The Importance of Regular Elimination
According to ayurveda, it is important to evacuate the bowels every morning. That's simple enough, or so it sounds. But why is it so important? What happens if you skip a morning, or wait until later? No big deal, you might think. On the contrary, not emptying your bowels in the morning impacts both your physical and psychological well being. Being regular and following nature's, and your own body's, rhythm makes a huge difference in how you feel during the day.
Empty the bowels every morning
The body's clock always tries to follow the cycles of nature. During nighttime, Soma, or lunar energy, is more predominant, so our body focuses on lubrication, cooling and nurturing. In the morning, when the sun rises, our body goes into absorption phase when Agni, the active, burning and transforming solar energy dominates. If, during the day, you carry around the waste material you created at night, you may absorb some of that waste material into your system.
The toxins your body is trying to get rid of will be released into your system again, and weaken your immune system. You are also carrying some extra weight in the lower abdomen, the seat of Apana Vata which, in addition to elimination, governs the sexual functions and the menstrual cycle. If you don't support your body's natural intelligence to evacuate its waste material, you may feel fatigued, drowsy and irritable during the day.
According to ayurvedic principles, one should evacuate the bowels every morning, and feel that the colon is clean and light. Feeling energetic and relaxed are signs of proper evacuation. Twice a day is normal, but at least once a day is essential. Don't ignore your urges and don't wait.
Drink a glass of water to help elimination
If you don't have a bowel movement every day on a regular basis, you are probably constipated. Constipation can be a result of several diet or lifestyle factors such as lack of enzymes and beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal system, not eating enough fiber, dehydration, stress and ignoring one's natural urges.
Support the digestive system
Proper elimination doesn't start in the colon. The entire digestive system has to work in balance. For proper absorption we need friendly bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. Chemicals and pesticides in food, as well as antibiotics, destroy these probiotics. We therefore need to support their existence. The best way to do this is to drink lassi or ayurvedic buttermilk with lunch. To increase natural, water-soluble fiber in your diet, consume whole grains such as quinoa, and different kinds of squash and fruits.
To enhance the secretion of enzymes and enhance digestion use the following spice mix:
- Drink at least two quarts of water a day. Get an herbal water recommendation from an ayurvedic expert if you can.
- Eat three main meals a day. Have your biggest meal at noon when agni is strongest. Eat according to your body type or imbalance, and don't skip meals. Your dinner should be light and eaten before 7:00 p.m.
- Relax when you start eating. Don't eat in a hurry, while talking on the phone, riding in a car, watching TV, or when you are upset. Chew well and focus on eating. Eat in a nice, settled environment, in a good atmosphere with friends or family.
Emotional balance is important too
Our experiences show that emotions can directly influence bowel movement. Diarrhea can be induced by fear, while constipation can result from worry. Apana Vata, which governs elimination, has a direct link to Prana Vata, the subdosha governing our thoughts. This connection explains why we feel relaxed after elimination. Bowel movement is not just a physical function. If anything disturbs Prana Vata — for example mental or emotional stress — our elimination will suffer too. More tips to aid regular elimination:
- Don't read while evacuating the bowels. Any mental activity will occupy Prana Vata, disconnecting it from Apana Vata. Keep your mind free so that Prana Vata can aid elimination.
- Take a walk after dinner to unclog the channels of Apana Vata and to improve digestion. Regular exercise also helps reduce stress.
- To relax the mind and body, and to reduce the harmful effects of stress, practice the Transcendental Meditation® technique.
Help your elimination naturally
First, try to follow a regular diet rich in organic, fresh foods. Avoid canned, frozen and "fast" food, and leftovers. If your elimination is still not regular, cook some prunes or figs with apples and eat the mixture in the morning. If that does not bring results, take some Maharishi Ayurveda supplements such as Organic Digest Tone or Herbal Cleanse.
Since bowel movement affects your entire physiology, you cannot neglect or ignore it. With a few changes in your diet and routine, you can get in tune with your body's internal clock and make regular elimination a part of your daily routine.
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.