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Digestive Cleansing: Techniques & Benefits

Shankaprakshalana, the digestive cleansing. This is a profound practice which loosens the tensions of body, mind and habit. It brings a state of lightness and receptivity and is the ideal start for the undertaking of sadhana.

At Quay Yoga we teach 3 simple but very effective techniques which cleanse and rejuvenate the entire digestive tract and the nasal passages, helping to increase energy, clarity and sensitivity. These techniques are gentle, self administered and suitable for most people. They are part of HATHA yoga, the aim of which is to bring harmony and balance to the pranas, the  body systems, the  mind and emotions. Benefits of the cleansing include;

  • Improved digestion, metabolism and elimination

  • Prevention of colds, flu and infections

  • Alleviation of asthmatic symptoms

  • Improved kidney and liver function

  • Mental clarity

  • Releasing tensions at a deeper level

Three hours are allowed for the workshop but once you become familiar with the practices the 3 can can easily be completed within an hour or two. It is not recommended however to rush yourself, so best to practice at the weekend or when you have plenty of free time. The practices can also be done on their own.

The techniques taught are:

  • LAGHOO * – intestinal cleanse

  • KUNJAL – cleansing the stomach and upper digestive tract

  • NETI – cleansing the nostrils

*LAGHOO is a short form of intestinal cleanse and involves no special dietary follow up (except awareness). This is the practice recommended for beginners or for people who may not have the time or circumstances to stay with a special diet for at least 10 days.

SHANKAPRAKSHALANA is the full intestinal cleanse where almost clear water passes through the colon. With this practice it is very important to follow a specific very mild diet with certain restrictions. For this reason, it is best to try the short practice first and if you wish to go on to do the full practice this can be arranged at the optimal time. A private class can also be arranged in your own home if this is suitable.

All practices use mildly salted warm water. No special equipment is needed except a neti pot.

Items to have at hand during practice

  • Yoga mat

  • Blanket

  • Towel

  • Toilet paper

  • Warm clothing/change of clothes

  • Large mug

  • Bowl and spoon (for breakfast)

  • Bowl or jug 2 litre capacity.

  • Neti Pot

Some simple postures are used for the intestinal cleanse, which, if you are not familiar with, are quick to learn.

On the day of practicing techniques one you should have an empty stomach and finish with a light meal early on the preceding evening. At the completion of the cleanse, after a short break, a simple breakfast is sufficient.

For each person the cleansing techniques and their effects are experienced in different ways. Some people may feel increased sensitivity, and if possible, stressful and noisy situations are best avoided for the day of the practice. One may feel tiredness or a surge of energy, both are very natural. If tired one should try to postpone sleeping till the evening. If energetic take care not to tire yourself. In any case, it is an opportunity to be be mindful of how you are feeling. Having cleansed the system it is also a time to consider what you put into your body.

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