A Set of 4 Body Movements to Deal with Constipation
The following is a wonderful simple to perform set of body movements that helps to facilitate a bowel movement when things don’t move too well on their own. This set is normally used while performing a yogic kriya (cleanse) technique called Shanka Prakshalana, to move the water out through the intestines, but it works really well for moving the feces through the “plumbing” and out of your system just as well. It also could help with bloating, when the gas doesn’t come out, but be gentle using it in this condition so not to cause any additional pain.
The set of movements
Perform the following sequence of movements. Each movement should be repeated quickly alternating at least four times on each side (therefore four double movements).
1. The first movement. Stand with soles 30 cm apart, fingers interlocked with palms upward, and back straight. Without twisting the trunk, lean to the left and then to the right without any break. These movements open the stomach, and after each bend some of the digested food leaves the stomach toward the intestines.
2. The second movement. Stand with soles 30 cm. apart. Stretch the right arm laterally (i.e. horizontally), and bend the left arm, so that the thumb and index touch the right collar bone; the left elbow is at the height of the shoulder. Then twist the trunk toward the right, pointing the out stretched arm backward, as far as possible. The gaze must follow the tips of the fingers. Do not stop at the end of the movement, but swiftly return to the starting position, and then perform the movement on the opposite side. This movement pushes the unwanted matter forward in the intestine.
3. The third movement. Perform a variation of the Cobra pose (Bhujangasana), in which only the toes and the fingers touch the ground. The soles must be 30 cm apart. Then twist the shoulders and the head until it becomes possible to gaze at the opposite heel (over the shoulder). Do not stop, but swiftly return and continue on the opposite side. This movement pushes the feces further through the small intestine, so that now it reaches the large one.
4. The fourth movement. The feces will be conducted through the large intestine until the end, due to this last movement. Crouch with your soles 30 cm apart. Place the hands on the knees, which are about 50 cm apart. Next, twist the trunk toward the right, so as to place the left knee on the ground besides the right foot. The hands push the right thigh toward the left, and the left thigh towards the right. Also spin the head in the same direction, so that you gaze backward. Then, without stopping, return, and continue on the opposite side, symmetrically. Of all four, this is the only movement in which the side on which one begins is important. Therefore one should always begin by placing the left knee on the ground. Also, of all four this is the only one which has a variation for those with stiff knees.
Variation. If you find you can’t perform the fourth movement as described, here is an easier variation of it. Sit on the floor with legs stretched out forward together. Bend the right leg and place its sole on the ground, beside the left knee. Twist the trunk toward the right, grasping the right toes with the left hand, and gaze backwards (see picture). Return swiftly, and continue symmetrically.
You may want to repeat this set several times if you see things are on the move but you have not yet been fully evacuated.
(I adapted this material from the course taught at the school of Agama Yoga.)
The Importance of Squatting While Evacuating
While western-style toilets are comfortable to sit on they aren’t the most conducive for evacuating due to the unnatural angle they put your body in. While squatting your “plumbing” gets aligned and opened properly for easy elimination. When sitting on the western toilet your colon gets partially pinched and therefore if you have a tendency for constipation things don’t go too well in this setup.
Finding a squat-toilet would be very difficult in the west, and most westerners dislike those anyway, but have no fear as there is a workaround for that issue – all you need to do is to build or acquire a little squat-stool so that when you sit on the toilet you put your feet up, which emulates almost a perfect squatting position, while you still rest on the toilet sit with your knees up (see the illustration). Squatty Potty is one of the more popular ones (I own one and it just works), but there are other similar products out there and have been on the market for quite a few years now. This would be the best $30+ ever invested for your wellbeing, especially so if constipation is your thing.
See also how to treat constipation with Su Jok.
If you liked this self-healing technique, “Self Healing Series” has more self-empowering materials.