Updated: 4 days ago
Who gives a poo? You should! This easy guide to Ayurvedic Stool Analysis will teach you everything you need to know. Sticky stool? Red stool? Pale stool? What’s it all mean?! Explore our Ayurveda Stool Color Chart to decode the hidden messages in your poo.
Explore more on the Saumya Blog, selected top Ayurveda blogs and websites to watch.
What does Ayurveda say about poop?
According to Ayurveda, the color, texture, frequency, and smell of your poop are all indicators of your overall health. For instance, if your poop is discolored, watery, or too hard, this points to internal issues within your digestive tract - and likely beyond.
When you understand how to analyze your elimination with Ayurveda, you can proactively address health issues early on — as opposed to waiting until your symptoms become conditions and diseases.
Ayurveda stool analysis is a non-invasive diagnostic tool that can see into the 30 feet of digestive tract.
In this article about poo, we’re going to explore what your poop says about your health — according to Ayurveda — and how to accurately analyze yours to assess what your body needs.
Ready to dive in? Grab the toilet paper and let’s do this!
The Stinky Truth About Poo
According to the National Institute of Health, The most commonly reported symptoms were heartburn/reflux (30.9%), abdominal pain (24.8%), bloating (20.6%), diarrhea (20.2%), and constipation (19.7%). Less common symptoms were nausea/vomiting (9.5%), dysphagia (5.8%), and bowel incontinence (4.8%).
A new survey finds "forty percent of Americans’ daily lives are disrupted by digestive troubles." That translates to 60-70 million Americans are suffering from gastrointestinal (GI) diseases that can create serious disruptions to daily life, says the American Gastroenterological Association.
A staggering number of people around the world suffer from digestive disorders, from IBS to Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and chronic constipation and diarrhea, but few have a true understanding of what’s happening inside their bodies, or....why, or what to do about it!
Besides the fact that digestive disorders are extremely uncomfortable, embarrassing, and inconvenient, in all instances, they are a warning sign that the doshas are aggravated and bigger issues may be arising from within that involve other organs and tissues.
Your colon, part of the large intestine, is responsible for processing 1.5 to 2 gallons of water a day, alongside breaking down waste left over from digestion. It also eliminates harmful toxins that your body doesn’t need to keep you healthy.
Unfortunately, many people ignore their colon — and the wisdom it has to offer — as such, they suffer unnecessarily from conditions that may be solved by taking a few proactive steps and consulting with a seasoned Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner. "It's not uncommon for clients to tell me that their bowels move once or twice a week and their doctor advises them this is normal. According to Ayurveda, it is not normal, nor is it healthy. Think about it this way--if you eat three meals a day, and elimination occurs once a week, how much waste is sitting in your digestive tract, and for how many days?
"We take the trash out every day. We don't keep trash in our home for days and days, nor should we keep waste in our waists" - Veena, Saumya Ayurveda
Regular vs. Irregular Bowel Movements
Before we dive into Ayurveda stool analysis, let’s discuss what a normal bowel movement is, compared to an irregular bowel movement.
A normal bowel movement will be soft and easy to pass and banana-shaped, easy to wipe, and leaves almost no trace of evidence in the toilet. What's more, this elimination happens in the morning, shortly after waking. When your bowel movements are normal, they won’t be very stinky, wet, dry, or painful.
In contrast, an irregular bowel movement occurs inconsistently — either too frequently or not frequently enough, and may be painful, discolored, or have a watery, soft-serve (ice cream style), overly hard, or rabbit pellet texture. Also, irregular bowel movements tend to be stinky!
How many times a day should you poop according to Ayurveda?
According to Ayurveda, you should poop one or two times each day. Ideally, your first bowel movement will occur about an hour after waking, before the sun rises and you start your day. If you poop a second time, it’s best for this happen after a meal in the afternoon or early evening.
If you don’t poop nearly this often, you’re not alone. The National Institute of Health states around 16 out of 100 adults have symptoms of constipation – and this number doubles for folks over sixty.
According to Harvard Medical School, common causes of constipation include: lack of exercise; medications; Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS); and use of laxatives.
What causes constipation according to Ayurveda?
According to the ancient system of Ayurveda, constipation is generally caused by one or more of the following: elevated Vata dosha, changes to one’s life or routine; incorrect or unsupportive food; or imbalanced doshas.
1. Elevated Vata dosha. Vata's qualities include cold and dry which can disturb the colon and interfere with healthy elimination (as well as absorption of nutrients.) One of Vata's main jobs in elimination, so when Vata is imbalanced, it'll let you know!
