Artem Frolov: “Conch gesture” (shank prakshalana). Implementation and effects

Some authors compare a human with a plant growing in a pot, and the pot being- colon. Health and well-being of a plant very much depend on the soil condition.
The statement is largely true. In any case, in recent years, physiology and clinical medicine has been giving increasing importance to the correct operation of the intestine, and draws parallels between many diseases and the processes that occur in the lower digestive tract. It is becoming clear that the state of the intestinal microflora and its functional activity depends on our mood and health. Considering individual techniques and entire system of hatha yoga in general, showes that ancient Indians captured the gist. Applying certain kriyas and procedures, as well as through regular and balanced asana practice we can make a work of intestines and other parts of the digestive tract consistent, regular and efficient.
Shank-prakshalana is a powerful cleansing procedure, which provides diverse health effects. "Shank-prakshalana" translates as "a gesture of conch," or "conch effect", meaning that during the procedure water comes out of the body as clean as entered, as if flowing through the conch.

 

Artem Frolov

 

“Conch gesture” (shank prakshalana). Implementation and effects

 
 
Let us start with discussing procedure technique, which is performed by drinking several glasses of salt water, followed by exercises to push hypertonic solution through the gastro-intestinal tract (GIT). The whole procedure is performed until only clear liquid is coming out and leads to a radical cleaning and washing of the entire digestive tract, especially the intestines.
 
Prior shank-prakshalana procedure one should abstain for 1-2 days from protein and heavily digested food. It is recommended that during these days a diet consisted of porridges and boiled vegetables.
Shank-prakshalana best done on an empty stomach, so a perfect time to perform the procedure is morning right after waking up. After the usual hygiene procedures several series of agnisara-dhauti-kriya can be performed, followed by the procedure of SHP.
 
The first step is to prepare a solution. It is important to avoid common beginner mistake, when they start making a saturated solution. Overly salty water creates a high osmotic pressure in the intestines, leading to absorption of fluid from the bloodstream into the intestine, reducing blood volume and total dehydration. This will only complicate the procedure and worsen health condition.
 
The optimal concentration of a solution is 1 tsp of salt per 1 liter of water. It is best to add ½ tsp of magnesium sulfate to the first liter of water (magnesium sulfate is sold in drugstores in the form of small crystals). Magnesium creates a laxative and cholagogic effect, which facilitates the procedure and makes it more efficient. In addition, adding a lemon can facilitate the process (about a quarter of a lemon per liter).
 
After preparing the solution we can start the procedure. The first stage consists of alternating drinking the solution with physical exercises (described below). In the beginning the process follows glass - exercise - glass – exercise scheme. Usually the first few glasses of the solution are not accompanied by an urgent call to stool. Then visits to a toilet are added to the scheme and it becomes glass - exercise - toilet - glass - exercise - toilet. Final stage of the scheme takes the form of glass - toilet - glass - toilet, because there is no time left for the exercise.
 
The first glass of water is followed by a series of exercises. First exercise: Tiryaka Tadasana. Feet hips wide apart, interlock fingers and straighten arms above head. Do side bends with body, pelvis and legs in the same plane, stretch both side of the body, trying to move only the middle part of the body (in the region of stomach and duodenum). It is believed that exercise promotes an opening of pyloric sphincter and passage of the solution from stomach into duodenum.
 

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Second exercise: Kati Chakrasana. Feet hips wide apart, arms raised by the side to shoulder level. Twist the upper body to the right side, wrapping the right arm behind the waist and the left hand onto the right shoulder, then repeat to the left side. Turn thehead fully to the right to look behind, fixing pelvis and legs, so that the maximum twisting occurred in the abdomen. It is believed that exercise promotes the solution through the small intestine.
 

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Third exercise: Tiryaka Bhujangasana. Lie down on the stomach and take hands flat on the floor beside the chest, pressing hands on the floor, raise the head, shoulders and chest (Bhujangasana). Rotate shoulders, straighten one arm and slightly bend the other, looking over the shoulder to the opposite heel. Repeat on the other side. Similarly, you can do the exercise from urdhva mukha shvanasana (you can put toes on the floor.) It is believed that this technique promotes the solution in the lower part of the small intestine and the transition from thin to thick.
 

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Fourth exercise: Squat, knees apart. Udarakarshasana. Put the left knee to the floor, twist trunk to the right, right knee raise up, press the right thigh to the abdomen. Repeat on the other side. It is believed that the technique promotes solution to the large intestine.
 

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Repeat each exercise 8-16 times on each side. All four exercises performed without interruption, one after another make one set.
 
During the first phase we drink 4 glasses, alternating with a series of exercises after each glass. After the fourth cup and a series of exercises you should go to the toilet. It is possible that the solution has had its laxative effect, and then you proceed, visiting the toilet after each glass and a series of exercises.
 
