Yoga Holidays & Retreats with Debbie Avani & Clare Harford

Pre Practice Information

FULL (Poorna) SHANKHAPRAKSHALANA is a complete salt-water wash-out of the entire digestive system.

In the full practice, the protective mucus lining of the gut is removed and it is therefore VERY IMPORTANT that you adhere to the restricted diet after the practice.

  • NO meat, fish or eggs for one month
  • A strict vegetarian/non-dairy, cooked food diet for the first week to 10 days.
  • Smoking, alcohol and recreational drugs should be avoided for at least one month.
  • Ensure that you can be in complete control of your diet for at least the first week after the practice.
The special diet only applies if you are doing the full practice. If you are practicing laghoo (half wash) then there are no restrictions on diet.

The practice involves drinking warm saline water and practicing a specific series of asana to move the water through the digestive system. It is very beneficial for the digestive system, and creates a cleansing effect through the associated organs. It helps to reduce excess mucus in the body and on an energetic level is a purifying and balancing practice.

Kunjal is the regurgitation of salt water and is very good for hyper acidity, asthma and respiratory conditions, migraine and for releasing blocked emotional energy.

Neti is the washing of the nostrils, widely acknowledged now to help manage allergies, hay fever, sinus problems and headaches.

One week before the Retreat

Buy in suitable food for the diet after the practice including plain white rice, mung dal (not the same as yellow split peas as they are harder), ghee (clarified butter - homemade is much better), root and green leafy vegetables, herbal (non-fruit) teas, porridge oats, pearl barley etc.

As far as possible, reduce your intake of tea, coffee, alcohol, dairy products, sugar, meat, fish and eggs. This will make the restrictive diet after the practice easier to stick with and lessen any withdrawal symptoms from tea and coffee in particular.

One day before the practice

We will eat a lighter diet the day before the cleanse and our last meal will be soup no later than 6pm

On the day

You must not eat or drink anything on the day of the practice - we will be starting the practice early in the morning, but please resist the urge to drink even herbal tea prior to the cleanse.

If possible do not have a bowel movement - this is only to encourage the quickening of the practice, it is by no means essential! Don’t hold it in!

After the practice - on the day

After completion you will rest for 45 minutes in silence and then eat a hearty bowl of khicheri. You must not drink anything until at least 2 hours after eating the khicheri.

On the evening of the practice you must eat plain khicheri: 1 cup of rice, 1/2 cup of mung dal, boiled till very soft in water, till the texture is like a very thick soup. Add a generous tablespoon of ghee (clarified butter) to serve.

Do not add anything else (NO salt, NO spices etc).

Do not sleep after the practice until your normal bed time.

The first week after the practice

It is strongly recommended that you have a very quiet day or two arranged in advance with minimal social interaction. Sensitivity is increased and you will benefit from avoiding crowded and noisy places. This will not be a problem on our retreat as we will make sure you are well cared for with nourishing practices and treatments, however be mindful of your re-entry into your daily life - best you can arrange for it to be as peaceful as you are able.

Also be prepared for some symptoms of detoxification after the practice, tiredness and headaches are not uncommon.

Yoga practice (Sadhana)

For 2-3 days after the practice, do not do any strenuous asana or other practices.

You are advised not do kunjal, nauli, uddiyana bandha, kapalbhati, bhastrika or any other strong abdominal practices for at least one week.


For at least the first week after the practice you must follow the special diet. This will be taken care of on your retreat and we will give you a sheet to take home on departure.


Ideally for the month following the practice you should stick to permitted foods. If this is not possible, then gradually reintroduce other foods after the first week. You may find that your craving for sweet, salty and spicy foods is not as much as it used to be.

Remain mindful of the ongoing and lasting effects of this practice and how you respond on all levels over time.


There are some specific contraindications for this practice. Please refer to the application form and the health questionnaire. If you have any of the following conditions then shankhaprakshalana should not be done: Heart conditions, kidney problems, high blood pressure, peptic or duodenal ulcer, hernia, if you are pregnant or breast-feeding or if you have had abdominal surgery in the last 6 months.

If you are unsure of anything please contact either Debbie or Clare.