Learn more about the doshas, The 3 Ayurvedic Doshas and Their Impact on Your Life
2. Change in life or routine, known as dinacharya in Ayurveda. An easy way to think of this is when our schedule gets thrown off, such as during holidays, travel, job changes, seasonal changes, and life transitions.
Learn more about Ayurveda Morning and Evening Routines (dinacharya):
3. Incorrect, unsupportive food. “When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use. when diet is correct, medicine is of no need.” – Ayurvedic Proverb It's confusing as all get out. With endless information on the internet, we're overwhelmed and confused.
"It's happened more than once, that a new client opens the door at Saumya Ayurveda, bursts into tears, saying, 'I've tried every diet out there and nothing works, I feel worse!' This happens because we need to eat food that is correct for us (our Ayurveda constitution, our stage of life, and where we live and not a one-size-fits-all diet trent. When we gain thatknowledge, then our food becomes medicine." --Veena, Saumya Ayurveda
Understanding Your Personal Dosha Picture
Everyone on the planet is comprised of all three doshas. However, the degree to which each dosha is present varies from person-to-person. Your unique dosha makeup is like your energetic DNA: there are infinite combinations, but only one you.
Our doshic constitution influences everything from our body type to our temperament, and ourbowel movements! Ayurveda Stool Analysis gives us insight into our doshic composition, and helps us understand what’s going on internally when we’re imbalanced.
PRAKRUTI (Original Constitution): The doshic composition of your body and mind at the moment of your creation. This determines your innate tendencies, physical/psychological traits, and is considered your natural optimal state.
VIKRUTI (Current State): How your doshas are manifesting in the present moment. Our environment and lifestyle choices affect our physical and energetic bodies, our mood, and our psychology – which can lead to imbalances in our dosha state.
Explore More: What is Ayurveda? A Beginner's Guide and Beyond Ayurveda’s Healing Trifecta: a Framework for a Balanced Life
Ayurveda Stool Analysis: What is a Perfect Poo, Anyways?
Keep in mind, that depending on whether Vata, Pitta or Kapha is your predominant dosha, what is a "regular" bowel movement varies. Vata, Pitta and Kapha dosha each have their own qualities. More scoop on the dosha poop later in this article.
A perfect poo may have these qualities:
Complete elimination in the morning, about an hour within waking, and NOT produced after drinking coffee or other stimulants.
No mess when wiping
No bowel evidence left in the toilet bowl
Looks more or less the same regardless of what has been consumed
Ayurveda Stool Color Chart:What Your “Poo Hue” Can Tell You About Your Health
You’ve probably gone to the bathroom before and noticed an abnormal fecal coloring.
The Ayurveda stool color chart above and explanations below can help you decode what your body is trying to tell you.
Ayurveda Stool Analysis: Stool Colors and What They Mean
Any shade of brown is what you’re aiming for — this combined with the texture of your poop will indicate how healthy your digestive tract and body are.
If your poop is yellow or yellow-brown this indicates you have too much fat in your intestines due to malabsorption, an intestinal condition or disease, high Pitta, or improper nutrition.
Red poop means something you ate either had red food coloring in it, you have hemorrhoids, or perhaps bleeding in your digestive system.
Pale, White or Clay-colored
What causes pale stools? Pale-ish, clay-colored stools may be caused by a lack of bile making its way from the liver, to the gallbladder, to the intestine. Bile is what colors the stool; a pale, clay-colored stool means no bile is present.
Certain foods (such as licorice), medications, and supplements can cause black poop. However, if your poop is black for more than a few days consult a professional as this could be an indicator of bleeding in your digestive tract. Black stool may be a sign of old blood from a stomach or upper small intestinal irritation. See a doctor straight away.
If your poo comes out looking like a bright shade of green, this either means you have diarrhea (and it’s green because it’s coming out of your body too fast and has not fermented properly) or you ate a lot of greens or consumed green food dye.
Pale, Clay-Colored Stools
Palish, clay-colored stools may be caused by a lack of bile making its way from the liver, to the gallbladder to the intestine. Bile is what colors the stool. A pale, clay stool means no bile.
Greasy, Slippery Looking Stool
You know it when you see it. As with clay-colored stools, greasy stool is usually a result of low bile flow from the liver and then the holding tank of bile, the gallbladder. Remember bile is what colors the stool. It's a greenish-yellow fluid that has many functions including emulsifying fats and carrying away waste. If the fats are not broken down, the undigested fat slimes up the stool.
