Autumn – a Perfect time to Detox

Ayurveda recommends that we cleanse and reset twice a year – ideally at the onset of both Spring and Autumn. As we transition into Autumn, the body is ready to naturally detox, and we can take advantage of this to eliminate any excess that has built up in our systems over the Summer or indeed, drop the Covid kilos accumulated during lockdown!

We have both adopted this cleansing practice over the last few years and have found it incredibly worthwhile. We have modified the traditional Ayurvedic detox (Pancha Karma which takes 21 days – 7 days prep, 7 days of active cleansing and 7 days of slowly reintroducing varied foods back into the diet) to a more manageable 9 days, for those of us who don’t have the luxury of more or less checking out of everyday life for three weeks and booking ourselves in for a residential detox retreat.

The YogaVeda Living detox structure

PHASE 1Day 1 - Day 3 Eliminate:caffeine, sugar, alcohol, processed food, meat, dairy,eggs, wheat

PHASE 2DAY 4 - DAY 6 Active CleansingMung dal and basmati rice, cooked in ghee and spices

PHASE 3DAY 7 - DAY 9 SlowlyRe-introduce foods back into your diet

PHASE 1: The prep phase (first 3 days) involves eliminating the usual suspects – caffeine, sugar, alcohol, processed foods, meat, eggs, dairy and wheat. Our diet is pretty clean these days so completely eliminating sugar is definitely the hardest one for both of us. I am still partial to a couple of squares of dark chocolate and David has been reputed to put away volumes of digestive biscuits when there is a rugby match on! It has definitely got much easier over the years though. As neither of us take caffeine, we don’t suffer the dreaded withdrawal headaches during the preparation phase. We also have far less cravings now than when we first started so that makes the whole experience a more pleasant one. So, the first three days, you basically eat very cleanly – organic fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds.

PHASE 2: Then the three days of active cleansing begin. The great thing is that you are not fasting – you are not deprived of food. You eat a mono-diet of easily digestible, nutritious kitchari which is a combination of mung beans and basmati rice, cooked in ghee and spices. It is substantial enough to allow you to continue working but it helps to eliminate toxins from the digestive tract while helping to bring balance to all three doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha). You can have this one meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the three days or you can change it up a bit for breakfast (and let’s face it, it can be a bit monotonous so if you are trying this for the first time, I would recommend you choose the varied option), and have warm stewed apples to start your day. Avoiding snacks and adopting a mono-diet of kitchari helps the body to switch from burning sugar to begin burning fat. As most toxins tend to lodge in the fat cells, this is exactly the healthy metabolism shift we want to see.

PHASE 3: You slowly re-introduce foods back into your diet on the last three days, slowly being the operative word. The cleanse is all about eliminating toxins (known as ama in Ayurveda), while rekindling the digestive power of the body. To maintain this, it is important to eat lightly for these last few days. It is not the time to indulge in fish and chips or Pizza!

Using Ayurvedic Treatments and practices during the detox

Tongue scraping - Scrape the tongue from back to front to remove ama or toxicity Oil pulling - Swish sesame oil around the mouth for 10-20 mins (do not swallow!) Abhyanga - Self-massage with warm oil. Oiling the skin brings so many nurturing and pacifying benefits to the nervous system, and at the same time it helps to detoxify the body at a deep level Nasya - Medicated oil drops are administered to the nose. This therapy forms part of the traditional Ayurvedic Pancha Karma cleanse, and is very effective at clearing toxins above the clavicle

Ghee - For a deep cleanse, increasing amounts of ghee are ingested each day. This helps to keep the tissues lubricated during the cleanse and also pulls out the fat-soluble toxins from the cells  Triphala - Herbal formulas aid the removal of toxins. Triphala is a wonderful support during the cleanse. It comprises three different fruits that are helpful for all constitutional types. Triphala has a mild laxative effect and is great for the colon.

