Your Yoga: Day 13 - Shankha Prakshalan (Detoxing the Digestive System)
सर्व मंगल मांगल्ये शिवे सर्वार्थ साधिकेI
शरण्ये त्र्यंबके गौरी नारायणी नमोस्तुतेII
The Shankha (Conch) has multiple twists and turns. And in order to clean the Shankha, water is poured in at one end of the Shankha - its mouth, and after cleaning all the internal canals and corners, the water emerges from the other end of the Shankha.
Our digestive system, including the entire alimentary canal and the intestines (both small and large) are almost like the Shankha - full of loops, twists and turns. Over time, and with our food constantly passing through, and with the junk and the variety we feed ourselves, these passages get blocked/ choked, and otherwise overloaded. The Shankha Prakshalan thus helps decongest the gut, and cleanse the entire alimentary canal - from the daant to the aant - from the teeth to the intestine.
The process has three steps:
Flushing out toxins and clearing out the intestines with salt water & vyayaam (exercise)
Adequate rest & restoration
Proper diet and re-nutrition
When there’s Sambhava, so neither too hot, nor too cold, neither too wet, nor too dry. Ideally in the spring - March/ April, or in autumn - September October.
Early morning. Dedicate the entire day to this process, and don’t schedule anything else for this day. Be at absolute peace.
Ideally twice a year - with a gap of six months
Preferably outdoors, in a garden surrounded by greenery, and fresh air. Else on the terrace in your apartment. Or at least with windows open and fresh breeze blowing through.
You will also need to be located near a toilet.
Boil 5 litres of water. Add 2 tbsps of salt, and juice of 2 lemons to the water
Pour about 1 litre out in a bottle and carry a glass with you
Open the windows you’ll be performing the prakshalan in, and let fresh air in.
Spread out your yoga mat, and have a small towel with you. Be close to a toilet
Start with an empty stomach. Do your usual first round of bowel movement. Take a shower/bath if you want to. You cannot take a bath upto 3-5 hours after the process.
Start with drinking 2 glasses of water in quick succession. Sip though, don’t gulp. Ideally squat while drinking water. If you’re unable to squat, then sit on a low stool, or a thick cushion in squatting position.
To enable peristalsis, and movement within the intestines, to push accumulated gut junk out, perform the following Asanas 4-6 times:
Tadasana: Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Stretch yourself vertically. Breathe in, and raise your heels. Stand on your toes. Stretch your arms skyward, with fingers interlocked, and palms facing outward. Exhale. Drop your arms and heels. Repeat 4-6 times.
Triyaka Tadasana: Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Stretch yourself vertically. Now, with fingers interlocked, and palms facing outward, bend to one side. Make sure your ear touches the bicep of the corresponding arm. Now bend to the other side. Repeat 4-6 times on both sides.
Katichakrasana: Kati- half, chakra- wheel. Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Raise your arms at your shoulders, parallel to the ground. Twist to the right side from the waist. Let left arm and elbow come to right shoulder. Pause enough to turn your neck and hold for second. Repeat for the twist to the left side too. Repeat on both sides 4-6 times.
Triyaka Bhujangasana: Lie down in prone position, on your stomach. Feet shoulder width apart. Breathe in. Rise in cobra position. Twist head to one side. Return to prone position. Rise again in cobra pose and twist head to the other side. Repeat on both sides 4-6 times.
Vakrasana: (This is the cheat asana for the original Udrakarshana/ Kakhpadasana) Sit with your legs stretched out in front. Bend right leg at knee. Twist spine and torso to cross left arm over right knee from the outside. Wrap right arm around your back. Repeat on the other side. Repeat on both sides 4-6 times.
Drink two more glasses of water and repeat the exercises.
Go to the toilet to empty your bowels as and when the urge arises. If its in the middle of your exercise series, go and excrete, and come back and resume where you left off.
You will first excrete solid bowels, then after a while there will be watery yellow bowels, and after a while, and some more rounds of water/ exercise, you will finally excrete absolutely clear water. The process is now over.
This is a relaxation of the gut process, so it is important that you are also in a calm, relaxed state of mind. Relaxed, but not slow. Pace yourself steadily and comfortably.
The whole process should last 1.5 - 2 hours.
Once you complete the process, rest in Shavasana for 1.5 - 2 hours. DO NOT sleep in this time, as that will cause headaches/ cold/ cough. You may cover yourself with a thin sheet of cloth, if you want.
About two hours after the completed process, have the specially prepared khichdi - moong dal and rice, cooked till they are soft, with a pinch of haldi (turmeric), and generous dollops of ghee (clarified butter). The consistency of the khichdi should be thin, almost like a thick soup.
This meal will help lubricate the now dry gut lining, and re-generate the friendly gut bacteria that has been washed out with the salt and water. This will also help the intestine regain their shape and health. Do not drink water for 2 hours after this meal.
Do not sleep for 3-4 hours after lunch either, as that will cause headaches/ cold/ cough. Try and maintain maun (silence), and stay in a calm, meditative, happy state. Wear loose clothes.
Re-prepare fresh khichdi for dinner. Same as for lunch. Have early dinner, about 6 hours after lunch. And stay awake for two hours after dinner before you finally crash for the night.
Try and eat light food for the next few days. And begin your next few mornings with warm water.
Congratulations! And welcome to the world of purer blood, cleaner gut and greater health.
ॐ सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनःI सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाःII
सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तुI मा कश्चित् दुःख भाग्भवेत्॥
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