Discover how bowel movements impact your overall health through simplified wisdom from Ayurveda
Every action you undertake possesses a unique rhythm and a code of conduct associated with it, including the most mundane act of relieving your bowels, which holds significance within your daily routine, known as Dinacharya. It may be bewildering to contemplate the relevance of bodily waste material. However, in the realm of Ayurveda, the process of Mala Pravartan, also referred to as Shoucha vidhi or cleansing procedure, sheds light on this matter. Our bodies are comprised of Tridoshas, 7 dhatus, and three malas—Mutra (urine), Purish (stools), and Sweda (sweat). While urine and sweat serve as liquid by-products expelled by the body, stools represent solid waste. Remarkably, akin to dosha and dhatus, these malas assume a crucial role in sustaining bodily well-being. In this piece, we shall delve into the significance of Purish mala, commonly known as stools.
Importance of Purish (Stool) in our body –
Purish or stool plays a vital role in supporting the entire body. It serves as a stabilizer for the digestive fire and holds the power to regulate the Vata within us. Just as Vata dosha governs the act of bowel movements, Purish (stool) acts as a barrier, effectively managing and containing the unwanted movements of Vata, confining them within the abdominal cavity. Mala Vega, the natural urge to pass stools, is one of the thirteen urges outlined in Ayurveda. These urges should always be respected and attended to when the body demands them. They should never be suppressed or forcefully initiated. Any interference in either direction disrupts the balance of Vata, leading to various disorders and imbalances associated with it.
Ideal time for Mala Pravartan –
The regular elimination of stools holds immense significance for overall well-being. Ideally, it is best to have a bowel movement in the morning shortly after waking up, as it signifies optimal health. This timely release also facilitates the passage of mala roop Apan Vayu, the expulsion of flatus. Furthermore, the act of passing stools indicates the completion of the digestion process. For many individuals, it is common to experience bowel movements a few hours after lunch, typically during the evening.
Failure to fully evacuate the stool can lead to sensations of abdominal heaviness, bloating, reduced energy levels, lethargy, and irritability. Irregularity in bowel movements or experiencing constipation serves as an indication of poor health. It stands as a prominent contributor to various health complications, including vata imbalances, skin issues, disruptions in menstrual cycles, gastrointestinal problems, anorectal disorders, cardiac ailments, udavarta, and more.
Ideal position for Mala Pravartan –
The environment in which we engage in bowel movements holds a significant influence. When it comes to passing motions, the surroundings should be pleasant, hygienic, and comfortable, and emanate a pleasing fragrance to enhance the natural urge. Conversely, an unfavorable environment can dampen the urge to eliminate. Embracing the Indian squatting position proves to be the ideal stance as it aligns the colon and rectum, facilitating the smooth movement of solid waste. To adopt this position even with western-style toilets, the utilization of squatting tables can provide assistance and aid in maintaining proper alignment.
Consistency of stools and its relationship with the health –
The consistency of our stools serves as a reflection of our digestive processes. Well-formed, soft stools signify proper digestion, while semi-solid, loose, or unformed stools indicate digestive issues. If the stools appear slimy, sticky, and emit a foul odor, it suggests indigestion or weakened digestive capacity, leading to the formation of aam (undigested food material). Conversely, very hard stools are indicative of impaired digestion, excessive vata accumulation, and a lack of moisture and lubrication in the diet. Another revealing test is the floating test. Stools that float on the water’s surface are a sign of healthy digestion and are referred to as Niraam mala, indicating the absence of aam. On the other hand, stools that sink in the water indicate the presence of aam, known as saam mala. Aam refers to the undigested part of food, characterized by its slimy nature. It acts as a toxin within the body and can contribute to various health issues.
Vega Dharan or manipulating the urge of stool –
Within our beings, initiating any urge falls under the influence of Vata dosha. Disturbing the balance of Vata through actions like resisting the urge to pass stools or forcefully inducing it can create turbulence within. When an imbalance in doshas occurs, especially in Vata, it exerts a profound impact on the entire body, giving rise to a spectrum of health concerns. These include muscle cramps, a runny nose, headaches, body aches, fatigue, constipation, bloating, and even more severe conditions such as anorectal pain, chest tightness, cardiac discomfort, and cardiac disorders.
Factors affecting motions –
The following factors affect bowel movement which in turn becomes the root cause of various ailments and disorders mentioned in the previous paragraph.
- Inadequate food intake
- Weakened digestive fire
- Untimely meals
- Not following dietary rules
- Frequent or overeating
- Excess dry food without lubrication or moisture
- Lack of roughage
- Incompatible food combinations
- Improper food habits
- Untimely bowel habits
- Holding or forceful initiation of natural urge
Ideal Charya one should follow for better bowel health –
Following the below-mentioned Charya for passing stools can reap great benefits for the body and mind.
- Follow dietary rules as per Ayurveda
- Have timely meals with respect to hunger
- Avoid late dinners
- Avoid frequent munching and overeating
- Include adequate oil, ghee, roughage, and water in your meals
- Include freshly cooked, warm food
- Eat with all your senses, mind, and attention toward food
- Walk for 100 steps post meals, but do not indulge in strenuous exercise
- Consume 1/3rd portion of liquids/water in your meals
- Practice oil application on the navel at bedtime
- Practice early morning bowel training
- Attend the urge with a pleasant mind, and clean, favorable surroundings
- Maintain the squatting position
- Maintain hygiene and cleanliness after the act
- Practice washing hands, and feet, and gargling after a bowel movement.
As we conclude this exploration into the profound realm of Mala Pravartan, we have uncovered the intricate connections between our bodily functions, Ayurvedic principles, and overall well-being. By understanding the factors that affect our bowel movements and embracing an ideal Charya, we can cultivate a harmonious relationship with our bodies and experience the transformative power of honoring even the most ordinary aspects of our daily lives. May this wisdom guide us toward optimal health, vitality, and a profound connection to the rhythms of our being.