The Beauty of Simple Ayurvedic Practices

by Jade Shutes


Enhance Your Vitality (Ojas)

Over the last few months I have begun to incorporate some of the teaching I received over the last two years from Arjun Das and Melanie Sachs. Although I have been practicing all of these techniques, it has only be recently that I made a commitment to daily practice.  It has now been one month!!!

I found that beginning with some simple additions first (tongue scraping and oil pulling) and then adding to this (abhyanga) after a few weeks of settling into a new routine has been most helpful.

The first two things I added into my morning ritual, so to speak, included: Kavala gandusha (mouth/digestive care) also known as oil pulling and Jiva sodhana (tongue cleaning). Upon awakening I immediately scrap my tongue and then move right into oil pulling.

Tongue Cleaning (Jiva sodhana)

The information in this section is from Taking Care of your Senses by Melanie Sachs. It is used with permission.

The Charaka Samhita says, “The dirt which is collected at the root of the tongue creates obstructions in respiration and produces a foul smell, hence one should scrape the tongue.”

The white film on the top of the tongue means there are millions of bacteria living there and this bacteria likes to live at the back of the tongue. The practice of scraping the tongue removes the white color waste products from the surface of the tongue, and enhances the functioning of the taste buds.

Tongue scraping can:

  • Reduce halitosis (bad breath)
  • Provide a clean environment for good dental hygiene
  • Revitalize throat
  • Relieve/remove frequent sore throat
  • and much more!

How to scrape the tongue:
Tongue scraper or Cleaner tongue scrapers are usually made from gold (vata), silver (pitta), copper (kapha), tin, brass and stainless steel (tridoshic).  You can get a tongue scraper from a natural food store or from Banyan Herbs.

Stick out your tongue. Take the two ends of the tongue scraper in your hand, and reach the arch of it to the back of your tongue. Scrap forward several times, rinsing the white mucus off the scraper between scrapings. Rinse out the mouth once you are done.

After I am done with tongue scraping I then move on to oil pulling.

Oil Pulling

Ayurveda-imageThe Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita has reference to Kavala gandusha or Kavala graha as produced in oil pulling therapy practiced in ancient India. Kavala refers to that which is related to the oral cavity and gandusha is a gargle. Kavala graha is a medicine that can be held in the oral cavity, in this case.

The technique known as oil pulling or oil swishing assists in the process of pulling out oral toxins. Just as the skin excretes body waste and toxins, the tongue eliminates toxins and harmful microbes from the body.

Ayurvedic science maps the tongue with organ-locations. Different sections of the tongue are connected to the kidneys, lungs, spleens, liver, heart, pancreas, small intestines, stomach, colon, and spine. Oil pulling eliminates toxins from the whole body through the tongue.

I do my oil pulling after I have scraped my tongue and while I am preparing coffee for my partner before he goes to work. I also take my dog outside for his morning outing.  This is about 15-20 minutes. Then I spit out the oil, swish warm water around my mouth, brush my teeth and then drink a cup of warm water. And voila, I am ready to begin my day.

How to do ‘oil-pulling’:
  • Take approximately 1 tablespoon to 1 ounce of sesame or sunflower oil. I like to use sesame oil.  Place the oil in your mouth and pull and swirl the oil in your mouth through your teeth for 10-20 minutes. Gargle the mouth with the oil without swallowing it in a controlled swirling manner.

When the viscosity of the oil decreases due to its uniform mixing with the saliva of the mouth, be ready to spit it out. As you salivate the oil quickly feels more like water. The oil mixture should appear milky white. If it is yellow it indicates insufficient swishing.

  • Rinse your mouth out with warm water. and finally, Brush your teeth!
  • Once complete with this, drink a cup of warm water to support a healthy digestive fire ‘agni’.
  • Get rid of bad breath
  • Bowel movements improve
  • Mitigates headaches, bronchitis, tooth pain, root canal, thrombosis, eczema, ulcers, intestinal disease, heart and kidney disease, and women’s health issues.

NOTE: In the beginning you will notice certain symptoms like headache, excessive drowsiness, feverishness, runny nose, stomach ache, etc. Do not stop, it is an indication that the oil pulling is working.

Within two weeks of oil pulling you will notice an improvement in your strength and vitality. You will feel refreshed and will sleep calmly. Aches and pains will disappear from the body.

I highly recommend committing to adding these into your mornings for at least a month.  I have noticed a definite improvement in my energy levels and an overall better sense of taste.  I have also noticed that my receding gums are improving.  Something I have been working on for a while now.

I am now in the process of adding daily abhyanga into my mornings.  To Learn more about Abhyanga, see Self abhyanga by Rhada Crawley.

Om shante.