In yoga controlling the mind means controlling the sense organs where the mind is linked to the world (2 eyes, 2 ears, 2 nostrils, skin covering the entire body and a tongue). One single tongue, sounds more manageable than any of the other double organs. And yes, it is advised by reputable yogis firstly to work on the tongue. They say: A spiritual seeker’s primary duty is to have good control over the tongue.Without control of the tongue, we can forget about spirituality. Control in both ways: eating and speaking. The tongue is a special organ for being two in one. An organ of perception (tasting) and an organ of action (speaking). Thus controlling the tongue means hitting 2 birds with one stone. It is quite true if we control our mouth - what we put into it and what comes out of it - we have controlled much of our mind already.The practice of Mauna (observing silence) is certainly a technique that controls the tongue as an organ of action, nicely summed up in the following statement: “those who know much speak little; those who speak much know little” but the question is how to control the organ of perception.
Everyone likes tasty food, there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, good tasty food means good digestion. However it is not easy to resist the temptation and overeat when tasty food is in front of us. Intellectually we know corruption is bad, but the mind, riddled with desires can give us enough sentimental arguments to justify going after illicit gains. If repeated thoughts can become words, words lead to actions, actions form habits, habits shape character and character creates destiny, then the question comes: Could the simple action of physically cleansing the tongue be a promising start on the path of gaining control over the ever hungry and deceitful taste buds? Could this action free us from the lingering memories / impressions of past meals, and lead to liberating our mind from cravings?
In Ayurvedic self-care ritual, tongue scraping is an oral hygiene practice that removes food debris, bacteria, fungi, toxins, and dead cells from the surface of the tongue.
During sleep, our digestive system remains awake, it removes toxins from our body and deposits them onto the surface of our tongue. If we don’t scrape away these toxins, they get reabsorbed into the body by the first meal or drink of the day and can lead to respiratory difficulties, digestive problems and a compromised immune system.
Dentists also recommend the use of a tongue scraper beside a toothbrush. Brushing and flossing loosen and move debris around, however they do not actually remove the bacteria completely. Almost half of our oral bacteria live on and in the deep crevices of our tongue. It is the scraping action that collects these toxic tongue coatings (which can range in colour from clear, white, yellow, or green reflecting one’s state of the health) and removes them from the body.
Benefits of tongue scraping:
1. Fight bad breath.
Bad breath can have a negative impact on a person’s life, relationships and self-esteem. Given that most bad breath comes from the bacteria at the back of the tongue, clinical studies have shown that tongue scraping significantly reduces and removes oral bacteria from the crevices of all areas the tongue.
2. Know the flavours of your food.
Proper digestion begins with taste and salivation. If you don't take steps to remove toxic mucus on the tongue, your taste buds can become blocked. This may lead to false cravings or an inability to recognize the taste of food. Removing build-up from the surface of your tongue will open up its pores and better expose your taste buds, allow for greater enjoyment of food flavours and help stimulate digestion. It does feel like resetting our taste buds by scraping away the compromising memories of yesterday’s good food providing a clean start of the day.
3. Boost your immunity.
The tongue is part of the first line of defence in your immune system. Scraping your tongue prevents toxins from being reabsorbed into your body and boosts overall immune function.
4. Promote dental health.
This oral hygiene practice promotes general tooth as well as gum health by removing bacteria and toxins responsible for periodontal problems, prevents plaque build-up, tooth decay, loss of teeth, gum infections and gum recession.
5. Improve digestive health.
In Ayurveda, proper digestion is considered to be the foundation of good health. Given that digestion begins with taste, it's important to remove any toxins that may obstruct optimal functioning. Scraping also activates saliva production and promotes agni (the body’s digestive fire) to help with digestion throughout the day.
How to scrape your tongue
This Ayurvedic daily routine for maintaining oral health should be done on a regular daily basis, in the morning upon rising with a tongue scraper which is a long, thin, flat piece of metal that is bent in a "U" shape. Tongue scraper is recommended over the use of toothbrush that pushes toxic coating materials backwards.
Standing in front of a bathroom mirror, you scrape your tongue by simply holding the two ends of the scraper in both hands, sticking out your tongue and placing the scraper as far back on your tongue as possible. With a firm but gentle pressure, scrape the surface of your tongue in one long stroke. Rinse the scraper and repeat up to 10 times or until your tongue feels clean and is free of coating.
Where to buy a tongue scraper?
Tongue scrapers are inexpensive and can be purchased at our Richmond location, alternatively at some health food stores as well as online. Choose a stainless steel scraper because they are easier to clean and are ideal for all Ayurvedic constitutions and for the correction of imbalances.