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Kichadi and Shank Prakshalan

Ayurvedic Yogic Cleansing Cure

When I heard that we have a three-week exit ban I panicked briefly and told my boyfriend directly that I would take a fasting cure. On the one hand, because I was affright that otherwise, my whole day would revolve around food with no exercise, but huge weight gain instead. On the other hand, there was also the concern that the curfew would affect the food distribution in India, which would make a fasting cure inevitable.

The latter fear was already taken away the next day. We would continue to go shopping every morning and also had a good stock of rice and lentils at home

Fortunately, even the first fear did not become true. I think especially my disciplined morning yoga routine helps me, which gives structure, light and positivity throughout the rest of the day.

So fasting was no more needed and the motives were not the best anyway.

Nevertheless, the idea somehow sat in the back of my mind.

I started my Ayurveda Online course and implemented Ayurveda in my daily routine, which also led to more discipline in my eating behavior.

In addition, I wanted to improve my gut health, which troubled me for a while already.

Ayurveda deals a lot with digestion. Agni, the digestive fire, is one of the main topics in Ayurveda and cannot be avoided to come across. Virtually almost all sufferings are according to Ayurveda (a) due to the wrong lifestyle and b) due to false nutrition.

Ayurveda starts where our conventional medicine often gives up. Ayurveda sees not only the symptom but also the patient and his environment and then starts correcting the roots of an unbalanced life that imbalances our Constitution (Prakruti), which again is the course of diseases.

Ayurveda recommends a Kichadi fast as a light cleaning cure, as an easier option to the big Pancha Karma cure.

Kichadi itself is a porridge of boiled rice, green lentils (Moong Dal), turmeric and salt and is the Yogi-Ayurveda food par excellence.

simple Kichidi ( 1 Cup rice, 1 cup moong Dal, 1 tsp Salt, 1 tsp Turmeric and 4 cups water, all cooked and eaten with 1 tbsp Ghee)

In India, the porridge is mainly cooked for the sick. But also for disciplined yogis, the porridge combined with cooked vegetables is the basic meal.

The current lockdown created the perfect environment for my own Kichadi fast cure: I had lots of time and no stress.

I wanted to combine it with a Shank Prakshalan- a Yogi cleanse.

Already during my yoga teacher training, I did Shank Prakshalan twice. Shank Prakshalan is an addition to the six smaller cleaning exercises, the Shat Karmas. It cleanses the entire margin intestinal tract.

One drinks warm saltwater cup by cup and in between has to practice 5 dynamic asanas in which the digestive tract is properly pressed and wrenched. After about 6 cups of saltwater, the inevitable happens: the first toilet aisle.

Continue, cup by cup, until almost ‘clear water” is excreted. This should happen after about 16 cups.

Yogis recommend this cleaning twice a year, in spring and autumn.

Cleaning, like fasting, must be reasonably pre- and after- processed. This includes eating simple prepared vegetarian meals and no coffee and dairy products before. After the cleanse it is a MUST to have only simple Kichadi with lots of Ghee for two days the intestinal wall again.

I recommend this cleaning treatment only under supervision and instructions of an experienced yogi and better even in a protected space, such as an ashram. Therefore, I do not give any further instructions for implementation.

This cleaning can also be dangerous if you, for example, mix the saltwater not in the right proportion or do not properly prepare before. Also, you need proper rest.

Based on my previous knowledge and the current circumstances, for me the Kichidi cure with the Shank Prakshalan was the ideal combination to take care of my digestion, having a cleanse and practice Ayurveda.

I prepared myself for the Shank Prakshalan with light meals beforehand and had the day before the big day only simply Kichadi.

Nevertheless, the Shank Prakshalan itself was both an incredibly strenuous procedure, as well as very eye-opening. Although I was thankful too not having had any hair or other indigestible items coming out, whatever came, was also not nice and I am glad I don’t have it in me anymore.

After 18 cups of saltwater and at least as many toilet-runs I was very weakened. But I was able to rest as recommended on this day and was served with two satisfying meals of simple, very soupy kichadi with a lot of ghee

Even after the first light meal, I felt strengthened and drank lots of tea consisting of fennel, coriander and cumin seeds (one teaspoon each).

Also on day two, there was Kichadi only. This time, however, spiced up with some cooked vegetables and roasted ginger, cumin and mustard seeds.

After three days of Kichidi, I reflected for myself:

  1. For fasting and monodies, I’m not so suitable. I think about food all the time, also because the Kichadi is not so long-lasting and I, as a Pitta person, have a very good turnover and at the latest, after 2 to 3 hours I was already hungry again.
  2. Kichadi with vegetables and slightly spiced up with light spices, which are also good for digestion, can provide a balanced and satisfying meal.
  3. Kichadi three times a day, however, is somewhat one-sided, especially when everyday life isn’t that exciting at the moment anyway.
  4. Just as my boyfriend and I are currently eating (vegetarian, freshly prepared, with good spices, lentils and vegetables), we are already having a healthy ayurvedic based diet. We only have more fiber. Indian families usually have one evening a week Kichadi.
  5. Kichadi is ideal for intolerances, as it is gluten, lactose and fructose-free. You can now add one category at a time to your meal plan and see how you feel.

Conclusion and closing word

Me and my digestion are doing quite well now. I look forward to some the variety in the meal plan now and, astonishingly, now I have no desire for coffee at all. Nevertheless, I want to enjoy and cook myself some masala chai now.

in Ayurveda, a meal should cover all 6 flavours: sweet, sour, salty, sharp, bitter and astringent

Gluten, milk products and fructose are back in my diet now, but very limited and fruit just warmed and not raw.

The cleaning cure did well. It made me a bit more conscious and I know that I can also survive from rice and lentils, in case our food delivery should stop here.

How my boyfriend taught me so beautifully: Ultimately it’s only food.