by Brian Leaf
Let’s be honest. Few things are as important to our sense of happiness as a good bowel movement. So what can we do to ensure daily success at the porcelain altar?
Here are the steps I learned in Ayurveda school, and they don’t require a trip to the doctor or even to CVS—though you may need to practice for a few days to hone the skills and get results.
Step 1. After waking, relax a few moments. Don’t dive into paying bills or calling your mother-in-law. The sphincter is a muscle and it responds to tension. So keep it relaxed. Think relaxing thoughts.
Step 2. Drink a tall glass of warm water. This awakens the digestive system and stimulates peristalsis in the intestines.
Step 3. Squat. In yoga circles we call this Malasana, or Pooping pose (OK, only I call it Pooping pose). Malasana opens the abdominal area and preps the body for the big poop. Again, stay relaxed. Don’t play Ruzzle or Angry Birds on your iPhone, and definitely don’t think about politics.
Step 4. When you feel ready, i.e., when something is percolating, transition to the toilet. Once there, you can continue the energy of the squat by resting your elbows on your knees and bending forward slightly, rather than sitting up straight. Like squat posture, this puts the organs of elimination in the optimal position.
Step 5. Don’t read or surf the Internet or make a call. If possible, don’t even think. Just be. And don’t force it. Relax your body. Relax your belly, pelvis, and sphincter. Drop your weight into the support of your elbows on your knees. Release and allow (pretty good advice for life in general).
Step 5a. If you need an assist, you can practice Pooping Pranayama. Inhale through your nose, visualizing the breath filling your abdomen and then exhale, visualizing the breath going out and downward as your relax and release. You’ll be shocked by how well this works.
Step 6. Stay relaxed and let it all out.
Happy pooping! Let us know how it goes.
Brian Leaf, M.A., is the author of the memoir Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi: My Humble Quest to Heal My Colitis, Calm My ADD, and Find the Key to Happiness