Saturday, July 2, 2016

Warning: Icky Posting

There are a few gross body topics I've saved up, and will dump them, NPI, below. If you're squeamish, or the sort of person who giggles nervously when a yoga teacher says to "relax your groins", you'll want to stop reading now.

We'll be looking at indigestion, pee flow, daily digestion cycles, and the IBS cure I mentioned here. Not amusing reading, but valuable info if you can use it.

After 53 years of errant nighttime abdominal discomfort (mostly just feelings of "sour stomach"), and a whole lot of heroic effort to understand and solve it via terribly advanced yoga insights, diet changes, herbal cures, and medical tests, here's the great wisdom I have to offer: almost every abdominal pang (unless you have some really serious condition) is attributable to trapped gas. That's it! And that, in turn, can be attributed to tension. Learn to deeply relax your pelvis and abdomen (work progressively, area by area). And don't eat even a bite after your (preferably early) dinner. Note that it's just generally healthier to eat a light dinner and a heavy lunch.

Speaking of tension, that's what reduces pee flow, but not tension where you'd imagine. Try relaxing in the hamstrings and the backs of the knees, all the way the backs of the legs to the achilles tendons. Really sense the ground beneath the soles of your feet; feel the gravity sucking you into the earth. Makes a surprising difference (if not, guys, get your prostate checked!).

The reason you wake up at the same time every day (even if the alarm clock isn't set) is that most humans have surprisingly precise defecation timers...and they attend to that soon after awakening, so that's what rouses you. If you can make a habit of taking care of that a couple hours after your weekday wake-up time (as with most body habits, 2 or 3 days training is all that's needed for a reset, because your body is always trying to accommodate you), you'll find that you can sleep later on weekends.

Not gross, but I'm throwing in an insomnia tip. If you can't sleep, let all your intelligence, all your thoughts, drain into your pillow (and keep it up - send all thoughts there, let the thinking itself happen down there). Make your pillow smarter as you get dumber and dumber!

Feeling a little sleepy already? See, I told you!

I alluded a few months ago to a cure for IBS. Here it is all at once, though you'll need to go one step at a time.

1. Learn to retract your gut at your belly button. It helps to practice standing up, and slightly hunched forward. Note that yogis call this uddiyana bandha, and there's lots of info on the web about it. Note that pilates teaches the same action, and a couple classes (e.g. at your gym) would be all sorts of ways!

2. Once you've really got control of that action, move the retraction 3-4 inches south, down to your pubic bone (you just trained at the navel because it's easier there). You won't be able to retract much so low will feel more like an isometric clench, producing no externally observable result...but you'll feel it. Let the action be small/slight, but concentrate on it!

Ok, that's half of it. The front half. Now the back half. I'm going to be pretty explicit, you've been warned.

3. Visualize your rectum extending back into your body, all the way toward the pubic bone. 

4. Make the connection that you are extending your rectum toward your pubic bone, and your pubic bone toward your rectum. Unify these actions. Make them touch.

That's it! Once you can do #4, that's all you'll need. The problem is that it's a bit tricky to learn, plus it's hard to concentrate on tricky actions under duress (i.e. during an attack). So here's some help that will bring at least some relief until you've mastered this, and offer a chance to practice:

1. Learn cobra pose. It's not hard, and you don't need to do it perfectly. Next time you have an attack, do cobra, and concentrate on pulling your trunk up and back right at that pubic bone area (try it, it will feel natural). This will help you do the retraction (step #2). Very important: relax the glutes! No clenching in the rectum, either. Relax all that stuff, and focus on the front of the abdomen, at the pubic bone. This will bring some relief, but only temporarily.

2. When the discomfort returns, switch to child's pose. Concentrate on the back of the body - extending the rectum back to the pubic bone. When discomfort returns, repeat the cycle. You're sort of dividing up the two actions. Doing them together is better (and would fix the attack much sooner), but this is more doable while you're learning.

You may need to repeat this cycle of the two poses ten times or more before the attack dissipates, but it will mitigate a reasonable chunk of the discomfort, while helping you practice the two essential actions. As you refine the actions, and learn to perform them amid discomfort, you'll eventually be able to rely less on the yoga poses. In time, and with practice, you'll be able to dispel an attack instantly, via step #4 alone pubic bone to rectum connection...and you're done. Relax your glutes!

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