According to Ayurveda, proper digestion and absorption of food and water are essential to maintaining good health, while the improper elimination of toxins (AMA) from the body can lead to various health problems. Improper food combinations, suppressing natural urges, insufficient water intake, a diet that is low in fiber, excess meat consumption, and lack of exercise, among other reasons, can lead to constipation and other digestive problems.

Here are some Ayurvedic tips to help with proper elimination and avoiding digestive problems:

–Triphala (combination of three fruits – Amalaki, Bhibitaki, and Haritaki) is probably the best Ayurvedic herbal compound for constipation. Triphala is a rejuvenative for the whole body. It balances all three Doshas.

–Psyllium husk (sat isabgol in Sanskrit) can also be used with 1 cup of warm water before bedtime to help with constipation.

–Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and Yoga exercises to help improve circulation to remove waste from tissues, proper oxygen exchange, stimulation of internal organs, and mental clarity. Specific Yoga poses that can help proper elimination: spinal twist, bow, bridge, locust, forward bend, peacock, camel, cow, and boat pose.

–Mediting to help calm the body and mind and relieve stress. Repressed or unresolved emotions can be a root cause of improper digestion, absorption, and elimination.

–Drinking 16-32oz of warm water upon waking to flush the kidneys, promote hydration and toxin elimination in the cells and tissues of the gastrointestinal system. Make sure to keep the body hydrated throughout the day with room temperature to warm water.

– Sitting on the toilet upon waking (ideally squatting) retrains the nervous and gastrointestinal system for eliminating at the appropriate time. Just as we “potty train” a child, we can retrain ourselves to have proper bowel moments. Squatting can be very helpful to facilitate the process of elimination. Pressure from the thighs on the abdomen gently aids in evacuation.

– Eat foods according to seasons and your Prakruti (constitution). Avoid cold, dry, hard, rough foods (eg salads and most beans). These are difficult to digest especially in cold weather. Favor warm, moist, and fiber-rich diet (especially well-cooked vegetables). Eating an apple, ripe bananas, and prunes after a meal can also help with elimination.

–Avoid inappropriate food combinations: no eating of fruit or fruit juice at the same time as dairy products, such as milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream. No melons with other foods. Avoid fish and milk.

– Avoid canned, frozen, or preserved foods. Eat fresh and seasonal foods.

This information is for education purposes only. Please consult your physician, physical therapist or wellness practitioner before starting any rehabilitation, wellness or fitness program.