Something easy you can do every morning to promote overall health
There are several options for cleansing when it comes to yoga and some techniques have been deemed to be a bit more invasive than others. Fortunately there are choices that are simple, yet effective. This traditional yoga series is a version of the Shankha Prakshalana Kriyas; shankha meaning conch and prakshalana meaning to cleanse. Here the conch is considered the bowels and excretory system, and the water we drink along with the movements or kriyas, produce the cleansing and eliminating effect.
This simple, ancient technique is suitable for those in general good health. For best results, perform this set when you wake up in morning before you have eaten or eliminated. If you are pregnant or menstruating, please do not partake in this practice.
Begin in malasana, squatting down to the floor. In this position, drink 250 ml to 500 ml (1-2 cups) of room temperature water. If you are not able to squat, you may sit comfortably in a cross-legged position on the floor. You must drink water for this practice. Do not substitute the liquid for tea or another beverage.
Interlace your fingers, palms facing outward, inhale and lift the arms up directly above your head. From this centre position, exhale, extend and stretch the arms above the head to the right. Feel the torso stretch. Inhale, come back to centre with the arms extended. Exhale as you repeat the stretch on the left side. Feel the torso elongate and open. Repeat this set 3-5 times.
Take a wide legged stand at the centre of your mat. Chest facing forward, extend the arms horizontally outward. Begin to twist the torso from left to right with arms extended. Here you want to feel the torso compressing and expanding as you twist. This action helps to activate the metabolism and stimulate the bowels. Repeat this set 5-7 times.
Come to a prone position, pressing your stomach firmly on the floor. Keep the top of the feet pressed down on the ground. Place the palms below the shoulders. Inhale, press the palms down and begin to straighten the arms while you lift the chest slightly off the floor. Exhale and turn your head to look back towards your right heel. Inhale, come back to center, then exhale and turn your head to look back toward your left heel. If you have more to give, you can lift the torso up slightly higher but maintain that the stomach stays pressed on the floor. You should feel the torso engaged and slightly twisting in this kriya. Repeat 5-7 times.
Squat down to the floor in a center position. Pressing into the toes and lifting the heels off of the floor, begin to pivot the right knee down to the floor, twisting the upper body towards the left. Pivot back to center and then pivot the left knee down towards the right. The torso should be twisting to the right. This set should be an active and consistent pivot from right, centre, left, centre, right. The twisting rotation should not stop from one side to the another. If you require more stability in the pose, place one hand down on the floor and take your time to help with balance. Repeat 5-7 times.
Nicole Mahabir is the Founder and Director of JAI Wellness, a platform for health education, mindful living and wellbeing. For the past 10 years, Nicole has lead professional certified programs, teaching Nutrition, Meditation, Ayurveda, Yoga Therapy and Natural Anti-Ageing Beauty Regimes. When she isn't teaching, Nicole creates integrated, sustainable health protocols for her busy clients and leads corporate and wellness retreats. Follow Nicole on Instagram @jaiwellness or on her website, jaiwellness.com.