Curb your imagination before it flies too high, especially if you are someone who suffer from chronic constipation and haemorrhoids / piles. In fact, I too was baffled and bewildered, until I ascertained and perceived the fact that this is an important kriya and very much present in yogic literature. This is the Moola Shodhana and one of the most recommended for those who suffer from haemorrhoids / piles.
Moola Shodhana is one of the subdivisions of Dhauti of Shatkarma in Hatha Yoga. Moola means root (in this case – anus) and shodhana means ‘purification’. Its literal meaning is cleansing the root of the body. Hence, Moola Shodhana, also known as Ganesh Kriya, refers to the process which purifies your anus and rectum.
“This practice removes the hard, fermented stool from the lower colon. Abdominal ailments are removed, the body becomes graceful and healthy and one’s digestive fire improves.” (1.45) Gherand Samhita
Constipation, in many cases, is a result of our lifestyle. Sedentary lifestyle makes the blood circulation sluggish; unregulated eating further adds on to the problem, making it chronic. It is further worsened due to the daily overload of stress and frustration. Piles could be a resultant of constipation or it could be due to coagulation of blood. With regular practice of Moola Shodhana:
- You will increase the blood flow in your anal and rectum region
- Increased blood flow will stimulate the nerves and allow them to perform optimally
- The gentle pressure will strengthen the muscles
- It is easy to remove hard-accumulated matter
- Defecation becomes pain-free and strain- free
- Assume sitting squat position
- Lubricate your middle finger with some oil or ghee
- You can also lubricate your anal area
- Softly push your middle / index finger inside your anus (approximately 2 cms to begin with)
- Rotate your finger clockwise (10 times) and then anti-clockwise (10 times)
- Repeat few times
Remove your finger and wash it thoroughly. Wash your anal area with cold water to create further stimulation in that area. As you become comfortable with this practice, apply a little more pressure (with caution) on the walls of anus and rectum. To further intensify your practice, you can alternatively contract and relax your anus while the finger is inserted inside.
“Cold water contracts the blood vessels which helps to alleviate the extended veins. Hot water is not to be used for it tends to act in the opposite manner”………. Yoga & Kriya, Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Traditionally, the practice was performed with turmeric root, which with its medicinal value, stimulated the natural function of the bowels. As it might prove to be difficult to procure a turmeric root, usage of the middle finger would result in bringing about most of those benefits.
Sitting squat position which was assumed when we used to use an Indian toilet, was perhaps the best position to defecate as it opens up the anus and the thighs exert pressure on the stomach. Its continuation would have most probably kept us away from such problems. Taking a stock of current urban life, in absence of Indian toilet, assume a sitting squat position on your western toilet itself. That should allow you to get the right position to perform this kriya.
Time of practice
Early morning is the best. Perform before defecating in case you are constipated and after defecating if motion is normal.
Approach with full submission
Remember, this is your own anus and your own finger and you can always discontinue this practice if uncomfortable. Hence, approach your practice with complete submission. This would relax your sphincter muscles and you can optimize your bowel movement for maximum efficiency.
- Nail should be trimmed and without any nail polish
- Clean your fingers and hands thoroughly with an antiseptic after practice
Inversion like sirshasana, sarvangasana etc. will automatically dislodge the accumulated waste, increase oxygenated blood flow in the region and help get rid of the waste easily. Ashwani mudra (holding & releasing the anus) can be of great help as well.
Using toilet tissues instead water had been adopted in order to avoid direct contact of your fingers to your stool. When, the very thought of touching your own stool can disgust you, just think of the repercussions, when this waste is not eliminated as and when required. It will only spread poisonous toxins in your body. As a result, the other parts of your body would be forced to bear the brunt of this toxification leading to multiplicity of medical, physical & psychological problems.
Live a toxin free life
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Shammi Gupta, founder of Shammi’s Yogalaya holds an MA in Yoga Shastra, is a certified Yogic Therapist and Naturopath, has completed an Advanced Yoga Course and holds a Diploma in Yoga Education from Mumbai University. She is a certified trainer from American College of Sports Medicine and holds an MBA in HR & MBA in Finance from The University of Akron, Ohio, USA. She conducts Health Awareness Workshops for Corporate, Yogasana Workshops for Athletes and Yoga Therapy Workshops on different medical issues for patients. Among the celebrities Shammi trains are eminent personalities from the film and television industry and corporate world.