Blood in the Stool
Spots of blood on the toilet tissues or elsewhere, or streaks of blood observed in the stool, if persisting, is a really good reason to see your doctor. Most commonly, fresh blood in the stool is caused by hemorrhoids, and there may be other serious causes. Don't delay, call your doctor today.
Mucus in Stool
New clients report seeing something that looks like mucus in their stool. They describe it as clear or whitish and stringy and clingy, wrapped around the stool. It's possible the villi of the intestinal wall are smashed down by the weight and thickness of mucous. If mucousy stool persists, one should see their doctor.
Mucus in the stool is caused by an imbalance of the intestinal wall. This could be a medical condition, so if it persists, see your doctor. If you see mucus in the stool—which typically looks like a white or clear stringy substance that wraps around the stool—the intestinal villi are likely flattened or bogged down by mucus. Some causes may include: coffee, processed foods, stress which we feel it in our guts, and weak digestion.
Undigested Food in the Stool
New clients frequently report seeing undigested food in their bowel movement. Here's the chain of digestion. Assuming one is eating food that is correct for them, spiced correctly, a key stage in the complicated digestive process begins in the mind.
That's right. Eat when upset and digestion is negatively impacted – and we feel it! Eat with a calm, grounded mind, using diaphragmatic breathing, and you'll enjoy your food, appreciate it, and digest your meal well. Use ourtwo-minute meditation before each meal. If you don't have two minutes, one minute or even thirty seconds of this practice will ground you and prepare you for optimal digestion.
What comes next? If undigested food bits are evident during Ayurveda stool analysis, this poor state of digestion starts in the stomach. If the digestive fire (agni) is not balanced, not optimal, food will not break down properly and it's difficult for the body to absorb and assimilate nutrients.
This may show up as indentations on the perimter of the tongue. Read our article, What Your Tongue Says About Your Health (According to Ayurvedic Wisdom) as your tongue is a powerful and primary diagnostic tool in determining your health.
The most common reason for undigested food to be passed through the entire intestinal tract into the stool starts in the stomach. The stomach is responsible for the initial breakdown of food. If stomach acid production is weak, hard-to-digest foods will not be broken down. According to Ayurveda, the digestive fire needs to be balanced, not too strong and not weak.
Alternating Constipation and Diarrhea
Are you scratching your head, ready to pull out your hair and wondering what in the world is going on in there? One day loose stool, the next week it might be constipation, or you may experience both in the same week.
I frequently hear from clients that this experience is maddening, and understandably so. Striving to make connections between what they're eating and what's happening with this unpredictable elimination and not being able to make heads nor tails of it. It is a puzzling and frustrating situation, and it requires attention without delay.
Whatever poo problems you’re experiencing, an Ayurveda stool analysis can help your practitioner determine the proper course of action to get your digestive system back on track.
How to Conduct an Ayurveda Stool Analysis
As opposed to a one-size-fits-all approach, Ayurveda recommends using your unique constitution — otherwise known as your dosha picture of Vata, Pitta and Kapha — to understand what a healthy poop is for you.
Vata Dosha Poop Analysis
Vata dosha body types are governed by air, which means they are more likely to experience dry, sluggish bowel movements, constipation, and bloating.
What is a Vata-Type Stool?
A healthy Vata stool will be passed without gas, have a firm texture (but not too hard), be dark brown in color, have minimal odor, and be eliminated through your digestive system once a day, typically in the morning within 2-3 hours of waking
When the vata is imbalanced, the stool will be dry and/or hard, may look like rabbit droppings (as in small, thin pellets), occur irregularly, cause gas before and during elimination, be darker (almost black) in color, and smell foul. Vata may feel as though bowel movement is not complete.
How to Balance Vata Poo
Drink plenty of water: The number one key to a healthy stool is water. Being governed by air, Vata types are dry and especially prone to constipation. As such, make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day.
Use food as medicine: When your body has the nutrients it needs to function properly, based on your unique constitution, it will thrive! Whenever possible, eat foods as close to their natural state as possible (local, whole foods are best) and try to avoid consuming anything that is overly processed and contains chemicals, harmful additives, and preservatives.
Pitta Dosha Poo Analysis
Pitta dosha body types are governed by fire, which means they are more likely to experience an irritated or inflamed digestive tract.
What is Pitta-Type Stool?
A healthy Pitta stool will be passed twice a day (usually in the morning within an hour of waking and not following coffee, and again after lunch), be brown-yellow in color, have a firm texture, and contain a mild odor.
