Spring Cleaning on the Tip of your Tongue
Mar 05, 2018
Spring Cleaning on the Tip of your Tongue
As we approach spring it is a perfect time for spring-cleaning your body. The less obvious place to start is in your mouth. Specifically your tongue, which is perhaps one of the most underrated and neglected organs in your body. The tongue plays a very obscure but important role in your overall well-being. Besides its crucial function in digestion, it is also one of the most powerful and effective organs to help detoxify your body and lower stress levels. Here are three easy Ayurvedic practices to get you started. These practices will improve your overall health and boost your immune system.
Your tongue is one of the body’s several detoxification paths. Keeping it clean is easy and is a crucial part a health regimen. It simply requires using a tongue scraper: an inexpensive V-shaped, thin (ideally stainless steel) tool. Using a tongue scraper is part of my daily routine that I learned in my Ayurvedic training (Ayurveda is an ancient Indian science of mind-body-wellness). This simple practice has been scientifically proven to help remove bacteria and toxins (otherwise called gunk) that we experience as bad breath or cotton mouth. Brushing your tongue with a toothbrush will only relocate the bacteria or embed them in your toothbrush rather than remove them. It’s best to use a tongue scraper first, (the back of a spoon will work) then, brush your teeth as usual.
Detoxification is just one of the benefits of tongue scraping. Removing gunk and phlegm will improve your overall sense of taste and digestion, because as you scrape you are gently massaging the internal organs linked to different areas of the tongue as well as activating the salivary glands. My Ayurvedic teacher told us that as you reach the back of your tongue it can cause your eyes to water. These “tears” contain enzymes that are beneficial to clean your eyes and prevent cataracts. I was in my early twenties when I learned this. I was mostly motivated by the removing of gunk and bad breath, but over the years I’ve come to appreciate all the extra benefits this simple hygiene habit has given me.
The next two yogic practices to detox your body using your tongue are linked to yogic breathing techniques called “prana-yama.” Prana is your life force. Yama roughly translates “to harvest.” There are numerous techniques. Here are two simple yet powerful techniques to detox and distress your body.
The first one you can learn from your dog.
Dogs know the benefits of panting. Ever notice how happy your dog looks when it is panting? For humans, it is also a great way to not only move toxins but stimulate your immune system. Stick your tongue out and practice breathing in and out in equal segments. Put a hand on your belly and feel the belly stretching out as you breathe in and pulling towards your spine as you breath out. Start slow and increase the rhythm as you are able and stay connected to the movement in your belly. Keep your breath even and light. Don’t try to take deep breaths. Watch a dog do it and learn. They are masters of this technique.
Purring: Cats know this secret but unlike dogs they are more mysterious about how they do it. They simply give you a blissful gaze as they purr into deep relaxation. They know that purring is a great way to relieve stress. Your tongue like any other muscle holds tension. Try purring by making a breathy rhrhrhrrrrrr sound. It may require practice. The more you relax your tongue the easier it gets. You can also simply tap the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth with a da da da da or la la la on the out breath. Try to alternate those two sounds as fast as you can. (Go ahead and laugh if it feels funny. Laughing is good for your overall nervous system). Stimulating the acupuncture points located at the tip of your tongue and the two ridges behind the front teeth activates the meridians or channel of energy that relate to the hypothalamus and pineal glands which regulate the endocrine system. Try it the next time you feel stressed. You will begin to understand the wisdom of our feline friends.
The detox period in your body starts at 4 am and continues until noon, making the morning the most effective time to commit to detox routines. For more information GO to: www.Foundation4yourLIFE.com. More tips of inner spring cleaning coming to you in next month’s column and for info about our Spring Cleaning Retreat Day go to www.JoyFull-yoga.com.