7 Day Detox Inspired by Panchakarma
Panchakarma (or “five actions”) is an Ayurvedic method of purifying the body. Though it originated thousands of years ago with the development of Ayurvedic healing practices, there is arguably an even higher need for Panchakarma in today’s world where we are constantly bombarded with toxins and the residual build-up of unhealthy habits. Any number of things in our day-to-day lives can cause imbalance within our bodies.
What better time to rebalance the body than during widespread social distancing?
Join Ajara on a weeklong journey toward improved physical and mental health. This Panchakarma-inspired detox will help relax and renew your body, preparing you to take on whatever life has to throw at you. Be sure to follow us on Instagram for daily inspiration. Now, let’s get started.
As the root word implies, Panchakarma utilizes five major approaches to detoxification. Historically, Panchakarma was a process that took place over several days and involved extreme practices like therapeutic vomiting and bloodletting. However, those have since been modified for safer, gentler forms of detoxification in professionally-guided Panchakarma sessions. For this detox, the steps have been modified to utilize household items and provide flexibility for you to do only what feels right for you.
Preparation Phase (Poorva karma)
During the preparation phase of Panchakarma, the goal is to lubricate the body, which will ease the process of expelling toxins. Eating light foods, engaging in gentle exercise, and utilizing herbal oils and tea are all methods of preparing for the next phase.
Day 1: Start your day off with some gentle yoga and a few minutes of quiet meditation. Set your intentions for this journey by asking yourself: What do you hope to gain from this act of cleansing? Open your mind and your heart. Throughout the day, drink tea and keep your intentions in mind as you go through your daily activities.
Day 2: Again, begin your day with yoga and meditation, recalling the goals you set yesterday. Continue to repeat this step every morning over the next week. Drink tea and begin modifying your diet. It is Kapha season in the North, so decrease any Kapha accumulation by focusing on warm, light foods, and the astringent taste which can be found in leafy greens, pomegranates, and dry beans. Make a meal plan for the remainder of your detox to focus on foods that will support digestion.
Principle Procedures (Pradhana karma)
The second phase of Panchakarma involve the principle procedures, during which detoxification occurs. For the at-home version, the next three days will each have a primary focus, which you can do at any point throughout the day. Remember to include gentle exercise, meditation, tea, and a light diet throughout this phase.
Day 3: The primary focus of day three is nasal irrigation. This cleansing of the sinuses may be especially beneficial for those with allergies. One way to do this is through the use of a neti pot. Alternatively, you may choose to boil water, adding in essential oils or seasonings that you enjoy. Sit near the boiling water and breathe in the steam for several minutes, being very careful not to stay too close as steam can cause burns.
Day 4: With several days of a moderated diet now in place, the body is ready to release toxins. This can be done with a sweat treatment. Begin by dry-brushing your entire body to reduce Kapha build up. Using either a hot bath or shower, surround yourself with heat to encourage sweating. Be sure to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration and stop the process immediately if you are feeling unwell. Again, you may choose to incorporate soothing essential oils to this process for a little extra relaxation.
Day 5: Now that the body has been cleansed of toxins, it is time to rejuvenate with an oil massage, or Abhyanga. Self-massaging is a great way to relax and stimulate the body for healing. You may use any body oil you like, or try Ajara’s Cinnamon Sage Balancing Oil, made with organic sunflower oil and balancing herbs for a deeply nourishing massage.
Post-Therapy Procedures (Paschat karma)
Congratulations—you’ve reached the final phase of your detox. The post-therapy procedures are meant to transition the body back into normal routine. Over the next two days, continue to practice yoga and meditation, while gradually introducing heartier foods into your diet.
Day 6: Today, try a more intense yoga session to strengthen the muscles, followed by a short self-massage. Eat a heartier meal midday, allowing plenty of time for digestion before bed. These practices will fortify both the body and mind.
Day 7: For the final day, repeat the practices from yesterday, and prepare to continue your healthy habits using a Dosha-specific diet. (If you aren’t sure about your Dosha, learn more here.) Spend extra time in meditation today, practicing deep-breathing while reflecting on your detox journey. Were your intentions fulfilled during this process? What changed feelings or sensations do you notice in your body now?
It is recommended that Panchakarma take place seasonally, but you may choose to utilize any of these cleansing methods at any time. Incorporating regular exercise, meditation, and a personalized diet into your daily habits will help maintain nourishment until your next detox. By listening to and fulfilling your body’s needs, you will be better prepared to fight off illness, overcome stress, and stay balanced during chaotic times.