Yoga contemplates hygiene as a sacred discipline, for the purpose of purifying body and mind, and thus facilitating the path to the sacred aspects of life. There are a large number of debugging exercises. One such technique is the Shank Prakshalana, the intestinal washing up saltwater. So, in this sense, Shanka means “seashell” and Prakshalana refers to “clean”.

The Ayurvedic tradition contemplated the digestive system as a conch, a long spiral through which food circulates. To clean the digestive system from the mouth to the anus, they use a method as simple and effective as drinking saltwater. So, this drink will be expelled not by the urinary tract but by the intestinal tract, cleaning it of any residue that is in its path.

The technique is combined with a series of exercises or asanas. This exercise, help uncover the ducts, remove residual encrustation from the intestinal walls and pull them out.

Reasons to Perform Shank Prakshalana

The organism tends to become intoxicated systematically throughout life. This could be due to external substances or ingested foods. Also, by incorrect diets and mainly by the products resulting from the fermentations that are generated in the digestion of according to which foods in the intestine.

This autointoxication, amplified in case of constipation, is often a direct or indirect cause of diseases and dysfunctions in different organs: colon, stomach, intestines (different types of cancer), kidneys (colic), legs, skin problems, of the nervous system (irritability, insomnia), of the circulatory system by the direct filtration of the colon to the blood, etc.

These symptoms are often a sign that the body has not been properly cleaned in the past. Not even the daily evacuation of the intestine prevents the formation of sediments that gradually become embedded and can never be eliminated. This is why it is important to keep the intestine in the best state of cleanliness, and always take care of the diet.

Toxins can be the culprit of many chronic diseases and degenerative diseases. This explains, for example, why people exposed to the same climatic conditions are constipated or not. The fault is not of the microbes, but it is usually the lack of a normal immune resistance due to the autointoxication of the bloodstream that makes people sick.

Benefits of Shank Prakshalana

Unlike an enema, which only covers the large intestine, Shank Prakshalana cleans the entire digestive tract. So, it can clean the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine. Some of its benefits are:

  • Increases concentration.
  • Decrease appetite.
  • Combats impurities in the skin.
  • It cleanses the blood and detoxifies the whole organism.
  • Eliminates bilious diseases.
  • It cleanses the intestine.
  • Regenerates the intestinal flora.
  • Prevents tumours in the intestine.
  • Eliminates constipation.
  • It gives strength and vigour to the organism.

How to Practice Shank Prakshalana?


Heat salted water (one teaspoon of salt mixed with 1L of water). The reason saltwater is used is to prevent it from being absorbed by osmosis through the mucosa and evacuated as urine.

The propitious moment to realize this kriya is in the morning, fasting. Cleaning together takes more than an hour. So, during that day and the following morning, you should avoid doing very dynamic exercises.

Prakshalana Shankha technique:

  • Drink a glass of warm saltwater.
  • Immediately afterwards perform the movements described below.
  • Drink another glass of water.
  • Immediately after performing the movements described below.

This sequence should be followed by a glass of water/exercises until drinking 6 glasses in total. After the exercises are performed after the sixth glass, you should go to the bathroom to evacuate.

  • Normally, a first evacuation occurs almost immediately. Normal stools are followed by softer stools and then liquid stools. If the evacuation does not take place after approx. 5 min. Go back to the exercise series without drinking water. Once it is started, the first evacuation will take place and the rest will follow automatically.
  • After each evacuation and using toilet paper, it is advisable to rinse the anus with warm water. So, dry it and eventually lubricate it with olive oil or another to prevent salt irritation.
  • After the first evacuation, another glass of warm salt water must be taken followed by the exercises and return to evacuate. Proceed with this alternation: glass of water/exercises. Then, bath until the water comes out as clear as it entered.  
  • When you see that the water comes out as clear as it came in. Do not do anything else. You will only suffer the inconvenience of going to the bathroom several times during the next hour.

Description of Exercises

To drive the water through the digestive tract to the exit, simply carry out the following movements. Each should be repeated 8 to 10 times on each side alternately, at a slightly rapid rate. The complete series does not take more than a minute.

1- Tadasana

Interlace your hands and place them on your head. Raise your arms with your palms facing upwards while you stand on the tip of your feet. Then, descend them immediately and place your hands clasped over your head again. Repeat 8 to 10 times.

2- Tiryaka Tadasana

Beginning in Tadasana. Then, with your hands extended over your head and your palms facing the sky, lean to the left and immediately to the right. Continue from left to right. Repeat 8 to 10 times on each side.

3- Kati Chakrasana

With your feet slightly apart, touch your left shoulder with the palm of your right hand. Bring your left arm behind your back to touch your right hip with the back of your left hand. Repeat 8 to 10 times for each side.

4- Tiryaka Bhujangasana

Do Bhujangasana or cobra pose. Then, inhale and twirl your head and torso to the left as if you were to look at your left foot. Exhale as you straighten your head and descend. Inhale doing bhujangasana. Then, rotate your head and torso to the right side as if you were looking at your right foot. Exhale as you straighten your head and descend. Repeat 8 to 10 times on each side.

5- Udarakarshanasana

Crouch on the tip of your feet and rest your buttocks on your heels. Keep your knees apart and your hands resting on your knees. Bring your left knee to the floor with the help of your left hand. Return to the centre and bring your right knee to the floor. Keep alternating. Repeat 8 to 10 times.

We remind you that, when finishing the practice of Shank Prakshalana, you must rest for half an hour. Next, ingest rice with lentils (preferably moong dal) prepared with ghee and turmeric but without salt.

You can add cooked vegetables. The pan should be watery. Avoid all dairy during that day. This preparation should be eaten during the rest of the day but nothing else. Rest and avoid extreme temperature changes.

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