This exercise, which comes from Ayurveda (“life-knowledge”), may seem very strange or silly, if you’ve never tried it. So, before the HOW-TO, here’s the all-important (and maybe surprising reasons) WHY you should make this a daily practice:
It removes build-up on the tongue that can harbor bacteria and cause bad breath
It improves your taste perception, so food becomes more flavorful
It indicates excess in your diet and lifestyle (undigested food and emotions):
Brown/Grey color: Sign of dehydration, or too many raw vegetables and salads
Yellow color: Too much acidic or spicy food
White color: Too much heavy, sweet, thick food, like dairy or meat
It helps you to self-diagnose imbalances in your own body and gives you the guidelines for recalibrating your daily routine or food choices to prevent illness
It can even tell you where, in your body, there is blockage or dis-ease, depending on where the tongue has the most film, or Ama
Knowing all of this helps us understand that tongue scraping is really a mindfulness practice: a way to become more in-tune with your own body and lifestyle. It provides important information to help you live with more balance. Why not give it a try?
(Note that this is a daily practice, because the food we eat, the seasons, our emotions, the environment around us all change constantly. Watch with wonder at how your tongue scraping can differ on different days!)
No need for fancy equipment - use a spoon! Grab one and head to your bathroom sink.
Splash cold water on your tongue.
Holding the spoon upside down, slide the edge of the spoon down the surface of your tongue from the back to the front.
Take a look at what collected on the underside of the spoon and compare it to the color chart above.
Repeat this 7-14 times. Rinse the spoon if there is a lot of build-up between scrapings.
If you feel any discomfort, go easy! No pain or gagging.
Think about what might be leading to the excesses represented in your tongue scraping, and if you so choose, adjust your diet and lifestyle accordingly.
Repeat every morning when you wake up!