If the fourth glass is not followed be defecation, you need to drink two glasses, mixing with exercises.
Thus, you get 6 glasses. If there is still no urge for defecation, you should take a break. A common beginners mistake is to keep drinking the solution, in the hope that it "will push" the contents of the intestine, and the process will start. This approach often leads to spontaneous dhauti vamana, and the entire solution regurgitates from where it has entered. We however need to make the solution to exit from the opposite end of the digestive tract.
 
Therefore, you should take your time and have a little rest, if there is still no urge for defecation after the sixth glass. You need to lie down in Shavasana and relax a bit. Perform simple inverted asanas (Viparita-Karani Mudra), gently massage abdomen (clockwise, following the large intestine). You can perform another series of exercises. Often "jam" occurs in the region where the small intestine passes into the large (called ileocecal sphincter), to overcome this obstacle perform an aiming massage of this area - from a standing position, slightly leaning body forward, repeatedly dip your fingers directly into the right iliac region (bottom abdomen on the right, in the cecum).
 
If all these measures had no effect and there is no urgency, do the enema volume of 800-1000 ml, lying on his left side. After that, there is usually a defecation, and the process proceeds without any problems.
The toilet should be prepared in advance with a bottle of fresh water, rich cream and a towel, so that after each depletion you could wash and cream perianal folds. Otherwise, hypertonic saline can cause irritation of the area.
So, you go on with the process by performing a series of exercises after each glass and visiting toilet. Should continue the process until clean clear water. The first time it usually takes 2-3 liters of solution. Magnesium can be added only to the first liter. After some time the procedure will become faster with less water required. The final stages require less number of exercises.
 
Finally, when you are sure that water that comes out is clear and clean, the process can be finished. Usually in final stage water is clear, but has a pronounced yellow tint caused by the active output of bile from the gall bladder.
Stop taking the solution, you have to suspend activated motility of the digestive tract, return it to a balanced state. To do this, drink a small amount (half a cup) of fresh water, and press on the tongue, causing mild gag reflex (spewing out water is not necessary, only a light gagging to slightly reverse the process and stop the active promotion of the contents of the digestive tract). For the next hour, most likely, you have to visit the toilet for 2-3 times, which is normal.
 
Finishing drinking the solution, start to cook. Don’t keep your digestive system empty for more than 30 minutes as the enzyme activity is activated and you have to give it a substrate for digestion. Cook rice porridge without salt and milk, add a tablespoon of regular butter or ghee. Rice helps to absorb salt remaining in the gastrointestinal tract.
 
For the whole day avoid physical activities, meals should consist of cereals, boiled and stewed vegetables. Exclude concentrated protein foods (eggs, meat, fish, cottage cheese, beans). The next day you can include light dairy products. It is advisable to follow carbohydrate and fat diet for 3-4 days.
To populate intestinal with microflora (especially in case of intestinal dysbiosis) you should conduct a course intake of eubiotics - preparations containing lactobacillus and bifidobacteria for 2-4 weeks.
 
The work of intestine is regulated by a very unique section of the nervous system called metasimpathetic or enteric nervous system. Entire autonomic nervous system (ANS), which regulates internal organs, is divided into three sections. The problems solved by the first two - the sympathetic and parasympathetic - are widely known. The third section - enteral or metasimpathetic nervous system (MHC) - mentioned less often, though worthy, at least in light of the analysis of the physiological effects of prakshalana.
MHC is responsible for coordination of many structures of gastrointestinal tract - the blood vessels, smooth muscle motor structures, etc. MHC consists of about the same number of neurons as there are in the spinal cord - about 10 * 8, and they are located in muscle and submucosal layers of gastrointestinal tract. This formation is also called "enteric brain." For comparison, it is worth noting that the number of neurons of the parasympathetic system, which regulates the digestive tract, consists of only about 2,000.
 
In contrast to the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems, tightly controlled from the top and subordinated to CNS, metasimpathetic system runs almost autonomously and in line with own programs. CNS has a certain influence on the work of MHC, but it basically comes down to the modulation of its activity. The overwhelming majority of reactions and MHC programmed acts lay within itself, parts of neural circuits do not go beyond the gastrointestinal tract, and the links of the receptor portion to motor neuron, move elements intestinal smooth muscle, often do not go to the spinal level, not to mention the level higher autonomic centers of the brain.
 
Under normal circumstances, the intestine nervous system (especially its regulating motor activity) is autonomous. Role of metasimpathetic innervation is much more important than that of sympathetic and parasympathetic. For example, colonexhibit peristaltic activity for some time after surgery extraction. Such organization provides continuous monitoring, coordination and regulation of intestinal muscle activity at different sites.
 
Under the influence of various negative factors, such as chronic stress, irregular and improper nutrition, intestinal microflora generates various pathological reflexes of different levels. Some are provided by metasimpathetic innervation and formed at guts, the second turn in the sympathetic nodes, and some have a spinal or central level. All these reflections fix abnormal, pathological intestinal reactions: spasm of its individual parts, chronic lethargy or hyperactivity. Dysmotility leads, in turn, to poor digestion and / or delay of its remains in the intestine, failed to be removed in time from the body leftovers start to undergo the process of fermentation, putrefaction, and so on, the products of these processes are absorbed into the bloodstream and cause autointoxication body. Often applied in such cases medications, forcibly eliminating dysmotility (constipation, diarrhea or cramping) bring a short relief, however even more confusing vegetative "wires", amplify circuit pathological reflex arcs.
 
