5 Peculiar Things that Could Change Your Life.

Via Tanya Lee Markul
on Jan 20, 2011
get elephant's newsletter
Strange and beautiful. Photo by Tanya Lee Markul.

Ok, maybe these things haven’t completely changed my life, but they’ve helped a whole lot. At first, using these objects may be as weird as they seem, but every one of them is worth trying.

  1. A tongue scraper: Toothbrushes are made to clean your teeth; tongue scrapers are made to clean your tongue. Tongue scraping is an Ayurvedic technique used for treating bad breath, but has many other healthy benefits. During the night our body is busy removing toxins. When you wake up, you may notice a white coating on your tongue. Scraping off these toxins first thing in the morning helps your body to avoid re-absorption. It’s not only good for better smelling breath, but helps to remove plaque from teeth, helps taste bud functioning and aids in overall oral health. Maybe one day tongue scraping will be as cool as flossing.
  2. 1.5 liters of water: Ever hear of this thing called water therapy? Mostly known in India, China and Japan, water therapy involves drinking 1.5 liters of water first thing in the morning. This is said to help remove toxins, stimulate healthy bowel movements and help fight disease. Other health benefits include preventing and curing headaches, boosting energy levels and facilitating detoxification.
  3. A body brush: Perhaps you have forgotten that the skin is the largest organ of the body. This organ helps to eliminate a critical amount of toxins—up to one pound a day! Skin brushing (with a body brush) stimulates the organs underneath the skin that aid in the removal of toxins. Other benefits include stimulating the lymphatic system, removing dead layers of skin cells, stimulating the circulatory and immune systems and optimizing kidney function.
  4. Neti pot: Also known as a ‘nose bidet’, a neti pot is used to pour warm, slightly salty water through the nasal passages and sinuses. Neti pots are used in India and South Asia as a safe and effective way for treating eye complaints, sinusitis, asthma, the common cold, nasal congestion and respiratory ailments.
  5. Incense: Not just an air freshener,the practice of burning incense has been used for centuriesin sacred ceremonies and rituals. Today it is used to create desired atmospheres and promote healing of the mind and body. Most notably, incense aids in fighting depression, headaches, anxiety and insomnia. It is recommended that you use plant-based and essential oil-based incenses.

What other unusual objects have changed your life?


Relephant bonus:

Another thing that might change your life—oil pulling:


About Tanya Lee Markul

Luring the magic of what is natural back into our daily lives, Tanya Markul is a freer of creativity, of inner beauty + power, and an enthusiastic igniter of the wild spirit! She re-writing the wild flower sutras, and offers a refreshing & badass view on spirituality, wellness & authentic living. Sensitivity is her tree trunk, flower stem, and nucleus. It is her belly, and her heart. Tanya is an artist of life, a faery of trees, a wanderer of the dark, a writer of heart, a misfit yogini, and an Urban Priestess apprentice. She believes in the power of your personal weird, quirky, magic, and that only path toward inner freedom & light, is through the dark — eyes closed, heart open. Tanya is the creator of The Urban Howl, Yoga Write Now & Waking Wild. Join her free forum for monthly yoga & writing practices here. Join her free forum for 30 days of exercise for 30 days here. Join her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & get her free weekly & quirky newsletter here.


31 Responses to “5 Peculiar Things that Could Change Your Life.”

  1. Dan Slanger says:


    A recent EJ post on oil pulling (http:// <a href="http://;http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/01/no-money-for-a-dentist-try-oil-pulling)” target=”_blank”>;http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/01/no-money-for-a-dentist-try-oil-pulling) has me looking for other simple practices to help realize the "clean body" part of the Niyama limb. So thanks for this.

  2. Juliana says:

    Hey Dan,

    Thanks for mentioning the Oil Pulling article. That link doesn't work. Here it is: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/01/no-money-f


  3. Tanya says:

    Hi Dan and Juliana,
    I've never heard of 'oil pulling' before – that is great. I'm going to add it to my list of things to try. I may just try it today! 🙂 I have also heard of rubbing Magnesium oil on the teeth and gums to help fight plague and promote good oral hygiene.

  4. Joe Mohr says:

    Thanks for the tips, Tanya!

  5. Tanya says:

    You're welcome Joe! 🙂 And, thanks for reading! Have a super day.

  6. DaveTelf says:

    Oil pulling is my new favorite hygiene activity! I feel inspired to rush out and buy a tongue scraper today. What does a body brush look like?

