YOLY Challenge #11: Cleanse Your Tongue

This week’s challenge is for a practice that you do off your mat.

Cleaning your tongue. It should be a daily ritual and maybe some of you do it already.  It’s more than a quick brush over the area after you attend to your teeth.  Chandra dhauti, sanskrit for “the daily cleansing of the tongue”, involves “scraping” the tongue.  Gasp! We will do it gently, I promise.

Why Should We Cleanse the Tongue?

For one, its dirty.

And just like the teeth it can harbor germs and a build up of mucous that should be removed.  Your diet will determine the amount of build-up that sits on the tongue.  In Ayurveda terms, the build-up is a sign of excess ama.  Ama is a sanskrit word defined as the residue of toxins that remain undigested in the body.  We all carry them to some extent.  Clean eating can reduce the amount of ama but “unhappy or unfocused eating” can also lead to incomplete digestion and an accumulation of ama.

A clean tongue absorbs prana.

With an open pathway, oxygen and prana can flow through the body more effectively. This will make your eyes sparkle and your mind function more clearly.  Mystically, the tongue is connected to the moon center or the chandra chakra. The chandra chakra is the portal between the inner and outer worlds. Some say that it is the channel to the fountain of youth. Therefore, it is vital that the tongue gathers each breath effectively, like nectar, in order to stimulate the moon chakra.

What is a Tongue Scraper?

A tongue scraper or cleaner can be plastic or stainless steel.  I recommend a stainless steel cleaner as it is easier to keep germ free.  I use a relatively inexpensive one by Dr. Tung (click here for the amazon link). A sterling silver or silver plated spoon or butter knife could work also.  Just make sure that you use the dull side of the utensil. Traditionally, silver is used because that metal is associated with the moon. It is also known that small deposits of silver on the tongue protect it from infection.

How Do We Cleanse the Tongue?

  1. Brush your teeth and rinse away any toothpaste residue.
  2. Dissolve a pinch of salt into a glass of room temperature water and rinse your mouth again.
  3. Hold the tongue cleaner in both hands, open your mouth & extend your tongue.

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  4. Place the loop of the tongue cleaner at the back of the tongue and pull forward gently.
  5. Repeat 2-3 times.
  6. Rinse the tongue cleaner and your mouth with the remaining salt water.

May silvery moonlight stream into your inner space and fill your body with ambrosia, the nectar of immortality.

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