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What Will You Reduce in 2022?

Jan/19/2022 / by Sweta Vikram

In Ayurveda, there is this concept of “langhana.” Simply put, langhana means therapies that help with “reduction” or “to lessen.” It is one of the six principles of treatment in this ancient healing science from India. And its purpose is to make the body light by reducing heaviness. Langhana treatment is typically recommended for diseases or conditions in which there is a heaviness or an obstruction. Think diabetes, asthma, indigestion, obesity, sinusitis, high cholesterol, fever, and constipation, and other kapha-dosha related issues.

We now know that the procedures or substances that create lightness in the body are called langhana. Correct? However, in Ayurveda, “langhana” can also describe therapeutic fasting or intentional starving. Langhana is done whenever there is ama (toxins).

Forget about diseases for a second or weight loss (Not suggesting that you ignore your health; just put it aside for a moment and look at life). Think about your day-to-day life. Toxins, or ama, aren’t necessarily limited to your inner body. Where do you overdo things? Where do you need to scale back? Which aspect of your life could use “reduction?” Where do you sense “blockages”? Which parts could use “cleansing”? What toxins do you need to eliminate to live your healthiest life?

Fasting isn’t just about reducing or abstaining from food. Apply it to life. How can you apply langhana, aka fasting, this coming week, month, or quarter? Is it reducing social media use? Is it minimizing conversations with those who put you down? Is it recognizing relationships that aren’t fulfilling and cutting down on interactions? Is it not reaching out for that third glass of wine when you feel stressed? Is it detaching from other people’s suffering? Is it cutting down on binge-watching TV? Is it asking yourself if you really want that last slice of pizza? Is it stepping away from all kinds of mental junk…? You pick where you need langhana, instead of living in autopilot mode and ignoring your wellness.

Here is how you can recognize what needs to be reduced or eliminated:

  • Evaluate where the toxins exist.
  • Recognize what needs to be reduced.
  • Analyze how ama impacts your life.
  • Understand why langhana would be helpful.
  • Take action, because your wellness is your responsibility.

How Ayurveda teaches us to “cleanse” our lives.

At the end of 2021, I decided to have a dry first quarter in 2022. January is my birthday month, and I wanted to gift myself a wholesome month. What does that mean? It means no alcohol from January to March. I am not one who can even be defined as a drinker. I barely drink any more. Never on weeknights. And even when I do enjoy a glass a few times a month on weekends with friends or family, it’s really good quality wine (oftentimes organic, to reduce sulfite intake).

Why did I want to apply langhana to wine, even if I rarely drink and don’t depend on alcohol to lower stress or have fun? Because no matter the quality or quantity, wine impacts my sleep. I wake up in the middle of the night with palpitations, even after drinking half a glass of wine. Mind you, I hydrate myself constantly while I am sipping on a glass for hours at stretch. My dominant dosha is pitta, which means wine creates heat in my body. You can see that in my skin (Hello, flushed face!) and my mood (irritable and snappy). Acidic and sour foods are quite an imperfect pair for high pitta individuals like me.

The ultimate reason: If I don’t sleep well, I am unable to wake up at 4 a.m. the next day to meditate and write – which is non-negotiable in my book. I loathe anything that impacts my workouts. Lack of sleep makes me lethargic, and wine slows me down. I pride myself on my cala quality (speed, in Ayurvedic terms). The irritability is “sharp,” another pitta trait. I don’t like being unkind with my words. It’s been a little over two weeks since I’ve had a sip of wine. I have never felt better!

What are you willing to reduce in your life?

Our emotional, mental, and physical health are all connected. New Year doesn’t mean New You. But we could all use a little work on ourselves because that’s self-development, which adds to your growth and evolution. Langhana can have a direct impact on your choices, your mindset, and your body, your relationships, your productivity, and your overall being.

“Ayurveda teaches us to cherish our innate-nature, ‘to love and honor who we are,’ not as what people think or tell us, ‘who we should be.’” – Prana Gogia

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