The following five asanas are to be specifically used in the intestinal cleansing practices of shankhaprakshalana1 and laghoo shankha-prakshalana2:
2. Tiryaka tadasana
3. Kati chakrasana
4. Tiryaka bhujangasana
This series of asanas has a special role to perform in these practices, for they systematically open the various intestinal valves between the stomach and the bowels. That is, these asanas, when performed in the given sequence, progressively open the pyloric valve (at the outlet of the stomach), then the ileocecal valve (at the exit of the small intestine) and finally the valve (or sphincter) which forms the anus3. Therefore the prescribed sequence of asanas is important, and they should be done in the order listed. In this way, the salt water is encouraged to flow from the beginning of the intestines to the rectum. It is for this reason that these asanas are especially incorporated into the two cleansing practices. Other asanas can also be used, but our experience in the ashram, and that of yogis throughout the ages, has shown that these five particular asanas are the most suitable.
These asanas also give benefits in their own right, apart from association with these cleansing processes. These will be described in the following text.
TADASANA (PALM TREE POSE)
The Sanskrit word tnda means 'palm tree' and therefore, not surprisingly, the English translation of this pose is the 'palm tree pose'. It is also often known as the heavenly stretch pose, because this is exactly what you do in this asana: stretch the body upwards towards the heavens.
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