• Jo Draper

My Nine Day Ayurvedic Cleanse

Updated: Oct 22, 2019

As most of you know, I'm currently travelling through India. I have just spent the past couple of weeks in the mountains, in a little village called McLeod Ganj, north of Dharamshala. My first week was spent in an ashram practising some much-needed yoga, after a big few months of travel. I then moved into a detox retreat centre. 

I've had a lot of questions about the detox so here is a full rundown:

I only discovered the Auyvedic Centre as I was walking past and saw the sign. I wanted to learn more about traditional Auyvedic medicine, as I will be studying it during the yoga teacher training course I am completing this month. I made an appointment with the Doctor. My experience was both insightful and a little confronting. The Doctor checked my full health background, checked my fingernails, eyes and tongue. She did a pulse reading; something I hadn't experienced previously. That was incredible! She was bang on with my health, my personality traits, and with the way, I managed stress. I had toxins in my lungs and liver and she suggested I do a Panchakarma treatment (herbal cleaning of the body) for three weeks. Nine days was all had, so she worked with that. And just like that, I was booked in to do a full liver, and emotional blockages cleanse. 

So what is Ayurvedic medicine?  

Ayurvedic medicine is the traditional Hindi system to medicine, to holistically treat and integrate the mind, body and spirit. The holistic approach includes diet, herbal remedies, exercise, meditation, breathing and physical therapy.

We all have three Doshas which makes up our constitution: Vata, Pitta and Kapha. This will remain the same throughout our lifetimes. The Doshas are biological energies throughout the body and determines what foods we eat, how we exercise, and what herbs are beneficial to us. My Dosha is 45% Vata 45% Pitta, 10% Kapha.

I know a lot of you will question what could I possibly have to detox from as I'm so healthy (I get asked this a lot). Binge drinking through younger years, taking the contraceptive pill for fifteen years, the air that we breathe, the water that we drink, the cosmetics we apply to our skin, the pesticides in our food. These are all major contributors to toxins in our bodies. 

The rules while detoxing:

  • Only eat easily digested foods including; fruit and vegetables, herbal tea, steamed rice, vegetable soups and khichdi (rice and dahl cooked together). 

  • No alcohol, caffeine, dairy or sugar

  • No sexual activity – it creates too much Vata energy 

  • No strenuous activity, no hiking 

  • Lots of rest and relaxation! 

Day 1 

I started the treatment at 9:30 am with a big drink of Ghee, mixed with Ayurvedic herbs. It was equivalent to drinking a cup of butter. An acquired taste I guess….. Next followed a one hour massage with Ayurvedic oils and herbs, a steam bath and nasal cleanse. The nasal cleanse includes a face massage, and then a mix of herbs is put into the nostrils. It tastes horrible but definitely clears the nasal passage.

The Doctor explained I would be very exhausted that day, and she was right! By the time I finished and made it to a restaurant, it was 1 pm, and I was starving! I was under strict instructions not to sleep that day, but that afternoon as I was watching some YouTube clips, I couldn't fight it anymore and fell asleep for a couple of hours. I was exhausted. 

Day 2 / 3 

These days included the same treatment; ghee shot, massage, steam bath and nasal cleanse. I struggled to stay in the steam bath for longer than 15 minutes. Over these two days, I was feeling a little weak, but overall pretty good. It was essential to keep up my water intake to stay hydrated. 

Day 4 

The same treatment continued this morning. Today I lasted 20 minutes in the steam box, but as I came out, I felt terrible. As I went out of the steam room and lay on the bed, I didn't know if I was going to faint or vomit.  This was my emotional day! I mostly chilled, did some writing and watched some documentaries. 

Day 5

Today was 'D' day. The big, fat serious Detox day. The purpose of today was to make the body completely empty and detoxify the liver. At 9:30 am, the Doctor gave me a tablet comprised of natural herbs to take. She explained it would take approximately one and a half hours before I would feel the effects. Not for me! I was racing to the toilet within 5 minutes. I then had to take a second tablet at around 11:30 am.

I didn't leave my room the entire day. After 14 trips to the toilet, a few vomits and some serious nausea it was all over by about 7 pm. I had a bowl of clear soup (vegetable broth) at 3 pm, and for dinner, I ate Khichdi; an Ayurvedic recipe full of medicinal herbs, which is good for the digestive system. 

Day 6 

I was allowed breakfast today, and I can tell you my porridge and fruit was a very welcomed treat following my big detox day. I saw the Doctor, and she explained my new protocol, which would start today. First, I had a back massage and a steam session over my back. Next was my enema. It was the first time I have ever had one, and it really wasn't that bad. I was filled with a medicinal oil called Dhaanwantharam Thailan and was told to leave it in for 2 hours. It was only a small amount, so I didn't find it too hard.

The next treatment was a Shirodhra. The name comes from the Sanskrit name shiro (head) and dhara (flow). It's a form of Ayurvedic therapy that involves gently pouring liquids over the forehead. The oil she used was called Bhmai Oil. The treatment was beautiful. My head felt clear; my entire body relaxed. I swear my face had a few less wrinkles.  

Day 7 

Today was a little more uncomfortable. It was a similar treatment as yesterday, only today was the 'big' enema. The enema was huge! I think she tipped in about 2 liters of oil and herbs into me. When I thought that was it, she tipped in more. It filled up my entire stomach and was very uncomfortable. The good thing was I didn't have to hold it today and could go to the toilet right after.

While it was uncomfortable at the time, I felt great afterwards. Just as the Doctor had predicted, today I was feeling much better and my strength was returning. I did a yoga class that afternoon.  

Day 8 / 9 

This was the same protocol as day 6. Back massage, small enema (hold for two hours) and nasal cleanse. 

My treatment all finished up a few days ago, and I can say I'm feeling great.

No major changes at the moment, but I am feeling very clear-minded, and I feel light. The Doctor has given me a massive bag of herbs to take over the following months. So time will tell how I really feel. I have wanted to do something like this for quite a while, and the timing felt right. I thoroughly enjoyed it.   

On Thursday, I took the overnight bus to Rishikesh (the home of yoga). My 300-hour teacher training starts on Friday, and I look forward to sharing my learning's with you. 

If you would like to know more or have any questions, please comment below! 

Big love Jo