will need to diversify your diet and
strengthen agni. Go slowly and your agni will emerge from the cleanse much stronger which means better
sustained health moving forward.

The Rejuvenation Phase


It is important to follow any significant cleanse with a period of rejuvenation. Now that youve cleared your body
of accumulated toxins and imbalances, your tissues are primed to receive very deep nourishment. Rejuvenating
foods and practices are usually sweet and comforting, and most people find this phase of the process quite
enjoyable. You can find everything you need to know about Ayurvedic rejuvenation in our rejuvenation
department.

A New Beginning Transitioning Back Into


Your Normal Life
Toward the end of the cleanse, take some time to reflect on your life so that you can move forward with whatever
new intentions feel important to you at this time. One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself as you wrap up
your cleanse is to honor the effort youve made by slowly and gently easing back into a more diverse diet and a

more typical routine. Even after youve moved through a defined period of reintroduction, understand that it may
take some time two weeks, a month, or longer before you are able to fully appreciate the benefits of your
cleanse. This is completely normal because the body is often still working to eliminate the toxins released during
the cleanse. This is a wonderful time to cultivate deeper inner awareness and to listen to your body. You can
further support optimal health by maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, even after the cleanse is over.

Recipes
Remember that your food will absorb the energy of your mindset and state of being while you are cooking. You
can assist your healing process by bringing good intentions and a sense of presence to your kitchen.

Simple Oatmeal
Kitchari is traditionally eaten three times a day during an Ayurvedic cleanse, but this simple oatmeal recipe is a
good alternative, if preparing kitchari before breakfast is not realistic for you. This recipe can also provide a helpful
break from the kitchari mono-diet which is especially important if you tend to tire of similar foods easily.
While fruit and grains are typically considered a poor food combination, the cooking process generally renders
stewed fruit lighter and more digestible. These particular fruits all have something in common with the taste profile
of oatmeal; when cooked together, their more diverse qualities are able to mingle in a way that makes them more
compatible.
Ingredients

cup dry rolled oats


1 cups water
cups raisins
- 1 cup fresh apple, apricot, peach, or pear (cut into small pieces)
Optional Warming Spices

teaspoon cinnamon
teaspoon nutmeg
teaspoon cardamom powder
teaspoon ginger powder
Combine the raisins, cut fruit, 1 cup water, and any desired spices in a small saucepan and bring to a boil on
medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the fruit is tender and well cooked (apples
may take a tad longer). Add the oats, the remaining cup of water, stir, and return to a boil. When the mixture
boils, stir thoroughly, remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 5-10 minutes, until the oats are soft and the water
is absorbed. Cool and serve.
Fruits By Dosha:
For vata, favor apricots and peaches.
For pitta, favor apples and pears.
For kapha, any of the fruit is fine. If you are primarily focused on balancing kapha, you may also want to try this

delicious kapha pacifying modification: simply combine a couple of varieties of cut fruit, omit the oats and the
second batch of water, follow the rest of the recipe as it is, and enjoy a breakfast of stewed fruit.
Spices By Dosha and Season:
For vata, kapha, and cooler seasons, the optional spices offer a tasty addition of warmth to this dish. If there is pitta
imbalance, favor cinnamon and cardamom, and consider reducing the quantity. For severe pitta imbalance (or if the
season is hot) consider foregoing the spices altogether. The oatmeal with cooked fruit is surprisingly tasty on its
own.

Tridoshic Kitchari
Kitchari is a stew type meal that is prepared from basmati rice and split mung dal. During a cleanse, appropriate
vegetables provide texture, flavor, and an important source of fiber. Kitchari is very easy to digest, which makes it
a wonderful food for any cleansing regimen. It allows the digestive system to rest, allocating extra energy to the
bodys natural detoxification processes. The quantities in this recipe provide a good starting point for a days
supply of kitchari, but as you learn your preferences and habits, you are welcome to adjust the quantities to better
fit your needs.
Ingredients

1 cup white basmati rice


cup split mung dal
2 Tablespoons ghee
Spices (or 1 Tablespoon Kitchari Spice Mix)
teaspoon black mustard seeds
teaspoon cumin seeds
teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoons coriander powder
teaspoon fennel powder
1 pinch hing (asafoetida)
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon natural mineral salt
6 cups water
2 cups easily digestible vegetables (such as asparagus, carrots, celery, green beans, summer squash, sweet potato,
or zucchini)
Soak the split mung dal overnight (or for at least 4 hours). Strain the soaking water, combine with the rice and rinse
the mixture at least twice, or until the water runs clear, and set aside. In a medium saucepan or soup pot, warm the
ghee over medium heat. Add the black mustard seeds, cumin seeds and saut for a couple of minutes, until the
mustard seeds begin to pop. Add the turmeric, coriander, fennel, hing, and fresh ginger. Stir briefly, until aromatic.
Stir the rice and dal mixture into the spices and saut for a few moments, stirring constantly. Add the 6 cups of
water, turn heat to high, and bring to a boil. When the soup comes to a boil, stir in the salt, reduce heat, cover, and
simmer for about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, cut your vegetables into small, bite-sized pieces. About halfway through
the kitcharis cooking process, stir in the vegetables and allow the stew to return to a boil. Continue to simmer until
the rice, dal, and vegetables are fully cooked. Remove from heat, cool, and serve. Note: some vegetables, such as
sweet potatoes, might require more cooking time and may be added earlier, if necessary.
Aim to have very little water remaining when finished. The consistency should be that of a vegetable stew as
opposed to a broth. While you want the beans, rice, and vegetables to be thoroughly cooked, excess water and
over-stirring can cause the ingredients to become thick and gummy. Garnish the kitchari with your choice of fresh
cilantro, coriander chutney, and sesame chutney. Enjoy!