  7. Good list! the tongue scrapper was also a big revelation for me 🙂

  8. Hi there! I think they come in lots of shapes and sizes, but this is sort of what mine looks like: http://www.lovelula.com/prod_images_blowup/gp_bod

  9. Thanks Claudia 🙂 I bought my first tongue scraper YEARS ago and didn't really understand what it was meant to do. I stopped using it and when I started practicing yoga, was reacquainted. Now, I can't imagine being without it. 🙂

  10. Hi Nick – I'm going to check out the Ora Brush thing! I can understand using a glass jar for the water, but aluminum? I'd like to hear more about that! 🙂

  11. […] friends tend to live longer, feel better about themselves, are more motivated to go out and try new things and have a more compassionate disposition on the world. There are many situations that can make us […]

  12. […] for not only the physical challenge, but also for the mental. Yoga training can be intense and detoxifying. Along with it can come moments of bliss, but also strong sensations and feelings. You may find […]

  13. […] as you may already know, yogis, as cool as they are, do some pretty weird things, but these weird things usually pay off in the end. Enjoy something […]

  14. […] of complete transformation is experienced, which is simply a return to our true nature. However, along the way one can identify some key spots where we can ‘stop’ and say “I have transformed”. We are saying I am not […]

  15. Tina Gallagher says:

    Loved the article but I have one little criticism. Neti pots have been coming under fire because people have not been using them correctly. It should be noted that the water must be sterile or filtered water or there can be serious infections. Other than that, great article and very informative.

  16. saLi says:

    oil pulling and juicing kale, carrot, apple, lime and ginger every morning.

  17. Carol says:

    I also agree on the sterile water for neti pot, and I don't agree on chugging 1.5 litres of water in the morning: if you drink too much water too quickly for your body to handle, you can become hyponatremic (dilute the electrolytes, specifically sodium in your blood), which can cause seizures (or death). Sip water if you are thirsty, but don't force it if you are not.

  18. […] Prakshalana (tongue scraping) has been an important part of the Ayurvedic daily routine for maintaining oral health for thousands of years. It is a method of cleaning the tongue to remove […]

  19. naheed says:

    Just loved reading it. I scrap my tounge after every brush as now adays a delicate tounge scrapper is designed on tooth brushes, I also give a mild brushing on my lips with my tooth brush ’cause our lips need a bit of dead sking removel too. Since, I live in india’s neighbouring country, it is also my habit to drink water as first thing in the morning.

  20. Hannah says:

    I do all of the things u mentioned and feel they are beneficial. I also do oil pulling and have stopped using all commercial products on my skin, so I make my own shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, etc. I would add a few things : try making master tonic. It’s equal parts of horseradish, ginger, garlic, onion and chili peppers chopped and placed in a glass jar. Add turmeric and fill the jar with apple cider vinegar that has the ‘mother’ and seal it. Agitate daily for a minimum of two weeks, and strain the vinegar into Amber colored bottles. Take a spoonful of the vinegar every morning on an empty stomach. It’s a great health tonic with many benefits! You can also try oxygen therapy using FOOD GRADE hydrogen peroxide. You dilute it and drink a glass in the morning, then wait an hour or so before eating. It helps your body produce and absorb more oxygen into your cells. U use very little ( just a few drops in a big glass of water). Making a nighttime turmeric drink drink using a non-dairy milk, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne or black pepper and warming it and adding your choice of sweetener (I use cane sugar) is also a good body alkalizer and anti inflammatory. 🙂

  21. Vix says:

    I lost a lot of hearing, permanently, in my right ear thanks to Neti. Turns out salt water isn't always the best thing for inner ear balance. I now have to wear a hearing aid (my nerves dies). Not saying that's going to happen to everyone but it certainly happened to me. Take care.

  22. Stephanie says:

    Please be careful with a neti pot. My cousin's cousin died three years ago from a brain eating amoeba after using a neti pot. If you use one, please use filtered water. I would hate to see another family go through this tragedy.

  23. DomesticGoddess says:

    I started using a Neti pot 15+ years ago for fighting (formerly frequent – several times a year) sinus infections. I think I may have had only two since, and have always used plain tap water.

  24. Sami says:

    You should drink approximately half of your body weight in ounces of water everyday, spread throughout the day. Drinking 1.5 litres in the morning isn't necessarily beneficial. Your body will respond to water intake more efficiently if you spread your consumption over 24 hours.

  25. Chrystabel says:

    Neti pots should be used with care. People with chronic sinusitis due to allergies, allergic rhinitis or who have had trouble with their tonsils and the lymph nodes in their face and neck should be very careful. The salt water can further irritate mucous membranes, causing more discomfort and increased mucous secretion. Using a Neti pot too often can strip away the protective coating of mucous in the nasal passages which raises the risk of contracting illness through airborne viruses and bacteria.

  26. Archie says:

    Incense is terrible for anyone with allergies and asthma. Smoke can trigger asthma attacks, and some incense has carcinogens. Use diffusers or burn essential oil as an alternative.

  27. Errol Korn says:

    Must use NON-iodized salt for neti pot.

  28. yolanda says:

    now I’m scared of my neti pot

  29. Airemiss says:

    Thats exactly what I was going to comment. Yes. Unfortunatley this is true, especially dangerous with our fluoridated water.

  30. Elizabeth says:

    I have read where oil pulling can affect the adrenals so have stopped?

  31. Amy says:

    Probably depends what part of the world you’re in.

    Divers also sometimes snort salty seawater to help clear sinuses but the bacteria gets in and can make things worse.

    In areas where tap water is drinkable and heavily treated then you’re probably going to be ok because chances of infection are reduced.