Do you take a look at your tongue in the morning? You should! It is a great indicator of your state of health, and specifically the state of your digestion. In Ayurveda, tongue analysis is a main diagnosing tool to determine someone’s current state of imbalance. Your tongue speaks in more ways than you’ve realized!
Digestion is #1 for good health
When our digestion is impaired, food is not absorbed efficiently and leaves behind a raw, toxic residue that Ayurveda calls ama. You may see some of that whitish, sticky, gooey substance on your tongue in the morning. Yuck. I know. But hey, on the other hand isn’t that great that you can just stick your tongue out and get instant feedback on the state of your digestion? Digestion is HUGE when it comes to your energy level, immunity, moods, skin health, elimination, quality of your tissues…everything! So much so that Ayurveda says you are what you digest. Not what you eat. Subtle, yet big difference.
If allowed to build up in your GI tract, this toxic substance eventually starts circulating throughout your body, potentially clogging the channels of circulation and preventing flow of nutrients, oxygen and life force to all tissues. Hence the line “Ama is the Mama!” (coined by one of my teachers, Doctor Chauhan, BAMS) which means ama creates many, if not most dis-eases.
How do I know if I have ama accumulation?
Here are signs you may have some ama build-up:
- Feeling heavy
- Feeling lethargic, foggy, unclear
- Thick coating on the tongue in the morning
- Feeling tired after eating
- Stiff and painful joints
- Poor circulation
- Skin blemishes
- Bad breath
It’s undeniable that we live in an increasingly toxic world and that at least some cleansing is necessary to keep our bodies and minds functioning optimally. Read on for simple things you can do daily to begin releasing ama.
Easy ways to release ama:
- Scrape your tongue first thing in the morning. You really don’t want to swallow that toxic residue back in! Use a tongue scraper NOT your toothbrush (which would be pushing ama deeper into your tongue).
- Have a glass of hot lime water.Cleanses the entire GI tact and will promote a bowel movement.
- Eat only when hungry! This is a very important recommendation. Eating when not hungry is a sure way to create ama and feel sluggish. So if you’re not hungry for breakfast, skip it. if you’re still not hungry at lunchtime, skip it. Not hungry at dinner time? Skip it! You’ll do your digestive system a big favor. In fact, I suggest you wait until you are really hungry to eat your next meal. You might be surprised how long you wait! This is a simple and effective way to reset your metabolism and feel lighter in no time. (Once you do get really hungry, please DO eat! Not eating when hungry induces a stress-response and the slowing down of your metabolism, which then slows down your digestion and you guessed it, causes the formation of ama).
- Strengthen your digestive fire by sipping on ginger tea in between meals. The light and spicy qualities of ginger are ideal to kindle your digestive fire (a must to keep ama from forming in the first place).
So which practice are you going to try first? Because they are all gentle I suggest you implement all of them!