Founded in 1986 and affiliated with IYFM, Satyananda Yoga Centre Birmingham serves Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced Yoga to the general public and specialist institutions throughout the West Midlands area. » More about our Centre

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shankaprakshalana

In these days of cleanses and detox regimes it is refreshing to find someone teaching the traditional Yogic cleanse, a thorough “flushing out”. It is a simple but effective process and I thought I might share my most recent experience for those who have never tried it.

I recently participated in a morning shankhaprakshalana with a group of about a dozen at the Satyananda Yoga Centre, London*. We started with a brief meditation and a few preparatory yoga positions and then dived straight into it. We drank a pint of diluted salt water then did a sequence of postures 8 times each quite vigorously (the postures are very simple). Then back to the kitchen for another pint and repeat the postures. This process is repeated until you really need to go to the toilet. You start off with a normal stool but as you carry on the practice it will become clear water. Some were going to the toilet after 3 or 4 pints. I had to be special and it took 9 for me.
 
You will go to the toilet a few times. It depends how far you want to go, and this is always up to the student. There is a full and a partial version. Only two of us were doing the full cleanse
 
When you’ve finished on the toilet you start on the kunjal, which is drinking some salt water and bringing it back up, followed by jala neti, which is a commonly used practice of pouring saline water through the nostrils.
 
That’s the whole thing! Takes 2 or 3 hours, then we rested for 45 minutes or so, while our host prepared some excellent kichari, a blend of rice, lentils and ghee designed to line the stomach and reactivate gastric motility
 
It’s actually a very simple process bringing an array of positive results. Many report a lightness of body and mind, a calmness and a natural letting go of bad habits. It is said to relieve many physical ailments and I particularly noticed the transformative effect it can have on your whole life. Things in my life that were disparate came together, I had a new understanding of who I was and where I was (or wasn’t) heading.  It truly is a cleansing on many levels
 
I would advise taking a day or 2 off work after the practice as you won’t want to talk much.
 
This is NOT something you should practice at home. It should be performed in a group under expert guidance so strict controls can be exercised over the saline water, the practice itself and the diet following it. It is also a much more meaningful practice when shared in a relaxed atmosphere.

* Satyananda Yoga Centre Birmingham also regularly runs this programme – you can register for the next one on the Special Events page.