Other Ayurvedic treatments that are hugely beneficial to integrate into a detox include Karna Purana, an oiling treatment for the ears that helps to alleviate many conditions including neck stiffness, insomnia and tinnitus, to name just a few.Shirodhara is a therapy that involves a continuous pouring of oil on the forehead. It helps to reduce stress and anxiety, and at the same time improves memory and concentration.

The importance of resting the senses

It is recommended that we rest the senses as much as possible during the whole cleanse. Just think about your average daily screentime between computers, phones and TV. Our eyes definitely work overtime these days. A walk outside in nature is so restorative for our sense organs, compared to prolonged periods of sitting in front of a screen. We were not designed to live that way.

Resting all of the senses (even for a day or two) works wonders in terms of resetting the nervous system. If it is possible, the ideal is to take a few days off work, so that you can rest more generally and support the relaxation of your body and mind. If we are faced with a stressful day, it is very difficult to really embrace that aspect of letting go on all levels.

Journaling, meditation, yoga postures, breathwork and relaxation are highly recommended during this time.

Cleansing from the inside out

Society is obsessed with how we look on the outside. We think nothing of spending money on external beauty but how much time and effort do we put into what is going on internally? Nine days might seem like a big effort but isn’t it worth it? It’s pointless to invest only on maintaining the outside of your house or car and neglecting the interior – we know that is unsustainable, and yet that has become the norm with our most precious asset – our human body and mind.

We have just completed a 9-day detox programme with our YogaVeda Living course members. For some of them, it was a new experience and for those who started the course last February, it was their second cleanse with us. Everyone’s experience was different but the consensus was that the benefits were tangible, both physically and mentally.

The amazing thing about this cleanse is that it works not only on a physical level but also emotionally and mentally. We begin to let go of all sorts of old “gunk” that has been stored in our cells – old traumas and experiences that we were unable to digest at the time. This term, we did a deep group meditation on ancestral healing with our course members (on day 6 of the detox) to honour and give thanks to our lineages and at the same time let go of old patterns that have been passed down through generations. Practices like this give us an opportunity to literally peel away layers that we have been carrying around with us, sometimes for many years. Eliminating toxins is not always a pleasant experience but the feeling of clarity afterwards makes it all worthwhile.

So, whether you want to deep dive or simply drop the Covid Kilos, we can help you with a Detox appropriate for your needs.

Benefits of a seasonal detox

Our experience is that this 9-day process literally upgrades your physiology. The cleanse can be undertaken to address a specific ailment, but it is a pro-active practice in deep self-care to help maintain your health and is a wonderful preventative measure to set yourself up for a healthy Autumn and Winter. Some of the key benefits include: Improved DigestionImproved functioning of internal organsIncreased Energy LevelsClarity of mindImproved sleepBetter SkinFat-burning will also result in weight loss (if this is a goal for you)

Customised Detoxes tailored just for you

We tailor a bespoke detox program for you depending on:  Your goal (e.g., Is your main goal to lose weight or do you want to process deep seated emotional baggage?)  How much time you have available over the 9 days (do you have to work each day)  Whether or not you want to do specific Ayurvedic treatments like Shirodhara, Yoga classes and/or infrared saunas.

A simple home weekend detox

If you would like to do a much simpler home version of a detox over a weekend:

Cut out sweets, alcohol, meat, fish, dairy, processed foods. Cut down on your caffeine intake and replace with herbal teas (max 3 per day). Drink plenty of warm water throughout the day. Massage your body with warm sesame oil. Leave it on for approx. 30 mins before bathing. Make stewed apples for breakfast. Have mung dal or red lentils with basmati rice for lunch and dinner.

Keep portion sizes relatively small – (just enough to fit into two cupped hands). If possible, have the biggest portion at lunch time between 12 – 2pm. Get out into nature for a gentle walk. Avoid over-exercising for these couple of days and let the body rest. Make sure you are in bed by 10pm each night. Avoid spending time in front of screens as much as possible.

If you are interested in a deeper detox this Autumn and would like a quotation, contact Paula by email at or book in for a Detox Consultation to get the ball rolling as they say.