Oil pulling. It whitens your teeth, improves your breath, helps your skin and even helps increase energy. So why isn’t everyone doing it?
I’ve been oil pulling for about six months now and, being someone who has always been slightly OCD about oral health, I wanted to share this Ayurvedic practice because it genuinely works!
What is it?
Oil pulling is literally the practice of swishing about a tablespoon of oil around your mouth, first thing in a morning (and on an empty stomach in general) for about 15-20 minutes. It originated in India thousands of years ago, but has been increasingly used medically in the US and UK since the 1990s. The idea is that the scummy layer that builds up in your mouth overnight sticks in the oil so you can spit it out. This is different to just brushing your teeth in the morning, where you move the bacteria around your mouth a bit rather than completely removing it.
What are the benefits?
There are many claims worldwide from people who have experienced benefits from oil pulling, including help with skin conditions, arthritis, asthma, headaches, hormone imbalances, infections, liver
problems etc. However, the main and direct benefits of oil pulling are:
- Whiter teeth
- Healthier gums
- Less sensitive teeth
- Better breath
- Strengthens teeth, jaw and gums
- Prevents mouth bleeding and diseases
How do I do it?
If this sounds like something you think you’ll benefit from, this is how to get started:
1. Get some oil!
Traditionally, people oil pull with either sesame oil or coconut oil. I now alternate between the two, but I would recommend doing it with coconut oil as it has added health benefits and tastes nice!
2. When you wake up in the morning, before you brush your teeth, get one tablespoon of oil and put it in your mouth.
This might sound like an extra thing to do in the morning, but I find that I wake up and am oil pulling while I get showered/dressed. Once you then spit the oil out, you can brush your teeth. Note: You must swish the oil round your mouth for at least 15 minutes, because otherwise all of the scum won’t get into the oil. You’ll know if you’ve done it right if the oil goes from being clear (when you first put it in your mouth) to being thicker and white.
3. Spit it out into the bin or toilet, not the sink.
When the bacteria is in the oil, it becomes pretty gross (even toxic, some say). So it needs to be spat out where it can be disposed of. Ideally you should spit it into the bin because the oil can clog up the pipes. However, I usually spit it into the toilet, and spray a bit of bathroom cleaner down there before I flush for good measure!
4. Inspect your clean, sparkly teeth and brush your teeth as normal.
It’s as simple as that! I will usually clean my tongue with an Ayurvedic tongue scraper after I oil pull, then brush my teeth with a toothpaste without Fluoride or Sodium Laureth Sulfate. However, you can just do whatever it is you usually do!
These are attributes of the mind and can be gauged by how one is feeling. These qualities show the capacity of the mind to perceive truth and act accordingly. One can say that these qualities reflect the level of development of the soul.
Sattva is clarity.It brings about internalization of the mind, movement of the consciousness inward and unification of the head and heart. The mind that is still, calm, pure, focused but not feverish and harmonious is sattvic. Sattvic people tend to be harmonious and adaptable in nature. They are considerate of others, take care of themselves and their bodies, strive towards balance and enjoy a general peace of mind that keeps them healthy and happy. They tend to see the good in everything and look at life as a learning experience. Sattva can be improved by spiritual cultivation, yoga, meditation, chanting, mantra, sattvic diet and lifestyle, spending time in nature and living life in harmony with one’s constitution.
Rajas is distraction or turbulence of the mind.It causes us to look outward and lose ourselves in the external world. Desire, disturbed thoughts, anger, ego, greed, envy are all rajas. The mind that is seeking stimulation is rajasic in nature. Rajasic people have good (sometimes excessive) energy and have a tendency to burn themselves out with excessive activity. They are often impatient and inconsistent in their general approach to life and tend to blame others for their problems.
Tamas is heaviness, lethargy, dullness. It causes the mind to be clouded by fear and ignorance and results in an inability to perceive.The mind that is unfocused, inattentive, dull and dominated by subconscious forces, is tamasic in nature. Tamasic people tend to have blocked or stagnant energy and emotions. They are often caught in bad habits, addictions and attachments that they are unable to question.
Winter is a season which results in small dramatic changes in the body.It affects everything from our skin, digestion, sleep and more! Since we already know that this time of the year is ideal for building and strengthening our immunity , here are a few do’s and don’ts that work towards making it happen!
To YOU, I am hoping you will be in deep meditation. Breathe in it, sleep in it, live in it. Let meditation be your very existence. That’s when it’s HAPPENING. There’s no doing, ONLY being it. BE IN DEEP MEDITATION.
Ayurveda treatments incorporate many herbs and spices that are used for healing as you see in the image above.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term,“ Ayur means life or healing and the root word Veda means wisdom or knowledge.
Ayurveda’s first text of internal medicine was compiled around 200 B.C. and the 1st century A.D. titled the Charaka Samhita. Based on the ancient history of India, Ayurveda can be considered the first healing system or medicine of the world.
Ayurveda has always been well integrated with spirituality and shares many common tools with Yoga. Both Yoga and Ayurveda are really one practice or way of living, which are derived from Vedic teachings. They later formulated as independent sciences. Yoga and Ayurveda are part of the greater bharata (Indian) culture and should never really be studied or practiced as separate systems. ”
*Excerpt from Yoga & Ayurveda program manual by Mas Vidal - Dancing Shiva
ashwagandha in flower. ashwagandha after the frost. fresh harvested ashwagandha roots. a beautiful & powerful adaptogen & nervine tonic. I have felt honored to spend a season with her. dried roots will provide strength through the winter.
“Vinyasa means "breathing system.” Without vinyasa, don’t do asana. When vinyasa is perfect, the mind is under control. That’s the main thing-controlling the mind. That’s the method Patanjali described. The scriptures say that prana and apana are made equal by keeping the ratio of inhalation and exhalation equal and by following the breath in the nostrils with the mind. If you practice this way, gradually mind comes under control’’. -Sri K. Pattabhi Jois