Shatapavali: The 100 Steps to a Healthier Digestive System
Ayurveda, the ancient system of medicine that has been practiced in India for thousands of years, offers a wealth of wisdom and guidance on maintaining a healthy and balanced life. One such practice, known as Shatapavali or taking 100 steps after a meal, holds great significance in Ayurvedic tradition. While this practice is not intended for fat burning, it plays a crucial role in promoting good digestion and overall well-being.
The primary intention behind Shatapavali is not to shed extra pounds but to ensure that the food we consume moves through the digestive system efficiently. Walking briskly or engaging in strenuous physical activity immediately after eating can have adverse effects, as it can exacerbate all three doshas in the body. This could be particularly concerning for individuals with hypertension or cardiac disorders, potentially leading to emergency situations. Therefore, the emphasis is on gentle, leisurely walking rather than intense exercise.
One of the key benefits of Shatapavali is that it aids in the proper movement and direction of the ingested food. When we walk after a meal, it facilitates the downward movement of food through the digestive tract. This can help prevent issues like indigestion and discomfort in the upper part of the stomach, neck, thighs, and lumbar region. It also promotes relaxation in these areas, reducing the likelihood of bloating or discomfort.
One common post-meal pitfall is the temptation to settle down for a nap. Many people find themselves feeling drowsy after eating and succumb to the urge to sleep. However, Ayurveda warns against this practice. Post-meal sleep can lead to various health issues, including respiratory problems, obesity, and related disorders. Instead of surrendering to sleep, it is advisable to incorporate the practice of Shatapavali into your daily routine.
Some individuals, particularly women, may claim back pain as a reason for wanting to nap after a meal. For them, the recommendation is to perform Shatapavali and then rest on an Aaram Khurchi, a special chair designed for relaxation, equipped with an inclining feature and lower back support provided by a pillow. This can alleviate back pain and promote comfortable relaxation.
As for those who believe it’s impossible to avoid post-meal sleep, a closer examination often reveals a common mistake – drinking water. Many people avoid drinking water during their meal and consume it only after they finish eating, often in large quantities. According to Ayurveda, the stomach should be divided into four parts: two for food, one for water, and one left empty for healthy movement of Vayu, or air, which is essential to keep the digestive fire ignited. Drinking water right after eating can overload the stomach, making it difficult to resist drowsiness.
In conclusion, the scientific application of Shatapavali is not just an age-old tradition but a practice that promotes good digestion and enhances the overall quality of life. It is a gentle and effective way to facilitate the smooth movement of food through the digestive system and prevent post-meal sleepiness. By embracing this tradition, we can maintain a healthier and more balanced life, free from digestive discomfort and its associated health issues. So, the next time you finish a meal, consider taking a leisurely stroll of 100 steps to embrace the wisdom of Ayurveda and ensure your well-being.
Dr. Mangesh Desai
Yoga & Hypnotherapy Consultant
Pimple Saudagar, Pune.