Ayurveda, the “science of life”, is a system of health that gives vibrancy to those that follow its guidance. There is clear advice for the food you should eat and when you should eat it, instructions on what time of the day certain activities should be done, and a plethora of other information on how our bodies and minds work. Ayurveda extols the value of yoga and meditation, and recommends these for purification of body and mind.
There is an understanding within Ayurveda that peoples bodies are different, and while every body is unique and should be treated as such, it can be useful to categorize the way our bodies operate. To this end, Ayurveda has the dosha theory, which consists of three classifications, vata, pitta and dosha. People tend to fall into two of these.
It is well worth familiarizing yourself with this theory, as it provides a plethora of information on keeping you in spirited health. For example, as I am vata and pitta, I make sure that I do not over-exert myself at the hottest points of the day, which could aggravate pitta, and I make sure I practice self massage each evening. This self massage is particularly grounding to those with a vata constitution.
Ayurveda also incorporates certain detoxes into its modality. The most potent of these is the “panchakarma”, a system of 5 treatments which Ayurveda considers it’s most potent medical intervention. While I would agree that Panchakarma is indeed formidable, I also believe that some of its elements are unusual, such as the ingestion of heroic doses of medicated ghee, with others veering into unpleasantness, such as its inclusion of vamana, or medical vomiting, designed to get impurities out of the body.
Fortunately for me, the detox that I will be embarking on is neither unusual nor unpleasant and in fact proves to be pretty pleasant.
For the next 5 days I will be doing an Ayurvedic cleanse with Usada Bali. The flyer for the cleanse claims that the detox will “cleanse your liver, balance your hormones, improve gut health and build immunity” Bold claims! I was interested to see what would happen..
The first day of my cleanse, the delivery driver for Usada brings my food for the day promptly in the morning. I receive a bag containing: 3 enormous juices and two containers which have in them a large kitchari and a digestive soup.
I also receive a timetable of the schedule that I was permitted to eat and drink the various items. First off was the detox tea, which contains fennel, cumin, ginger and cinammon.
Next is the Kushmanda juice, a sweet juice drink, which Ayurveda understands has a host of benefits, including treatment of nervous system disorders and diabetes. I chug the pleasant liquid down happy in the knowledge that firstly, it tastes good, and secondly, it is benefiting my health.
At 10am it is time for the Gaya Blessings juice, which contains coconut water, aloe vera, passion fruit, black pepper, honey, fresh tumeric, kafir lime leaf and lime juice. The combination of these make a delicious drink which also has healing properties. If you are unsure of why the black pepper is in these, it is because it potentiates the anti-inflammatory qualities of tumeric!
At 12pm it is time for my first kitchari. Kitchari is one of the Ayurvedic mainstays, and is foundational to many of its cleanses. This is due to its ability to balance out the body while detoxing and kindling the digestive fire. Ayurveda places great emphasis on the importance of this digestive fire, as it believes that the root of much illness is in weak digestive fire. On the other hand, a strong digestive fire can help beat off a host of different ailments.
I had requested therapeutic ghee in my kitchari and the taste of this combined with the kitchari is awesome. Till that point I had been feeling a little peckish, but the size of the kitchari is enough to satisfy my hunger.
4pm is the time for my green detox, which is a mixture of vegetable juices. This is a drink which I had previously been enjoying on a daily basis and had already felt it’s benefits in soothing the stomach and liver.
At 6pm I start to get hungry, but fortunately it is time for my last meal of the day, in the form of a pleasant digestive soup. An hour and a half later and I drink my second detox tea of the day, which is made from ginger, tulasi, lemon, black pepper
As the day is drawing to a close after my evening meditation practice, I start experiencing some slight hunger pangs, but this should absolutely be the case when completing a cleanse. Ayurveda is aware that our bodies heal best when we are not constantly digesting food.
The next four days are variations on the same food, all freshly prepared, healthy and tasty.
So what are my impressions?
I wasn’t expecting much other than perhaps a slight movement towards wellness. What actually happened really surprised me. On the third day I experienced a fairly profound shift of health issues that I had been experiencing from about two years, which lifted both body and mind.
I am aware that it was likely not only the cleanse that did this, as I had already been throwing the proverbial kitchen sink at my illness, but I am sure that it certainly played a role in moving me back to wellness.
The cleanse also comes with a free consultation with Dr Sujatha, Ayurvedic doctor, and co-owner of Usada. I had already seen Dr Sujatha recently, so had no need of the offer, but this is a boon for those completing the cleanse, as the doctor’s vast knowledge of Ayurveda is of profound benefit to anyone, regardless of their health status.