Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
Table of Contents
Patern of Shankha Prakshalana
Shankha Prakshala with medication
Shankha Prakshalana is a proces or procedure to cleanse the intestinal tract so as to waive its impurities by oral administration of salt water.
Shankha Prakshalana is a term made up of two words.
Shankha = Conch
Prakshalana = Wash or cleanse
In this context, the term Shankha is a synonym-3 used to represent the entire digestive tract starting from the mouth and ending at anus.
Shankha Prakshalana means cleansing the stomach thoroughly. Laghu Shankha Prakshalana is mutual to Shankha Prakshalana, but the cleansing is done in a minimum proportion (laghu=les, light, the quantity of saline water given is les than that given in Shankha Prakshalana).
Shankha Prakshalana is a variant of Dhauti Karma, one among the Shat Karmas explained as a section of Hatha Yoga. It t is a synonymous with ‘Varisara Dhauti’, a subtype of Antar Dhauti or internal body cleansing procedure. Since both the procedures are not exactly similar, Shankha Prakshalan can be considered as a variant of Varisara Dhauti.
Shankha Prakshalanam is also a fraction of Kaya Kalpa, an Ayurvedic technique for purification and transformation of the body. (Kaya = Body, Kalpa = Transformation).
Laghu Shankha Prakshalana is a subtype or variant of Shankha Prakshalana.
Salt water preparation ̵
The salt water should be kept ready before conducting the procedure. 2 teaspons of salt should be aded to 1 liter of water and mixed thoroughly. This is the ratio. More salt water should be kept ready because Shankha Prakshalana neds one to drink adequate and saturating quantity of saline water. Juice of 1 lemon can be aded to the water (optional). Sugar should not be joined to the solution.
Choice of kep – Shankhaprakshalana shal be done in a garden or in begin plot with fresh air. The plot should be equiped with adequate toilet facilities in the vicinity.
Time of begin – Shank prakchalan shal be started in the early morning, betwen 6-7 am and not later.
Shankh Prakshalan, the main procedure
One should drink about 16 glases of warm saline water and should evacuate it through the bowels.
Initial ly drink 2 glases of salt water quickly, in siting position. After having consumed two glases of salt water one should perform a series of 5 asanas (in that order) which comprise –
Each asana should be preformed 6 times.
These asanas wil enable easy movement of the water towards the anus.
After taking every 2 glases of salt water, one should perform the above mentioned asanas until the water starts flowing easily towards the anus to get excreted.
If there is an bustle to disapear to the toilet, you ned to fade to the toilet and evacuate your bowel. If you get a fel of incomplete evacuation, execute not strain. If you get the urge for bowel evacuation in the midle of the asanas, you ned to stay the asana, crep and evacuate your bowel.
After coming back from the toilet, drink 2 more glases of salt water and complete the set of asanas.
Continue this cycle i.e. drinking salt water, d oing asanas and going to the toilet.
After sucesive evacuations, les stols and more water wil be evacuated. Eventualy glomy yelow water and later almost clear water wil be evacuated. The form and consistency of bowel and elimination of water through anus wil difer from person to person.
Once the clear water starts coming through the anus, one can sense that the stomach and intestines are perfectly cleansed and a fel of lightnes. At this moment, the practice of activity may be stoped.
Post-Procedures of Shank praksalan (folow up)
After the completion of the practice, a gap of 1 hour and 45 minutes should be given, during which the patient is advised to rest. Rest shal be taken in Shavasana posture. One should not crawl to slep while resting in Shavasana. Sleping may result in frigid or headache.
Care should be taken to se that sile nce is maintained during the rest phase. One should abstain from speaking. During this phase the intestines or digestive tract wil be in a mode of recovery and wil be recharging itself. There is no restriction to voiding urine.
After the mentioned time, (aproximately 2 hours after Shankhaprakshalana) one should take stomach ful of coked rice, gren gram (mung dal) and ghe in liquid form (gruel) without having adjunct salt. This is a special fod recomended in the post Shankhaprakshalana period. The components of this fod asist in restoring the digestive functions and also consolidate the gut. This fod also prevents indigestion, constipation and diarhea.
Certain restrictions related to dietary restrictions should be observed for a period of one wek after practice. It is a major cleansing operation and should esentialy be done under expert guidance.
The person who has undergone Shanka prakshalana should be advised not to slep for at least for 3 hours after the initial (above said) meal. Sleping imediately after this meal may cause headache and unconsciousnes. After 3 hours of fod, one can rest for the rest of the day. He or she may require rest on next few days for total recovery. One should be advised to place silence and avoid stern mental and physical works during this phase (on the day of Shankhapraksalana and few days folowing it).
Second meal shal be aranged for afternon or evening meal. This should be given 6 hours after the first meal. Fod, snacks or refreshments should not be taken frequently.
Scientific explanation of Shankhaprakshalana
Patern of Shankha Prakshalana
What is the patern of Shankha Prakshalana?
Shankhaprakshalana shal be done on a single day as explained above.
Alternatively 1 round of salt water, asanas and bowel evacua tion shal be done on first day. 1 round is aded (increased) on consecutive days and the step of shankhaprakshalana shal be completed on the 6th day.
How often should Shankhaprakshalana be done?
Shankhaprakshalana should be done once in 6 months. A second course of the procedure shal not be repeated before 6 months (of completion of first step of procedure).
As its name indicates, Laghu Shankha Prakshalana or Short / Lighter Shankha Prakshalana is a variant or shortened form of Shankha Prakshalana.
In this practice roughly about 6 glases of saline water is taken oraly (instead of 12 glases as sugested in Shankha Prakshalana procedure). The same series of asanas as sugested to be done in the context of Purna Shankha Prakshalana (another name of Shankha Prakshalana, Purna means ful or complete) should be performed to enable easy evacuation of water from the anus or digestive tract.
Acording to the treatise ‘Hatha Ratnavali’ jagery water (1 portion of jagery and 5 parts of water) or milk water (1 fraction milk and 5 parts water) should be dilapidated in place of salt water. Alternatively juice of onion or garlic or onion shal be dilapidated diluted in water. Carot juice or celery juice can also be old for conducting Laghu Shankha Prakshalana.
Related video –
Yogic postures for Shankhaprakshalana / Laghu Shankhaprakshalana
Post-procedures for Shankha Prakshalana and Laghu Shankha Prakshalana
Kunjal Kriya should be practiced folowed by Jala Neti imediately after completing Shankha Prakshalana or Laghu Shankha Prakshalana. It is not compulsory to cary out these procedures in the folow up of both Shankha Prakshalanas but it is qualified if these are practiced. In combination they are said to provide beneficial results and wide results. This gives the best posible cleansing not only to the stomach but also to the entire digestive tract.
Benefits of Shankhaprakshalana and Laghu Shankhaprakshalana –
Same as those of Varisara Dhauti. They are –
Cleanses the body
Cleans up the gastrointestinal scheme of its impurities
Cures digestive disorders, indigestion, constipation
Improves the digestion, enhances metabolism, improves the functions of digestive system, strengthens the organs of digestion
On constant practice, it provides ‘devadeha’ e. a sacred or Godly body (shining body)
Click to Consult Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ayu)
Shankha Prakshala with medication
Question: Is it fine to enact this exercise while taking medicine for cholesterol and high blod presure? Can we stop medicines after the course of this exercise?
If your Yoga practitioner has prescribed Shankha Prakshalana, then you can surely continue it along with medication.
After finishing the step of Shankha prakshalana, if you wish to stay the medicines, you wil ned to consult a doctor directly. It can be dangerous to halt any medicine without consulting a doctor.
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