To Dhouti or not to Dhouti?
In wee hours of the morning, I eagerly prepared a solution made of 0.9% salt and 99.1% water. Luke warm water. 5 liters. How difficult could this procedure be? I thought. Boy, was I wrong.
I was about to perform Varisar Dhouti also known as Shankha Prakshalana, a full digestive track cleansing procedure. It involves consuming 5 liters of saline solution (self-prepared) and evacuating the bowels χ number of times. It purifies the blood, detoxifies, the body and helps develop good digestion. It also eliminates allergies and certain skin diseases . Just think of the layers of poo we’ve collected in there (no. of layers = age x 365 days) and the toxins we’ve accumulated in our body.
I’ve cleansed my GI track before using Epsom Salt. However, I was curious to know how using this yogic cleansing technique might differ. I googled for more information the night before and found 2 useful websites which detailed the asanas that should be performed during dhouti and ‘post-procedure recovery’. In this article, I list the procedure in brief (see references for more info) and describe my experience while highlighting my key learning points.
- Prepare 5 liters of lukewarm isotonic solution (34-40 degrees)
- Drink 5 glasses of the isotonic solution (approx. 1 liter)
- Perform Triyak Tadasana, Katti Chakrasana, Tiryaka Bhujangasana, Udarakarshan, Kakhpadasana
- Repeat step 1 to 4
Experience and Key Lessons
I consumed my 1st liter easily, did my asanas, and waited for about 20 mins. Nothing happened. That got me worried because it could be an indication that I was doing something wrong and I just consumed quite a bit of salt. I reread the instructions and realized that I was supposed to drink continuously to create enough pressure within the colon needed for that … special feeling to come (lesson #1). That means less gap between the liters of water. So, I quickly moved through the 2nd then 3rd liter while performing the asanas in between liters. Things started to get going rather quickly after that. Upon reaching my 4th liter however, a lot of motivation was required to down the isotonic solution. It became increasingly challenging because I was starting to feel nauseous. It was also difficult to perform the asanas because any slight movement led to nausea. Nevertheless, the websites stated that the procedure had to go on until what’s being evacuated looks like clear water. Hence, I persisted. Eventually, I made it.
The plan was to head for work after the procedure which took approximately 3 hours. Wrong move. I’ve not researched enough to find a scientific explanation but I was incredibly tired throughout the day. This was not the average kind of tiredness experienced after a tough workout or a hard day’s work. My body felt weak and my mind lethargic. It’s not related to frequenting the toilet. I believe it has to do with the detoxification that takes place within the body. So, good if you can set aside a whole day for resting (lesson #2).
When the slight nausea subsided later in the morning, hunger arose as per normal. The website’s instruction was to abstain from eating raw vegetables, fruits, and meat (and others) for at least 2-3 weeks. It also highlighted that we should consume a specially prepared basmati rice concoction referred to as Khicheri which will help us line our stomach. This is necessary because the procedure is harsh on the stomach and would have removed its natural lining. Regretfully, I did not do any of those things and alas, I had indigestion which lasted for 2 weeks. Therefore I say, follow the advice (lesson #3).
To Dhouti or not to dhouti? I say, go for it. I do feel cleaner even if it is just psychological and I did see different layers being washed out. Compared to the Epsom Salt procedure, dhouti is less comfortable. The real suffering with dhouti, at least for me, is the consumption of 5 liters of water. With Epsom Salt, one is required to consume less water (1 liter or less depending on the instructional guide provided). It does its trick by preventing water absorption in the intestines such that less water is needed to create the pressure needed for pooping. But I believe that the detoxification that takes place with dhouti is more holistic and thorough. Before you do so, it would be good to do your research so you can do it right.
Written by: Bee Li (YTT Sep-Nov 2017)