By Dr. Anju Sodhi (Bams, ND)
We’ve made through the holidays and now we have a new year ahead of us. Many of us make New Year’s resolutions and then realize that we don’t know how to accomplish them. Our minds seem cluttered and a big goal seems to be so far away. These roadblocks in our minds could be from a buildup of ama, or in other words, toxins in our bodies and minds. Our Agni, or digestive fire, is most likely weak this time of year. It is important to kindle this fire and regain our optimal strength. To get 2019 started right, why not try doing a small full body detox and make those resolutions seem like easy to do tasks?
Daily self-massage is the first habit to establish this new year. Vata is high during the winter and the typical lifestyle we lead increases stress. Vata qualities are cold, rough, dry, clear, light, and mobile. These qualities are necessary to accomplish things in life, but too much of them cause anxiety, insomnia, and stress. Dry skin and irregular digestions can occur. Using oil instead of a lotion brings balanced heaviness and lubrication by way of the skin. Warm up some jojoba, avocado, or almond oil that is in a bottle in a hot glass of water. After showering, use the oil all over the body, including the face. You will find your skin will look amazing and that you are calmer during the day. You may also notice that your mind works faster and you have more concentration just from this simple addition to your morning routine. You may also feel warmer than usual despite the cold outside. Self-massage, or abhyanga, can be practiced daily and can be done for both morning and sleeping routines. This practice alone will start to increase Agni strength and protect it from the windy nature of Vata.
Sweating is an important part of detox. This can be done with exercise or using a sauna or sweatbox. The skin has a natural intelligence that allows it to sweat out toxins that we have ingested. Drink plenty of water when you decide to sweat, providing the body with a fluid to excrete out ama without dehydrating it. If you decide to use a sauna, repeat the daily oil massage. This extra lubrication assists with sweating and binds toxin to fully pull them out. Do not eat right before sweat therapy or exercising. Please note that if you are a person who enjoys swimming for exercise that you do sweat a large amount. Add this to your consideration if you choose to also use a sauna. This can be done two to four times a week for four weeks. Be nice to yourself and don’t push yourself to stay hot longer than is comfortable. At the beginning of the process, you may notice new or odd body odors. Do not worry about them as this is normal and needed. Sweating removes many Kapha qualities, but we do not want to deplete our grounded dosha too much.
Restore digestion fire, or Agni can be a pleasant process. Providing the body with easy-to-digest and tasty meals will kindle the fire, especially after the holiday season. We recommend eating kitchree for every meal for two weeks. This seems daunting but remember that you can change what goes into the kitchree. Use rice, quinoa, amaranth, whole oats and/or millet as grains. Interchange which cooked vegetables that you use to bring variety. You can even change the type of dal you use as long as you soak them appropriately. Mix up the different types of spices or cook the kitchree to slightly different consistencies. Adding ghee on the top will make feeling satiated easy. Furthermore, kitcheree is easy to reheat and transport. Try going meatless for the two weeks. You will find yourself having regular bowel movements and feeling energetic during the day. Please see our kitcheree recipes for this month. To further digestion, try using Triphala nightly to increase the ability for the gut to absorb nutrients.
Once Agni is strong, you will feel up to the task of facing this new year with vitality, focus, and enjoyment. Body cleansing does not need to be daunting. In fact, it celebrates the body and provides it with love and nourishment. Best of all, the whole family can participate in this renewal, customizing nutritional needs for each member. Happy New Year and here’s to a year of vibrant health!
Dr. Anju Sodhi was born in Haryana, India. The eldest daughter of a chemist/pharmacist, she developed an early interest in medicine which led her to study at India Chakarovarty College for her Pre-Med Undergraduate Degree and go on to receive a B.A.M.S. (Bachelor in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery) degree, from Khanpur Women’s University, in Haryana, India. She immigrated to the United States in 1990 where she enrolled at Bastyr University to pursue a degree in Naturopathic Medicine. She graduated in 1993 with her husband Dr. Shailinder Sodhi.
Since then, she’s been an active naturopathic and Ayurvedic physician at the Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Clinic. Seeing a need for skincare services, Dr. Anju Sodhi added an esthetician degree to her educational expertise in 2005. This led her to open Abha Skincare and Medical Spa, operating in conjunction with the Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Clinic.
Dr. Anju lectures and teaches about Ayurveda and skin care and in addition to that and a busy practice, she is a mother of three beautiful children: Khushbu, Mahak and Ayush. She loves to cook and enjoys traveling and outdoor activities.