Yoga Spring Cleaning: Digestive System

Spring brings important holidays: Easter, Passover, Holi. For yogis, it is the Spring ritual of a thorough cleaning, or detoxification, of the body and mind. Detoxifying the digestive system is an important step. The next two posts will be on the detoxification of the respiratory system and the mind.

For digestive cleansing, there are a number of options in yoga:

Yoga for gentle cleansing and detox of the digestive system: Gentle cleansing can be done by eating a little more sparingly than normal and consuming mainly fruits, vegetables, and a little whole grain. Consume a comfortable amount of room-temperature water in between meals. To stimulate and invigorate the digestive system and peristalsis, gentle rowing and grinding pawanmuktasana exercises along with gentle spinal twists  (Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha) are helpful. Other  movements, such as modified surya namaskar or sun salutations  are also beneficial (see chair yoga). This can be done for several days.

Yoga for moderate cleansing and detox of the digestive system: Clean out the digestive tract with any suitable detoxification system with fiber and mild laxatives. Asanas recommended for laghoo shankhprakhshalan (see below) can be added as an independent practice to help invigorate the digestive system and stimulate peristalsis.

Yoga for intensive cleansing and detox of the digestive system: Laghoo shankhprakhshalana is for those who are comfortable with the practice. The details are in the book Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha.

Vigorous physical activity or asana practice during the digestive cleansing and detoxification phase is not recommended. During the cleansing process, it is better to avoid food that is spicy, salty, very sweet, fried, and non-vegetarian food. Lighter dals (split and hulled legumes) are easier on the system than beans and the most recommended dal is mung (click on the link to go directly to the recipe).

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