Properly Cleaning Your Tongue
Every morning, before brushing your teeth and before breakfast, use a tongue scraper or a spoon (reserved only for this purpose) to gently scrape your tongue from the back to the front. Try to scrape the entire tongue width, gently but firmly.
Why do this? We are looking for ama.
Ama is Sanskrit and translates as “unripe,” “uncooked,” “raw,” “immature” or “undigested.”
Ama is a form of non-metabolized waste, and evidence of its presence can be seen on the tongue. The formation of small amounts of ama is normal. But when it is not cleaned and removed regularly, the ama becomes a big problem — or in other words, “the cause of all disease.”
The ama looks like a sticky white coat that covers the tongue and can smell like the food consumed the previous day.
By cleaning your tongue every day in this way, it is possible to learn more about yourself and your digestive process. This part of the challenge is also to raise awareness.
Signs and symptoms of ama excess:
- Canal obstruction (sinus congestion, lymphatic congestion, constipation, etc.)
- Fatigue, heaviness, cloudy brain
- Abnormal vata flow, associated with conditions such as heartburn or diarrhea (Vata is one of the doshas according to Ayurveda.)
- Abnormal or dull taste, lack of appetite
- Sexual weakness
- The feeling of being dirty, impure
Causes of ama:
- Deficient diet
- Inadequate sleep
- Lack of a routine
- Excessive, inadequate or lack of exercise
- Irregular eating habits
- Sleep or eat before digesting food
- Sleep during the day (for some constitutions)
- Unresolved emotions
So, the challenge is to clean your tongue after you wake up and check what comes out.
Keep doing this so you can notice when you haven’t digested your food well, when you have bad breath and when your tongue has more ama than normal. Did you eat a heavy meal the day before? Did you eat a lot of meat? Do you feel indigestion?
This is how you begin to pay attention to the signals your body is giving you. Then you can make the appropriate changes to create balance in your body.