Malvika Dadoo Agarwal shows a yoga technique which can help us detoxify our system before working out, to get the best out of the exercise regimen
We all aim at getting fit, but what we miss in the process is the importance of detoxification—cleansing of different parts of the body—thereby preparing the body to get the optimal benefit of the new exercise regime. Proceeding towards a hardcore workout without first detoxifying our body is like working on a weak foundation where we can only have less than optimal results.
This article is about Laghoo Shankhaprakshalana, a shorter technique of Shankhaprakshalana, one of the cleaning processes in yoga.
Laghoo Shankhaprakshalana is one of the most important yogic kriyas that helps bring down the blood glucose levels and helps people suffering from digestive problems like constipation, flatulence, acidity, and indigestion.
No asanas or physical work should be performed, and no food or beverages should be taken before commencing the practice. Not evacuating the bowels prior to the practice, helps stimulate the peristaltic movement. Light and comfortable clothing should be worn.
Contraindications: People with heart or kidney problems or high blood pressure should not practise Shankhaprakshalana. Those suffering from any medical condition should seek guidance from their doctor before attempting it, especially those taking medication. This practice should be avoided during pregnancy.
Method: Sit in Khagasana and drink two glasses of warm water. Perform the following five asanas dynamically, eight times each in the following sequence:
Tadasana (Mountain pose)
Breathe in, pull yourself up, focus at a point, and hold. Work those calves and stretch your rectus abdominal muscles and intestines. Lower your heels while breathing out and bring the hands down from the side.
Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)
Lie flat on your stomach with legs straight and feet together. Place your palms flat on the floor, on the side of the shoulder with the fingers together and pointing forward. Position the arms so that the elbows point backwards and are close to the sides of the body. Breath in, straighten the elbow, and arch the back. The pubic bone remains in contact with the mat, and the navel is raised to a maximum of three cm. Hold this position for a few seconds. Slowly release the breath and return to the starting position.
Urdhva-Hastottanasana (Upward salute pose)
Stand with the feet together. Fix the gaze on a point directly in front. Interlock the fingers and turn the palms outward. Inhale and raise the arms over the head, stretching upwards. Exhale and bend to the right side from the waist. Do not bend forward or backwards or twist the trunk. Hold the position for a few seconds, then slowly inhale and come back to the upright position. Repeat on the left side. This completes one round.
Katichakrasana (Standing spinal twist pose)
Stand with the feet together and the arms by the sides. Inhale and raise the arms to shoulder level, then exhale and twist the body to the right. Bring the left hand to the right shoulder and wrap the right arm around the back, bringing the right hand around the left side of the waist. Look over the right shoulder as far as is comfortable. Keep the back of the neck straight and imagine the top of the spine is the fixed point around which the head turns. Hold for two seconds, accentuate the twist, gently stretching the abdomen. Inhale and return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side to complete one round.
Udarakarshanasana (Lower Spine Twist Pose)
Squat with the feet apart and the hands on the knees. Inhale deeply. Exhale and bring the right knee to the floor near the left foot. Using the left hand as a lever, push the left knee towards the right, simultaneously twisting to the left. Keep the inside of the right foot on the floor. Try to squeeze the lower abdomen with the combined pressure of both thighs. Look over the left shoulder. Hold the breath for three to five seconds in the final position. Inhale when returning to the starting position. Repeat on the other side of the body to complete one round.
This completes one round of the Laghoo Shankhaprakshalana practice. Again, drink two glasses of warm water, and repeat the asanas in the same sequence. Repeat this process for the third time. After the third round, you should feel the urge for motion. If not, wait for a few minutes and the urge would eventually be upon you. Do not strain. The practice should be performed in a relaxed way at one’s own pace.
Lie down in Shavasana for 45 minutes, but do not sleep as a headache or cold may result. Keep yourself warm during the resting period. Exactly 45 minutes after completing the practice, prepare a special khichdi of good quality white rice and moong dal, cooked with ghee. The rice and lentils should be cooked together in water until soft. A little haldi (turmeric) and salt may be added. Finally, ghee should be liberally mixed in so that the final preparation is semi-liquid. The same should also be prepared for the late afternoon or evening meal, about six hours after the first meal. This practice should be performed only once in six months.
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