The Perfect Cleanse for Yogis: Kitchari
Ayurveda is the 5,000 year old sister science of yoga; it translates to “knowledge of life” in Sanskrit. Do you need a mental, physical or spiritual reset? Are you fatigued or feeling out of balance? Try this balancing Ayurvedic cleanse.
What is Kitchari (AKA Kichadi, Khichari or Kichari)?
This cleanse is based on a dish called kichadi or kitchari and cumin, coriander, fennel tea. Kitchari consists of split mung beans and basmati rice, with spices and herbs. It is balancing to the body, harmonious to mind and easy to digest. Try this cleanse for a day, week or even longer; just listen to your body. You can try this cleanse as the seasons change, but spring is a particularly powerful time to reset.
Tridoshic Kitchari Recipe
Half a medium onion finely diced
1 inch fresh peeled ginger, finely diced
1/4 teaspoon hing or asafoetida (reduces the gaseous nature of beans)
1 cup split mung dal
3/4 cup white basmati rice
1/2 bunch spinach (or other vegetables such as asparagus, zucchini, etc.)
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt/rock salt
4 1/2 cups water (add more water for soup-like texture or less for a drier stew)
4 tablespoons ghee
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Garnishes: parsley, lime, sesame seeds and/or cilantro
Wash the dal and rice until the rinse water is clear; drain well. Heat the ghee on medium in a pan. Add the onions and ginger to sauté until tender. Add the cumin, fennel, coriander, and hing and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the dal and rice to the mixture. Sauté for a few more minutes and add the cold water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir, and lower the heat. Simmer on low until tender with the lid on (about 20 minutes). Meanwhile, wash and chop the vegetables. Add the greens to the top of the mixture and replace the cover. Allow to steam on top for 5-8 minutes. When done, add salt and stir. Garnish with a squeeze of lime, fresh cilantro or parsley, a dollop of ghee and toasted sesame seeds.
Cumin Coriander Fennel Tea
Take 2 teaspoons each of cumin, coriander and fennel. Add them to boiling water. Turn the heat down and let simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and sip warm tea throughout the day.
Other considerations: if you are going through a divorce, moving or changing jobs, try the gentle techniques of dinacharya, instead of a cleanse.
Spinning the Seven Sacred Centers: Ayurveda And the Chakra
The popular seven chakra system is well known in the West. Chakra, meaning vortex or wheel, are the sacred centers of spiritual transformation. Everything from clothing, home décor, and oracle cards sport the seven subtle centers with their associated rainbow of colors. Popular western literature corresponds each of the chakras with a fundamental human need. The root chakra, or Muladhara, is associated with the need for survival.
The second chakra, Swadisthana, is associated with the need for emotional flow, desire, and sexuality. The third chakra, Manipuri, is associated with self-worth. The fourth chakra, Anahata, is associated with love. The fifth chakra, Vishudhi, is associated with the need for expression. The sixth chakra, Ajna, is associated with insight and intuition. And the 7th or crown chakra, Sahasrara, is associated with connection to the divine.
However, ancient scriptures on the chakras such as the 16th-century text, Sat Chakra Nirupama, do not associate the seven chakras with fundamental human needs. This association was, to my knowledge, first made by Carl Jung in a series of lectures that have been republished as “(1932).
Likewise, the association of rainbow colors (red for the 1st chakra, orange for the 2nd and so on up to purple at the crown) was made first in the 1970s in a book titled “,” by Christopher Hills. Ancient Sanskrit and Tibetan texts on chakras and the subtle energetic body (also known as the Pranamayakosha) have various numbers of chakras and a variety of color schemes that do not follow the “ROYGBIV” rainbow-schema.
For better or worse, the seven chakra system has become reified in yogic culture; the seven chakras system is the “standard” system with which most students and teachers of yoga are familiar with. Many students and teachers of yoga may also have some familiarity with Ayurveda, the “Science of Life.” Ayurveda is a system of earth-based holistic medicine that was originally developed in ancient India but has evolved for contemporary application. Ayurveda uses three archetypal categories, called doshas, to understand balance in the body.
These categories are Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Vata is like air and ether. It is light, dry, and cold, and responsible for everything in the body that moves, communicates, and transports. Pitta is like fire. It is hot and slightly damp. Pitta is responsible for digestion, metabolism, and transformation in the body. Finally, Kapha is similar to earth and water. It is slow and stable. Wet and cold. Kapha is responsible for our stability, immunity, and strength.