Constipation is a trouble experienced from childhoo d to old age. However, not many are aware that it is an intimation of an impai red body system. Hence, there is a tendency not to get treated and even if the person undergoes treatment, relief is only temporary as the source of the disease is not taken into consideration. The vexation recurs once the treatment is stopped, which can the n transform into an incurable disease. For many, Yoga is the best therapy.
The prevalent treatment is to take medicines to loo sen the bowels. There are individuals taking these medicines regularly who ar e convinced that they have triumphed over constipation. However, theirs is not the best way as the tension of the intestinal muscles is altered by the intake of medi cine. They have to perform rapid artificial movements and hence they lose control in performing their function independently. Gradually, the person becomes depend ent on such medication to evacuate their bowels. Yoga is the only option to s top this vicious cycle.
Nutrients from the food we take get absorbed in the small intestine, and the excreta enters the large intestine in order to be d isposed of. This process is carried out in the digestive system. The liquid is absorbed her e and the solid waste is excreted through the anal path. This journey of excreta take s place due to peristaltic movement created by the expansion and contraction of the int estinal muscles. If the strength of expansion and contraction of the muscles of the lar ge intestine reduces, it affects the peristaltic movement, which inhibits the discharge of feces. This is the state of constipation. Sometimes, the remnants of food do no t respond well to the muscular commands to move ahead. This hindrance can be overc ome by appropriate changes in the diet. For example, if there is a low amount of liquid in food, the excreta become thick and hard, making their movement difficult. Th e solution is to include sufficient liquid form in the diet; such as leafy vegetables a nd other food containing a lot of cellulose. With this change, the patient may get ri d of one of the major causes of constipation. This is the only solution if the musc ular movement becomes sluggish.
Mental stress, the root cause of so many diseases, is also one of the causes of constipation. A high level of mental stress can pre vent the right control of the muscles of the large intestine. Medication does not alter t he condition in this case. The cause of mental stress must be discovered so that it can be overcome; then the constipation trouble will automatically be beaten. It must be no ted that alcohol or medicines creating vertigo are not acceptable ways of treatin g mental stress. The practice of yogic processes that do not exhibit any side effect s is the appropriate method in every respect.
Four kinds of yogic processes are useful in the cas e of constipation- asanas, Pranayama, cleansing processes and relaxation. Of c ourse it may not be necessary for everyone to perform all these processes. The cause of constipation plays an important role in deciding treatment.
This is a chain of six asanas in continuation. Am ong many methods of performing Sun Salutations, the ‘Aundhka r Method’ is the most beneficial for this condition. 10-12 Sun Salutations should be performed regularly. This creates apt pressure and tension on the inner as well as ou ter muscles, thus improving their efficiency as well as overall bodily functions. It also affects the digestive tract in a positive way.
The inversion means that the intestinal muscles w ill be 83 relaxed. Moreover, as the Jalandhar Bandha exerts p ressure on the thyroid and parathyroid glands, they secrete juices supportive to digestion.
Bhujangasana, Shalabhasana, Dhanurasana
These three asanas have a positive effect on the digestive process. They act on the Manipur Chakra, which is related to digestion. If deliberate relaxation in t hese asanas is practiced, the intestinal muscles will get strained to some extent, thus impr oving the peristaltic movement. If constipation is the outcome of improper movement of food through the digestive tract, it will immediately disappear with the practice of these asanas.
Ardha Matsyendrasana, Pashchimottanasana
In these asanas the intestinal muscles are pressed and twisted. They also affect p ositively the glands secreting digestive juices, improving their efficiency. Indig estion and constipation will vanish totally if the secretion of digestive juices is app ropriate.
- As the name suggests, Agnisar is the process that kindles the digestive fire. It is a rapid inward-outward moveme nt of the stomach with breath held out of the lungs. The intestines and the glands sec reting digestive juices are tensed and pressed rapidly. Consequently, the efficiency o f the digestive system as well as the peristaltic movement improves.
The process of Nauli
- Although this process is difficult to perform it is very effective. It creates a negative pressure on the st omach, small intestine, large intestine and rectum. This helps in the movement of food as w ell as the excreta.
- Anyone with an in-depth practice of yoga will be able to perform Basti. Ideally, he must have a good practice of Uddiyan Ba ndha and Nauli beforehand. To perform Basti; create negative pressure by perfo rming Nauli, draw water in through the anus and large intestine into the rectu m before releasing it along with the excreta. The difference between Basti and the moder n method of enema, is that in enema water is drawn inside by the force of gravity . Basti is a more natural process, relying solely on muscular action. The practice of Basti under proper guidance will rid the patient of constipation.
- An easy but effective process, which can reduce t he tendency to constipation. The middle finger of the left hand is to be used. Cut the nail short and apply castor oil to the finger, then pass it into t he anus and massage all the surrounding muscles. This will help the muscles to become efficient, influencing the sensation of motion and resulting in proper dischar ge of feces. The process is much better than taking laxatives.
- This too is an effective cleansing process. Lukew arm salt water with lemon juice is taken before repeati ng a set of dynamic asanas. The water starts to move through the system. The water and lemon juice is taken again, and the asanas repeated. The process is repeated un til water is passed through the digestive tract. The process should be ceased only when the water runs clear, indicating that the digestive tract has been thorou ghly cleaned with salt water. This ends many diseases regarding the digestive tract. H owever, this process requires proper guidance, and should not be performed indepe ndently.
Perform rapid inhalation and exhalation with both n ostrils in the Bhastrika Pranayama. When exhausted, perform deep exhalation and unhurried inhalation with the right nostril. After that, perform breath reten tion according to individual capacity and exhale slowly with left nostril. This will comp lete one cycle of Bhastrika 84 Pranayama. Perform as many cycles as possible on a regular basis to end constipation. Appropriate guidance and practice before carrying o ut individual practice of this Pranayama is necessary.
Triphala powder (three myrobalans - Hirda, Behda a nd Aavalkathi) 1 teaspoon + 1 glass of lukewarm water every night.
Soak 40-50 gm dried black grapes in 1 glass of col d water. Eat them in the morning and drink the water in which they were soaked.
Half teaspoon of myrobalan (Hirda) powder + one gl ass lukewarm water twice a day.
Amla powder (25 gm) + 15 gm ginger juice + 2 teasp oons of honey every night.
As we know, yoga is not a therapeutic science; henc e, it is not possible to quote exact processes for certain diseases. Yet, we have made an effort to suggest yogic processes that may prove useful in eradicatin g the tendency to constipation. It cannot be firmly stated that every individual will benefit from these; it is obligatory to seek expert guidance before treating oneself. It is a fact that the regular practice of yoga will hinder the emergence of such disorders. I t is therefore advisable to start practicing yoga when the individual is in good heal th and can reap the benefits of Yoga’s preventative action.
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