“I feel very welcome here,” I say to my girlfriend.
“I also feel very welcome here,” she says to me.
Our awkward speech, a reflection of our combined nervousness.
As we walk in the door of a restored, red-brick house, adorned with ivy and summer flowers, I’m greeted by the words, “Hey, I know you from yoga class at Corepower…”
(It turns out the reception area of the colonic shop makes the list of “last places” you want to run into a student.)
I high-five my colonic healer (is this lady even a Dr., I wondered?) and asked her to remind me of her name—I’m terrible with names.
“Dr. Jennifer,” she reminds me (“Dr.” + first name = not a real doctor) as I silently hope that not remembering this one won’t somehow negatively impact my colonic experience. She wouldn’t, like, make my butt water too hot or something, would she?
“Are we going to be in the same room?” I ask Dr. Jennifer.
My girlfriend and I have shared some interesting firsts together, but I feel Brittney stiffen next to me at the thought of us in the same room for this particular event.
“No, you’ll be in separate rooms,” Dr. Jennifer assures us.
I feel some of Brittney’s tension ease as I skip the information sheet, and instead rattle off a litany of my past and present bowel distresses.
“We will take all of that into account,” Dr. Jennifer reassures me.
Parting ways with Brittney I offer her a, “Good luck, baby” high-five. It is my second high-five in the last 10 minutes; high-fives are a big part of my teaching. With all the celebration, you’d think the three of us were at a ball game instead of getting pressurized water shot up our butts.
Dr. Jennifer next instructs me to lube up my anus, insert the plastic tubing, and call her on the walkie when I’m done. With a nod she indicates a yellow walkie-talkie on the bedside table.
I’m a good student—doing as I’m told.
“Ready to rock n’ roll, Doc. Over.”
The walls are thin enough for me to hear the squawk of my walkie-talkie outside in the living room/lobby.
“Okay,” comes her reply.
She returns to begin the procedure, telling me to relax. I tell her she didn’t say, “Over,” and she smirks at my attempt to defuse my own tension and informs me that I will soon experience a “strong sensation to diarrhea.” She admonishes me ahead of time that I am not to resist this urge. Then she turns a knob eerily reminiscent of the one in my bathtub and the blast of warm water begins to surge up my rectum.
She then proceeds to rub my tummy, kneading the knotty dough of my guts. Then the backs of my knees. Then my feet. A few furtive farts escape to which she responds encouragingly, “good.”
I can’t make this shit up.
“You’ll probably experience a big release when I leave.”
“Mm, hmm,” I mumble.
I can only hope I will, I muse as my guts fill up with water underneath the blanket like a child’s water balloon to near overcapacity.
Just as I’m ready to burst, the door clicks shut.
As I settle into the process, I can feel my colon filling up, tracing the serpentine path of the colon up, over, and down. Essentially, the colonic shoots water up inside you in order to clear room for poo to come out. This leaves more room for water to enter and it washes away the poo farther and farther up the GI track.
Poo, fill up, poo, fill up, rinse, repeat. You get it. Over the course of the hour, you take in more and more water with longer and longer time between “releases.”
This means that you can literally feel and see your guts filling up with water until just about the time you think the shit is going to come out of your mouth and then you watch the release through the “viewing tube.” I’ll spare you here the more moribund details, a too precise description of the items I saw positioned a mirror’s length away beneath the therapy table.
The benefits of what is referred to not as a “colonic,” like on The Simpsons, but rather as colonic hydrotherapy abound and include: aggressive rehydration and a resetting of the biotic balance of the stomach and gut.
Simply stated: I’m glad I went—if for no other reason than I am always telling students to not be afraid to “step out of their comfort zones.” For this former cage-fighter, turned Outlaw, turned Yogi, being strapped to an automatic diarrhea machine for 60 minutes constituted just such an experience.
Would I go back? Does the yoga of colonics—marked as it was by unpleasant moments, pain and doubt, but buoyed by breath and ultimately, easier if I just surrendered—have a home in my regular practice? I don’t know. When I was done I was too exhausted to talk with Dr. Jennifer too much about a potential return visit.
Brittney and I stumbled arm in arm out into the bright Denver afternoon exhausted, giggling and a little sweaty, not unlike the way we leave a vigorous vinyasa class. Though I’ve never smoked, I felt like I could use a cigarette.
Justin Kaliszewski teaches OUTLAW Yoga across the country. He is the Yoga Program Director at ONE Yoga in Denver where leads public classes, experiential learning programs, and teacher trainings. You can find him on the web at www.outlawyoga.org.
Editor: Elysha A.