Shankhaprakshalana

Definition - What does Shankhaprakshalana mean?

Shankhaprakshalana is a yoga technique that cleanses the entire digestive tract using salt water and yoga asanas. The name comes from the Sanskrit shankha, meaning “conch,” and parkshala, meaning “wash.” It is also used in ayurveda – the traditional Indian system of medicine – as part of the kaya kalpa transformational and purification practice.

Laghoo shankhaparkshala is a shorter variation of shankaparkshalana, and yogis should master the briefer version before attempting the full digestive cleanse. Both cleansing kriyas should be practiced only with the assistance of a guru or medical practitioner.

Yogapedia explains Shankhaprakshalana

To practice shakhaprakshalana, the yogi drinks two glasses of warm salt water while in a sitting or squatting position. Then, five asanas are practiced, each eight times:

  • Tadasana (mountain pose)
  • Tiryaka tadasana (swaying palm tree pose)
  • Kati chakrasana (standing spinal twist)
  • Tiryaka bhujangasana (twisting cobra pose)
  • Udarakarshanasana (abdominal twist pose)

Whenever the need to move the bowels occurs, the yogi should stop the practice and use the toilet. Upon returning to the practice, the yogi should drink two more glasses of salt water. The cycle repeats – drinking water and performing the asana – until the bowel movement becomes clear water. Then, the yogi should rest (but not sleep) in savasana for 105 minutes. A meal of rice and mung dal with ghee can then be eaten.

In addition to cleansing the digestive system, shankhaprakshalana is believed to boost metabolism and help the yogi maintain a healthy weight.

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