Health, it is said, is wealth. A nutritious diet and prudent exercising will see us progress well towards the goal, however, without proper elimination of waste matter, amassing this wealth can remain elusive.
Improper evacuation of stools – called constipation – not only cause bloating and indigestion, but often misguides a diagnosis and can be the cause of abdominal distension, sallow skin, irritability, anxiety, headaches and even mood swings.
Colo-rectal muscles push the stools down to the anal sphincter by peristaltic movements. Exercising these muscles is the key to effective waste elimination.
Evidently, there is scientific wisdom behind the design of the Indian squat- potty, where the squatting posture massages the intestines to facilitate peristalsis and maximum dilation of the anus.
However, the squat potties are almost obsolete now, so are we to resign?
Thankfully, yoga has adopted an asana based on this essential requirement of the body and facilitate smooth ejection of waste.
Malasana — the asana designed to rid ‘malam’ or waste matter.
For maximum benefits, drink two tumblers of water and perform the asana.
- Stand with the feet hip-width apart and hands in Anjali Mudra
- Inhale, and as you exhale, gradually lower the body to a sitting position, all the way down till you are sitting on the haunches, but not resting the base on the floor
- Ensure the feet are flat on the ground
- To hold the posture, you may use suitable props or hold on to a sturdy table/chair
- Gently rock back and forth on the feet to gain the right balance
- Bring the folded arms between the knees such that the elbows push the knees outward
- Feel the anal dilation, stretch in the groin and pelvic region
- Hold the position for as long as you can while you breathe normally
- On an exhalation, rise to standing position
Vajrasana is another benefactor for the digestive system. In fact, to relieve the discomfort after a rich meal, sit in this asana for 10-15 minutes.
Bloating and flatulence are the offshoots of constipation. Pavanamuktasana is a wind releasing technique, best performed in the early hours along with Malasana.
- Lie down flat on your back with legs together and arms beside the body
- Inhale, as you exhale raise the right leg, fold and bring near the chest
- Inhale and clasp the folded leg with both the arms, by interlocking them
- While you exhale, press the leg toward the chest and draw in the stomach
- Again breathe in and raise the head and chest to rest the chin on the knee
- Hold the position as you breathe normally
- To unlock, trace the steps backwards
- Repeat with the other leg and later with both the legs
Additional benefits of these asanas are, strengthening of the abdominal muscles, toning of the arms and legs and enhanced digestion
So, keep at it and stay healthy!