November 16, 2013

Washing Your Conch: Yogic Practice for Constipation Relief. ~ Jenna Penielle Lyons


Let’s face it…there is nothing worse than going to a yoga class or going out for a run and having to poop.

When constipation strikes, it rears its ugly head and doesn’t give up easily. 

Today I found myself reading an old paper written about Ayurvedic solutions to common health problems. It’s called “Therapeutic Application of Yoga Technique” by Dr. M.V. Bhole. Reading that very lengthy paper led me into a bunch of research on the process of colonic cleansing. As someone who doesn’t subscribe completely to the sattvic diet, I wanted to find a way to quickly cleanse my colon of, well, all the s*** that is inside it.

I came up with a step-by-step guide to relieving constipation without laxatives or an enema. It takes about two hours, but really should be done on a weekend because it involves rest for an entire day.

Apparently, it is a yogic experience that one shouldn’t take lightly.

This process is called Shankhaprakshalana (or washing the conch completely), and here is how to do it:

1.  Wake up at 6 a.m.

2. Put a little bit of salt and some lemon juice into two glasses of warm water. There should be about two teaspoons of salt and the juice from one lemon in each liter of water. Sit down and chug the glasses of water.

3. Repeat Tadasana pose six times. To do this, you will raise your arms above your head and close to your ears, clasp your hands and face your palms upward, and  go up onto your tip toes. Stay there for awhile, stretching upward and breathing, and then come back down.

4. Repeat Tiriyak tadasana six times. To do this, you maintain the posture from the previous Tadasana pose and bend as far as you can from side to side. This will give you a tremendous stretching sensation in both sides of your body, and will massage the colon as well.

5. Repeat Katti chakrasana six times. To do this, spread the legs, airplane the arms, and slowly turn from side to side, placing the arms on the opposite shoulder in an alternating fashion. One turn in both directions counts as one asana.

6. Repeat Tiryaka bhujangasana times. To do this, go into Upward Facing Dog, and twist slowly from side to side by bending elbows deeply in an alternating fashion.

7. Repeat Udarakarshana six times. To do this, you go into a basic seated spinal twist stretch, except you will sit on the foot that is not crossing over. One twist in both directions counts as one asana.

8. Repeat Kakhpadasana six times. Go down into a squatting position, and walk forward about twenty steps by placing alternating knees on the ground and bracing yourself by putting alternating arms on your knee.

This [cheesy] video does a great job of demonstrating the asanas:

After you have completed all of this, and you still haven’t pooped, drink two more glasses of the water mixture and do the asanas two more times each. By now, you should definitely have experienced bowel movement.

9. Completely rest for an hour and a half. Don’t sleep, but just meditate, lie down in savasana, or read a book on your back. It’s important  to rest for the remainder of the day.

10. Eat rice and lentils with butter on them immediately after your rest period and later that day too. It’s important to eat so that the intestines remain open and regain the mucus that previously coated them.

This practice makes sense because it involves hydration, massage of the internal organs, stretching, rest, and proper eating afterward…all things that we can’t live without (or should I say poop without?!). And in doing the practice, we realize the importance of eating purely, exercising, stretching, and hydrating on a daily basis.

So hydrate and stretch your assana and happy pooping!


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Ed: Bryonie Wise


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