The average person poops once each morning, and about 1 ounce per 12 pounds of body weight per day. Those who miss their daily morning poop elimination can find themselves jittery, uncomfortable and frequently passing gas all day. This sort of backlog clogs your digestive system. As your intestines continue to absorb fluids out of your stool, smells from this rotting matter are absorbed into your bloodstream, leaving bad body odors and a bad taste in your mouth.
The advent of the toilet brought with it better sanitation. However, the new posture led to a host of digestive disorders like constipation, appendicitis and Crohn's just to name a few. Although this new position of sitting rather than squatting was thought to be more dignified, the new sophistication was oblivious to human anatomy.
Your body is made to squat when you poop, however uncivilized squatting may seem. The sitting toilet was invented in 1596, and only became commonplace in the 1850's. When sitting or standing, a muscle near the end of your colon engages to prevent pooping. This "puborectalis" muscle forms a sling around the colon to hold it closed so you don't poop by accident during the day. Squatting allows free flow from the rectum - and that's what our poop wants, freedom!
There are many different props available to get you into position for the ideal touchdown. The squatty potty is a popular footstool that helps you get a medium squat.
Let's go over the basic strategy for an ideal morning poop. Start with a glass of warm water as soon as you wake up. That will stimulate peristalsis - rhythmic contractions of your intestines that will propel stool to your rectum for easy elimination. Try breathing into the abdomen as well. When you feel the urge, don't ignore it, but go right away to the toilet. If you never get the urge, spend a few moments on the bowl as part of your morning routine, to coax your body into the habit.
Then get into a comfortable, stable squat. In this position, your thighs will press into your abdomen to squeeze the colon as it delivers the goods; sort of like our thumbs might do on a near empty tube of toothpaste. You want your knees close to your chest and your spine straight instead of hunched over. Remember there should be no straining in this process - you're inviting an easy flow with your position, breath and mentality. So breathe. Take some smooth, deep low belly breaths which will push on your pelvis, and move your stools. As you inhale, attempt to direct your breath down your spine. As you exhale, suck your belly button in and up. This should naturally press then stretch your colon encouraging stools to move.
Relax. Get comfy. Practice patience for the poop. Grab a book, do a crossword, listen to a podcast, organize your schedule, plan dinner, read your email, set an intention for day, make a to do list. Whatever your pleasure in the moment, just chill. But don't dilly dally once the deed is done. You can develop hemorrhoids from lingering on the toilet too long due to pressure. Sitting on the toilet encourages the anus to relax and the veins around it to fill with blood. The weight of the blood puts pressure on the veins and prolonged pressure ultimately results in a hemorrhoid. Don't strain to eliminate either - let your body choose when to release.
Working each of these techniques into your game plan will have you pooping like a pro in no time. You'll enjoy rewards such as faster bowel movements, a healthier colon and pelvic floor - incontinence issues are unheard of in cultures that squat to drop a deuce. They also don't have hernias, hemorrhoids, diverticulosis, malabsorption issues, colon cancer or colitis. And many First World-ers who convert find that they actually lose weight - because there isn't a bunch of old poop stuck up in their colon. What's not to love about this return to our ancient ways? Ready, squat, go!
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CLEARClear refers to anything that cleanses or flushes out wastes, or that digests ama.
CONSTIPATIVEAn herb that binds stools / stops diarrhea. When used in excess, these herbs and foods can cause constipation.
GENERAL-LAXATIVEPromotes a bowel movement. General laxative is an umbrella term that refers to several different types of laxatives...
HIGH-FIBER-LAXATIVEA class of laxative that adds bulk and water to stools. The size of a stool stimulates peristalsis and the stool passes more easily through the colon. It is important to drink plenty of water when using high fiber laxatives, as they can be dehydrating.
STIMULANT-LAXATIVEStimulant laxatives induce bowel movements by stimulating peristaltic movement (the contraction of smooth muscle in the intestines). They are effective when used on a short-term basis. On a long-term basis, they can create dependency. Aka irritant laxativ
STOOL-SOFTENERAn herb that softens stool that is hard and difficult to pass. They are the safest and most gentle type of laxative. Some foods are even stool softeners, such as warm milk with ghee.
DOWNWARDDownward-moving (Adho Gati Marga) substances move food downward in the GI tract, settle the nervous system, and relax muscles.
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About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda biocharacteristics. His approach to Ayurveda is clinical, yet exudes an ease which many find enjoyable and insightful. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda, offering professional clinical training in Ayurveda for over 15 years.
John's interest in Ayurveda and specialization in digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, as well as public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well. Outside of work, John enjoys spending time with his wife and 6 kids, and pursuing his love of theology, philosophy, and language.
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