Fresh Coriander Chutney


This tridoshic recipe from The Ayurvedic Cookbook by Amadea Morningstar is very tasty and is especially useful
for reducing excess pitta.
Ingredients

1 bunch ( pound) fresh coriander leaves and stems (also known as cilantro or Chinese parsley)
cup fresh lemon juice
cup water
cup grated coconut
2 tablespoons fresh ginger root, chopped
1 teaspoon barley malt or raw honey
1 teaspoon natural mineral salt
teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Blend the lemon juice, water and fresh coriander until the coriander is chopped. Add the remaining ingredients and
blend until it is like a paste.
Use sparingly. This chutney can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to one week. For a silkier
texture, use only the leaves and the tops of the fresh coriander stalks.

Sesame Seed Chutney


This tridoshic recipe from Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-Healing by Usha and Vasant Lad, is especially good for
people with vata and kapha imbalance. Reduce cayenne pepper to teaspoon if there is any pitta imbalance.
Ingredients

1 cup roasted and ground sesame seeds


1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
teaspoon natural mineral salt
Blend ingredients together and garnish kitchari with about 1 teaspoon of the mixture.

Cumin, Coriander, Fennel Tea


Ingredients

1 quart of purified water


1 teaspoon whole cumin seed
1 teaspoon whole corianderseed
1 teaspoon whole fennel seed
Place all the ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for fifteen minutes, or until the seeds
begin to sink. Remove from heat and strain. Store the tea in a thermos or in the refrigerator, but do not drink it
cooler than room temperature.

Alakananda Mas Rehydration Tea


Ingredients

4 cups pure water


2 heaping teaspoons peppermint or fresh mint
1 heaping teaspoon brahmi (gotu kola)
teaspoon natural mineral salt
lime (squeezed juice)
2 teaspoons turbinado sugar
Boil water. Remove from heat and add herbs, salt, and lime. Steep 10 minutes, strain, add turbinado, and drink
warm or at room temperature.

Other Herbal Teas


Banyan Botanicals also carries a variety of masterfully blended organic teas for your tasting delight.

Shopping List
Amounts recommended are approximate and may need to be adjusted according to your needs.

Herbs & Products

Triphala powder ( oz. per day of active cleansing) or Triphala tablets (2 per day of active cleansing)
Tongue Cleaner
Optional: Brahmi / Gotu Kola for Alakananda Mas Rehydration Tea ( - oz. per day of active cleansing)
Optional: Oil for Abhyanga (2-4 oz. per day of active cleansing)
For vata imbalances or vata season, use Organic Sesame Oil or Vata Massage Oil and plan to use more oil.
For pitta imbalances or pitta season: Organic Sunflower Oil or Pitta Massage Oil and plan to use a moderate
amount of oil.
For kapha imbalances or kapha season: Organic Sesame Oil or Kapha Massage Oil and plan to use less oil.
Optional: Nasya Oil (1 oz. bottle will be plenty)
Optional: Vata Digest, Pitta Digest, or Kapha Digest tablets can be taken after meals to improve agni (2-3 tablets
per day of active cleansing).

Groceries

Optional: Organic Rolled Oats ( cup or 2 oz. per day of active cleansing)
Optional: Raisins ( cup or 1.5 oz. per day of active cleansing)

Optional: (-1 cup apple, apricot, peach, or pear per day of active cleansing)
Organic White Basmati Rice, (7 oz. per day of active cleansing)
Organic Yellow Split Mung Beans (4 oz. per day of active cleansing)
Organic Ghee, Clarified Butter available at most health food stores (2 oz. per day of active cleansing)
Optional: Organic Roasted Sesame Seeds (1 cup per batch of sesame seed chutney)
Vegetables for Kitchari (2 cups per day of active cleansing), your choice:
Asparagus
Carrots
Celery
Green Beans
Summer Squash
Sweet Potato
Zucchini
Spices and Garnishes to Have on Hand
Black Mustard Seeds
Black Pepper
Optional: Cardamom (for oatmeal)
Optional: Cayenne Pepper (for sesame seed chutney)
Cilantro ( pound per batch of fresh coriander chutney)
Optional: Cinnamon (for oatmeal)
Cumin Seeds, whole
Coconut, Unsweetened and Shredded
Coriander Powder
Coriander Seeds, whole
Fennel Powder
Fennel Seeds, whole
Optional: Ginger powder (for oatmeal)
Ginger Root, fresh
Hing (Asafoetida)
Optional: Kitchari Spice Mix (replaces some individual spices in kitchari)
Lemons
Limes
Mint, fresh or dried Peppermint
Natural Mineral Salt
Optional: Nutmeg (for oatmeal)
Sweeteners: Barley Malt or Raw Honey; Turbinado Sugar
Turmeric powder
Or, save time and money with one of Banyans Cleanse Kits:

Kitchari Kit
7-day Supply of Organic Basmati Rice
7-day Supply of Organic Split Mung Dal
Kitchari Spice Mix
Organic Ghee
Ayurvedic Cleanse Kit
All of the above plus
Organic Triphala Tablets
Organic Sesame Oil
Detox Tea
Deluxe Ayurvedic Cleanse Kit
All of the above plus
Organic Chyavanprash

Organic Nasya Oil


Nasal Rinse Cup
Stainless Steel Tongue Cleaner

Additional Resources
For more information on Ayurvedic Cleansing, click here to return to our cleansing department.
To explore the Ayurvedic practice of rejuvenation (rasayana), click here.
For more information on agni and why it is so critical to our overall health, you may enjoy our piece
on Understanding Agni.
For more on ama (a toxic substance that interferes with our wellbeing), and why it is so detrimental, please see our
article on Ama: The Antithesis of Agni.