Sunday, March 23, 2014

Yoga Hygiene: Care of the Tongue

It is not generally known that tartar and decomposing material tend to collect on the root of the tongue and are often more responsible for foul breath than stomach conditions. Most persons do not know that the base of the tongue is often the place from where bad breath arises. So it is just as imperative to scrape the tongue well as to cleanse the teeth and the mouth. 

In diagnosis, it is an accepted medical fact that the condition of the tongue acts as an index of the state of health of the alimentary canal more truly than other external organs. It is held by the Yogins that the neglected and therefore, unhealthy tongue likewise reacts unfavourably on the alimentary canal. The yoga practice of Jihvamulasodhanam or the cleansing of the root of the tongue consists of reaching the back of the tongue, as far as one can, and thus removing with the finger-tips whatever mucus and phlegm deposits that may have accumulated there. 

The practice of brushing the tongue and the root of the tongue with an ordinary tooth-brush is really not as safe as it appears, because the hard bristles if thrust too far by oversight, may lead to an injury of the oropharynx, or can cause extreme gagging or sometimes may even hit the root of the mouth.

In this respect, the yoga method is comparatively more precise, simple and effective. It is practiced thus:
Practice of Jihvamulasodhana
or the cleansing of the root of the tongue.

  1. Join together the first three fingers known as the forefinger (Tarjani), the middle (Madhyama) and the ring finger (Anamika);
  2. Push them into the throat deep enough and rub well till the root of the tongue is cleansed. While washing thus, simultaneous efforts should also be made to throw out whatever phlegm and mucus (Kafa), that may have surrounded the cavity.
  3. After a minute or two of such cleansing, rub the tongue with butter very sparingly so that the scraping which is to follow may not lead to an irritation of the surface. Then hold the tongue scraper on the tongue pulling the same slowly downwards.           

That the practical Yogins should have realized the import and necessity of not only cleansing the surface but even the base and lower portion of the tongue most carefully twice every day, namely (i) early morning and (ii) before retiring to bed, when even the casual cleansing of the tongue was not so popular is really remarkable.
by Shri Yogendraji

Source: This text was originally written by Shri Yogendraji and posteriorly used at the monthly journal "Yoga & Total Health" issue of May 2011, edited and distributed by the Yoga Institute of Santracruz, Mumbai - India.


You can learn this and many other techniques for the care of the body (kriyas), and experience an authentic Yogic lifestyle by attending our next Yoga Teacher Training Course in Thailand.


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