Ayurveda Day 80: Poop

Everybody poops! And everyone has the ability to have a healthy quality and quantity of stool. However, because of the doshas that are inherent in our constitution and in our imbalances, we tend to go our lives having unhealthy stools, and thinking it is normal. A vata will be convinced that their hard, dry, sporadic elimination is normal. A pitta will believe that their loose, soft stools are normal. A kapha will believe their pale, bulky stools are just fine. We don’t look at these as diseases. But these are all early warning signs that disease is starting in the body. We call this purva rupa or “before symptoms”.

When you go see an Ayurvedic Practitioner, you will come in for a certain imbalance:

“I have this migraine that just won’t go away!”

To which they will respond:

“And how’s your elimination?”

We can treat your symptoms, but the purva rupa is how it got there in the first place, and it starts with your elimination. If you can’t get rid of things from the body properly, then how can we fix anything else ultimately? If you had a sink that was clogged, you would first start with unclogging, not with mopping up the mess it’s pouring onto the floor endlessly.

The way we assess where to start on a patient goes like this:

How’s your elimination?

Not so good – work on improving stool quality and peristalsis (muscular movement of substances through the digestive system)

Good – We move on

How’s your digestion?

Not so good – regulate agni (digestive enzymes, mucous membranes, absorption) and make better food choices along with better food habits

Good – We move on

How’s your mental/emotional state?

Not so good – assess and address stress level with herbs and diet. Assess sleeping habits.

Good – We move on

What symptoms are left?

Address those symptoms

Usually, by the time we address elimination, other symptoms you may be experiencing will be gone. Then when we go to digestion and mental/emotional/sleep, you could potentially be rid of most of your symptoms, so long as you are not coming in with a difficult prognosis.
This is why knowing what a good poop looks like is so important! It is our first indicator, our barometer, of how healthy we are and what doshas are our of balance.

What does unhealthy poop look like?

Vata – dryness, hard, lumpy, irregular colours, may contain undigested food particles

Pitta – loose, breaks apart, soft, yellow/orange/green in colour*, smelly, elimination may feel warm or burning

Kapha – copious volume, large and long and log-like, pale, soft, may have mucous in stool

* Colour may be due to pigments in food as well

What does healthy poop look like?

Anyone can have healthy elimination regardless of dosha.

– consistency of a ripe banana

– smooth and log-like

– between 6-10 inches

– evenly coloured

– light brown

– absence of food particles

– no odour

Here is a handy chart as to what different types of stools can look like. This is a western medical scale, but it gives good doshic examples. You want to have a #4:

So there you have it! You cannot have a disease (that’s not caused by external injury), without also having a purva rupa in the elimination stage. So take a look at your poop and see if it’s good! If it’s not, then consult a CAS, because any number of factors could be contributing.

Everybody poops, and we can all have a healthy poop!

Okay, maybe I just like saying poop a lot!

With gratitude,

S

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3 thoughts on “Ayurveda Day 80: Poop

  1. As a personal trainer and yoga instructor trying to be holistic in my approach, I have used this chart with my client’s and asked them to tell me which group they belong in. It’s amazing to me how much it can tell you. Love it!

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