SHANKAPRAKSHALANA - THE INTESTINAL WASH
It's not really that hard to say: shank - a - prac - sha - lana. "Shanka" means conch and "prakshalana" means cleaning out. The ancient yogis conceptualized the digestive system as being like a conch, a long spiralled passageway through which food travelled. To clean out the whole digestive system from mouth to anus, they invented/discovered a wonderfully clever but simple method.
First thing in the morning, before any food or drink is taken, a quantity of warm saline water is prepared. The water is drunk 2 cupfuls at a time and then a series of stretching exercise is done. More water is drunk, and again the exercises are performed over and over again. After about 6 - 8 cups, pressure is built up inside the bowels, stimulating the urge to evacuate. The drinking, exercising and evacuating sequence is continued until the water coming out is as clean as the water going in!
There are two versions of this technique. The short form, Laghoo Shankaprakshalana, is performed only up to about 6 or 8 cups of water and takes only 15 - 20 minutes. The full form, Poorna Shankaprakshalana is continued to the state of complete bowel cleanliness and may involve 20 - 60 cups of water and take 4 hours. They are most often just called "Laghoo" and "Shankaprakshalana" respectively.
The time it takes to get fully clean, and the time which one can continue for, depends on many things, such as the number of times one has done the practice, physical fitness, emotional stability, internal blockages, remnant toxins and drug deposits, etc. The common symptoms of people needing to do this technique - like constipation, impure blood, bad breath, pimples, menstrual problems, PMT, mental overload, repressed anger, depression, hormonal imbalances, anaemia, hepatitis, chronic infections, migraines, asthma, sinusitis, etc., - all mean that the body has not been cleansing properly in the past.
Benefits of the Intestinal Wash
Intestinal wash has several important benefits to the body and mind. This is true of both the short as well as the longer version of the Intestinal wash.
The only other method that can do a thorough cleansing job of the 'insides' is a prolonged fast which is not only difficult but also must be carefully monitored. Needless to say, no medicine can serve this purpose.
The action of the saline water is very effective in removing blockages and impurities from the gastrointestinal tract. As a result it is very effective from those suffering constipation and digestive disorders such as stomach gas, stomach pains and hyper acidity. It is also very beneficial for urinary and kidney health as it prevents the formation of kidney stones and infection.
Many diseases are indirectly related to intestinal health. These include disorders resulting out of 'impure' blood such as bad complexion, acne, boils and rashes. General health is also greatly improved.
The intestinal wash is very effective for menstrual related problems in women including PMS and irregular cycles. It is also recommended in cases of woman infertility. The intestinal wash techniques are recommended for healthy people too. It makes one feel lighter and sharpens the intellect. It is also recommended for those performing yoga to attain higher levels of awareness.
While the long version of the intestinal wash provides quick relief from several ailments, the short version also provides desired results over a longer period of time when done regularly - about once a month.