Physical cleansing and Yoga

Cleansing the physical body is an important part of Hatha Yoga. With a healthy body it is easier to conquer the mind. One of such cleansing techniques is Lagoo Shanka Prakshalana. The word lagoo translates to light and Shanka to ‘conch’ or shell. Prakshalana is to wash thoroughly. The intestines is considered a shell with its cavernous and coiled shape. The technique is intended to encourage normal functioning of the intestines.

The technique should be practiced on an empty stomach early in the morning. You prepare six cups of warm water (1 cup = 8 oz) and add 2 1/4 teaspoons of salt to it and completely dissolve the salt. Drink two cups and practice 8-10 times of the following asanas (described briefly below) that we practiced in the last class.
– Toe raise with hands up
– Side bend with arms up
– Standing (churning) wheel – swing arms as you twist to each side
– Seated squat twist
– Cobra with a twist

In all the above asanas, the idea is to work the intestines/tummy. Repeat the two steps 2 more times. The salt water and the moving of the intestines acts as a natural laxative to cleanse the digestive system. The salt in the water creates a high osmotic pressure, much higher than pure water, preventing absorption and allowing the salt water to flush through the system. Note: If you have any heart conditions, check with your doctor for an opinion.

[From a March 2006 email sent to students]

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