Pancha karma means to cleanse or eliminate excess doshas as well as ama (toxins) from the body. Ideally this is done twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. During pancha karma, a specific detoxification program is designed for each individual to follow. Various treatments and methods to detox organ systems and regions of the body are prescribed including diet recommendations, abhyanga(full body oiling), shirodhara(oiling the third eye & forehead marma), basti(enemas) and other practices that work on the head, chest, and colon region. These treatments target different areas where excess doshas may have accumulated or be hiding out of place. Ideally Pancha Karma is done for at least 7 days, to really give the body time to clean out and eliminate toxins; yet we offer various lengths from 3 to 5 to 7 days in order to accommodate peoples schedules.
As we change seasons from summer to fall, now is a great time to begin a pancha karma treatment. This will help to cleanse and detoxify your body, clear out your channels(srotas) and tissues(dhatus) so that you are more balanced going into winter. Many people build up excess heat during the summer months, so releasing this will help to prevent illness during later months. Also, periodic cleansing in an important part of health, even if you already feel healthy. Just as you deep clean your house or change the oil in your car, so must we clean out our bodily systems from time to time in order to optimize our function and vitality. Doing this will help in preventing disease, increasing energy levels, invigorating sense organs, balancing agni and boosting immunity.
As the seasons change, not only is it important to do pancha karma, but we must change our daily diets and routines as well. As we enter into the season of Fall, we transition from a time of pitta to a time of vata. We feel less of the summer fire/heat and more of the elements ether and air. As the trees begin to change color, the leaves dry out, the air cools off, the wind picks up and winter approaches our bodies are too affected. Some tips for staying balanced this fall are:
~Abhyanga: Oil massage. Massage warm sesame or almond oil onto body before bathing. Let oil soak in at least 15 minutes before showering. (Recommended to have a designated ‘oil robe’ or ‘oil clothes’ to put on while waiting for oil to soak in as not to stain any clothes unintentionally)
~Eat the bounty of seasonal foods such as carrots, radishes, yams, sweet potato’s, dark leafy greens, and all the yummy root vegetables that are great for grounding down. Also enjoy the fruits coming into season such as varieties of apples and pears. As the weather continues to cool off, try cooking your fruit for a warming treat (like and visit our Facebook page, Manish Chandra Santa Cruz Ayurveda for a delicious recipe). Think more cooked moist foods as opposed to raw and cooling foods of summer.
~ Drink warm water upon waking(after brushing teeth & scraping tongue) to cleanse organs and warm body.
~Before bed drink 1 cup of warm milk(or milk substitute of choice) with a pinch of nutmeg. This will help to nourish your body and ease restful sleep.
~Massage oil onto soles of feet, scalp, and ears before bed.
These practices help to follow the seasonal patterns of nature and food, as well as balance out the elemental factors that come into play. As we move into fall we want to balance the drying and cooling aspects of this time as well as the wind which picks up and tends to unground us. So try these suggestions to focus on grounding down, oiling up, staying warm and eating fresh, cooked, & local as we move into the season of fall.
Wishing you health, vibrancy, and balance.