Shankprakshalana effects variy and can not be reduced to a mere mechanical release from intestinal feces. Hypertonic solution, which is a natural laxative, the gradient of osmotic pressure sucks up water from the surrounding tissues of the intestine. As a result the inner lumen of the intestine gets filled; a series of exercises which are of mainly twisting character, provide intense intestine massage throughout its duration. Metasimpathetic nervous system neurons, located in the muscle and submucosal layers of the intestinal wall, are consistently and repeatedly"rolled", invalidating their action potentials, which in turn leads to pathological reflex connections breakdown. As a result, the conditions for the restoration of normal reflex chains already incorporated in the genomes of the MNF, and allowing re-implement healthy gut reaction, its adequate and regular work in the future.
 
I witnessed of how indigestion problems persisted for one, two or more years of regular practice of asanas, Nauli, agnisara-dhauti and proper nutrition. But Shank-prakshalana waspowerful enough to make intestine work, as if waking up, as if there was something to include.
 
Gallbladder, bile duct system, a complicated scheme of circulation of bile acids play an important role in digestion. Dysmotility of the biliary tract is a very common ailment. Flaccidity of the gallbladder leads to it untimely emptying, the stagnation of bile, which in turn may form stones in the cavity of the gall bladder. Shank-prakshalana has a strong choleretic effect, contributing to the emptying of the gallbladder and ducts, eliminating congestion. To enhance the choleretic effect in the solution add a small amount of magnesium sulfate.
In addition to the original neural regulation, intestine has another interesting and important feature - its population. More than 500 species of microorganisms populate large intestine, the total mass of the population in an adult is about three kilos.
 
From the large number of microorganisms, continuously entering the human digestive tract, only certain types of bacteria found favourable conditions for existence, in the course of a long evolution, they dug in and created intestinal permanent flora associated with close ties to the body.
Intestinal microbial biocenosis has a complex hierarchical structure, a variety of inter-species relationships. This innumerable army continuously performs a great job, aimed not only to digest the food (as previously thought), the entire population of intestinal microbes influence the immune status of the body, in recent years revealed more and more details about the relationship of intestinal biocenosis with hematopoietic, cardiovascular and other systems. It becomes clear that the intestinal microflora is a kind of body, an integral link in the general homeostasis.
 
Of course, changes in the composition and properties of the intestinal microflora leadto deviation in neighboring systems. Microbial balance disorders may be caused by a number of reasons - antibiotic therapy, inadequate bowel movements, feeding habits, recent studies demonstrated connection of microbial landscape with environmental situation.
It is not always easy to cope with intestinal dysbiosis by means of modern conventional medicine methods. Complex treatment regimen may include courses of antibiotics to suppress the abnormal microflora, which are replaced by attempts to colonize the intestine desired species of bacteria. If there are already related disorders of intestinal motility, it becomes even more difficult to restore normal microbial balance.
 
Properly conducted procedure of Shank-prakshalana creates conditions for microflora renewal, close to the situation of a newborn - a newborn baby intestine is sterile and with proper feeding is populated with the "right" microflora. Adult intestinal microbial population can be divided into two populations - luminal, which lives in the bowel lumen and wall, found in the mucus covering the villi of the intestinal epithelium. These two categories have different functions, properties, and 'ethnic composition. " First, translucent pool of microbes is completely removed by Shank-prakshalana, and the second, residing in the wall mucus remains. Thus the intestine, if not infant-like sterile, yet becomes a favorable environment for the formation of normal microflora almost "from scratch" - with proper subsequent supply.
After the procedure, it is important to follow correct "postprakshalana nutrition." Period of a strict dietary regimen, in different sources varies from one day to a week, the truth, as always, is somewhere in the middle. Intestinal microorganisms colonization requires protein food exclusion for three to four days. Carbohydrate-fat diet will give the substrate required for the growth of bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacterial populations that form the basis of healthy intestinal microflora.
 
All methods of hatha yoga when used correctly and in the right situation, have a powerful healing effect, sometimes exceeding all expectations. Carried out improperly, and even more so - in the presence of contraindications, Kriya Hatha Yoga cleaning techniques can inflict significant damage.
 
Shank- prakshalana is contraindicated in any acute exacerbations and chronic diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, biliary disease, adhesions in the abdominal cavity, intestinal and stomach bleeding, during menstruation and pregnancy, increased blood clotting. It should be remembered that Schank-prakshalana has a powerful impact not only on the digestive tract, but also on the entire body, so before Shank-prakshalana it is highly advisable to consult with a specialist in hatha yoga or ayurveda.
 
Artem Frolov's site artem-frolov.spb.ru

Translated by Nataliya Blatt