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Advanced Yoga Study ( By Swami Dharmananda
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  • To provide nourishment to the tissues called bruhana nasya. Bruhana means nutritive, it is more nourishing than cleansing. It improves sensory functioning and attention deficit disorders and helps with degenerative brain conditions like Alzheirner's, epilepsy and mental retardation.

It is the process of therapeutic purging that cleanses the colon, small intestine, kidneys and associated pitta-dominant organs e.g. liver, spleen and gall bladder. It works in a downward direction to eliminate pitta related ama and excess pitta in the form of acidic secretions. Virechana is a natural, herb induced purging process, which automatically ceases once the ama is cleaned. Virechana is a controlled process that gathers ama from many locations in the body, concentrates it in the small intestine and then discharges it. It is good for the treatment of pitta related disorders like hyperacidity, colitis, hemorrhoids, chronic headaches, diabetes, allergies, skin disorders like acne, dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, leprosy and leucoderma. People with dominant pitta, who have a tendency towards frequent bowel movements with loose stools, receive mild laxatives. Kaphic patients with slow bowels and heavy, sticky stools are given a stronger laxative. Those with vata dominant conditions have a tendency towards dry, hard stools and constipation are usually treated with castor oil.

Preparation for Virechana
Snehana and swedana prepares the patient for virechana. Full oleation is essential to dislodge the ama and draw them into the small intestine from the surrounding organs and tissues in the pitta zone. The meal immediately preceding virechana is high in pitta enhancing qualities - hot, spicy and sour. Virechana's stimulus should be used when pitta's physiological activity peaks in the hours around noon and midnight. If administered during the day time the meal is taken around 10.30 am and the purgation two and a half-hours later around 1.00 pm. If administered at night the meal is taken at around 7 pm and the purgation at 9.30 pm. Coordinating the timings of the meal and purgation maximizes the pitta secretions in the mid-zone of the body. Ideally after taking the purgative the patient experiences six to ten bowel movements. When all the toxins are expelled the urge to evacuate automatically subsides.

After virechana one should not take cold drinks or a cold bath as it may tax the weakened digestive fire or shrink the energy channels. However warm licorice tea may be taken. A special diet is followed several days after treatment to allow the digestive fires to regain their normal strength. After treatment the patient feels clean, light and strong. Digestion, assimilation and appetite improve. Mind clears and intellect sharpens.

Basti therapy is the most powerful of the five main procedures of panchakarma. Basti is the introduction of medicated liquids into the colon through the rectum. While it directly affects the colon it is not a localized or symptomatic treatment. The colon is seldom addressed for its own sake. It is utilized for its vital link with all the other organs and tissues. Basti therefore has a wide ranging influence in the body, affecting the doshas and the dhatus. The colon like the roots of a tree performs the job of providing nourishment to all other organs 


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