Guest blog post by VYC Ambassador Mandi Mack!
What is Oil Pulling…..and why you should give it a try!
Why: For several reasons, it cleans both your teeth and liver, stimulates/soothes and helps drain sinuses, calms your mind, clears energetic blockages and balances the energies left/right, feminine /masculine.
- Choose an oil. If you know your Dosha choose from the following:
- Vata: sesame, or olive
- Kapha: sunflower, or apricot
- Pitta: coconut or avocado
If not my fav ‘go to’ oil is coconut, I always have it around and the taste is the easiest to start with.
- First thing in the morning place 1tsp of oil in your mouth and swish for 15 minutes. Spit it out as an offering in your garden or flush down the toilet, it can leave a mess in the sink. Try starting with 2 min and work your way up. The mouth and jaw can get sore if you jump right to 20 min, so may need some time to get accustomed to being used in this way.
If you have never done oil pulling, you may want to pay attention to how you are feeling after wards. Some people will have what is called a cleansing reaction, feeling tired, foggy, light headed or feel like you’re getting a headache. This happens because the toxins from your liver are being reabsorbed. Your body has evolved to be very efficient and it will reabsorb the unused bile and reuse it, which sometimes means absorbing any toxins that may have been released. The best way to counter that is:
Before oil pulling try:
- Water- It is always your friend; the more your GI is hydrated and happy, the less it will reabsorb. Drink 2 cups
- Greens- Taken 10 mins. prior will catch and usher the toxins out of the body.
- Insoluble fiber- Small amount of psyllium, pre-hydrated chia or flax taken 10 mins. before you oil pull, like the greens.
There you go, Bobs your uncle! Congratulations! If you only read this far and decide to try it out for yourself, fantastic! If you would like to learn a little more about the Benefits of Oil Pulling, then read on!
Physical: The swishing action can both strengthen and relax the jaw which can help with neck tension and also stimulates an orthopedic connection to the hips. So if you have hip tightness this can help.
Mouth: It is cleansing for the mouth. The action of swishing oil around in your mouth gets into cracks and crevices on the teeth and gums, cleaning out bacteria, food, and creating a layer of protection. It physically stimulates the base of the sinuses, which can have a draining action, helping to clear them out.
Energetic: It stimulates the soft palate of the mouth or ayurvedic marma point called shringatika which is considered the gate way to the senses or the meeting of the energy channels of the nose, eyes, ears and tongue.
Emotional: Stimulating your mouth and jaw you are also working with vishuddha or your 5th chakra which is where we speak our truth (or may be blocked and not able to), by stimulating this area we can release emotions that need to be expressed. The liver is an organ associated with fiery emotions like anger or frustration, so by stimulating it you are able to relieve/release those emotions.
Spiritual: Sense of connection and calm. This practice can serve as a morning meditation, or a practice in presence where you gain a greater connection to your deeper truth or enjoy quiet contemplation. Take this time as an opportunity to spend 20 min focusing on the act of swishing, the sensations and the experience. Become a compassionate witnessing to the emotions or thoughts running through your head!
Internal: It helps to stimulate and cleanse your liver. So to understand this we need a bit of a run through on how the digestive system works. It starts in the mouth. Our tongue is something that does more that “just taste” delicious food. It acts as the first point of contact for digestion. When your tongue tastes something, it then sends a message to your digestive system so it can prepare the proper helpers in the form of enzymes and bile for digestion. It tells the body what it needs to produce, to help efficiently break down whatever it is you are eating.
A quick example of how your body reacts to taste would be this: think of something sour like a green apple, green grapes, a berry or sour candy and you may notice that you start salivating. That is happening further down your GI as well.
Back to oil pulling, here you are swishing oil in your mouth. The tongue says hey digestive tract there’s oil coming down get ready! Since we break down oil with bile from our liver via the gall bladder, the message goes out and the liver goes into action and starts making bile. It then sends it to the gallbladder, which then further concentrates it, and it is then ready for use and excreted into you intestines, ready to break down the fat. So you may ask, how is this cleansing? The answer is the liver usually gets the message after a quick chew…. if your swishing for 20 min it gets the message that there is A LOT of oil on its way, so goes into high gear to create enough supply to meet the demand. Since the liver is a self-cleansing organ it needs to depose of toxins in some way, it just happens to do so with bile. This is why there is a belief that when you stimulate the liver it is a way of cleansing.
Happy Oil Pulling!
(Please consult your doctor before trying this method if you suffer from any kind of gallbladder or liver related issue or react to eating fats)
I love yoga, and have been on a journey for many years. Yoga is like an old friend. You know the kind, the best friend, the one with full acceptance and depth, with roots so deep that if you not able to talk or see each other for a while , there are no hard feelings . Then when you, meet again its feel like the missing piece you didn’t even realize had slipped away, as the connection picks back up, and the new exploration of where your at begins once again .
My journey has been like this, exploring the various limbs, learning integrating, and coming back. It has helped me through various phases and challenges along my journey, through depression, break ups and death. To the more light and happy times.