When the Pitta is imbalanced, the stool will be loose (ranging from soft-serve consistency to watery) and more frequent (meaning it occurs more than twice a day), often urgent and cause bloating and gas, be yellow-brown in color due to increased bile, may burn or be painful to eliminate, and contain a potent odor.
How to Balance Pitta Poo
Avoid heating foods: Chile, raw onion, garlic, and cayenne irritate the pitta type as this dosha is already fiery to begin with. To calm pitta, eat cooling foods such as fresh fruit, vegetables, rice, quinoa, and leafy greens.
Avoid alcohol and coffee consumption: Stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol aggravate Pitta digestive system, and are best avoided. Opt instead to drink Pitta cooling herbal teas and plenty of water.
Kapha Dosha Poo Analysis
Kapha dosha body types are governed by earth and water, which means they are more likely to experience a mucousy, sticky, hard to wipe poo.
What is Kapha-Type Stool?
A healthy kapha stool will be passed once a day (typically in the morning), be brown in color, odorless or possibly sweet, well-formed, and complete. When kapha is imbalanced, the stool will be sticky, pale brown, or clay-colored (signifying liver congestion), and/or have mucus in it indicating an imbalance in the intestinal wall.
How to Balance Kapha Poo
Avoid overeating: Because Kapha types tend to have a slower digestive system, overeating can easily cause them to become sluggish and backed up. Instead of overindulging, eat only when you are physically hungry and avoid in-between snacking.
Opt for light, airy foods: Rather than eating heavy foods such as red meat, fried foods, dairy, and anything that is overly oily or fatty that will create lethargy and slow digestion, opt instead for light, warm, airy foods that are appropriately spiced will stimulate digestion.
Healthy Elimination Begins in the Mind
Whatever the results of your Ayurveda stool analysis, the path back to balance begins in the mind. Use our two-step approach to retraining your nervous system from flight-fight-freeze, to rest-restore-relax, and you'll be well on your way to regular bowel movements and a rejuvenated state of being.
Flow with a Simple, Sustainable Daily Rhythm, known as Dinacharya
"When we flow with the natural energies present at different times of the day, we are in harmony, flowing with and not against. When that occurs, we balance the doshas and our energy and focus increases and our sense of calm comes effortlessly." - Veena, Saumya Ayurveda
Ayurveda Lifestyle Practices
There is a saying, "The mind is more in the body, than the body is in the mind." The Saumya 3 step meditation process shifts us from fight-flight-freeze mode, to rest-restore-relax mode. Give it a try for forty days and observe the changes. The more grounded and relaxed we are, the smoother life flows.
"The breath is the connection between the mind and body, so by training the breath, we become calm, focused, and grounded, we slow down the aging process by decreasing stress. These practices are so simple and easy to have as part of our daily life. We actually feel and look younger."
- Veena, Saumya Ayurveda
1. Learn Diaphragmatic Breathing and Change Your Life. When we re-learn to breath diaphragmatically, we move from the flight-fight-freeze mode, to rest, restore, relaxation mode from where we want and need to live.
3. Ayurveda Daily Routines:
"Choose a couple of practices from the routines that provide you with the greatest support. Perform them while applying our two minute meditation technique and your mundane tasks, just transformed into a mellifluous meditation. This is meditation applied to daily life." - Veena, Saumya Ayurveda
"Veena was able to help me regain my energy in just a few months and I’m feeling like my “young” self again! I love the food plan she designed for me, and all the supporting practices (am/pm routines, breathing techniques, herbs, and spice mixes) are so enjoyable to incorporate into my day. I highly recommend Saumya Ayurveda if you want to feel better and have more vitality.”
-Molly Rossini, Minnesota
Explore More: Ayurveda Breathwork Pranayama
After Ayurveda Stool Analysis: Tips for Healthy Elimination by Dosha
Ayurveda Tips for Vata Imbalances
1. Know what foods are correct for you.
2. Learn when and how to eat. It sounds funny, but it makes a big difference.
3. Let your meals have a rhythm, eating about the same time each day.
3. Drink tea temperature water upon rising in the morning.
Ayurveda Tips for Pitta Imbalances
1. Know what foods are correct for you.
2. Avoid getting overly hungry.
3. If needed, enjoy a small, high quality, healthy protein-based snack.
Ayurveda Tips for Kapha Imbalances
1. Know what foods are correct for you.
2. Complete your last meal by 6:00pm
3. Sip on hot water between meals, it boosts metabolism and supports healthy elimination.
What's My Tongue Got to Say About My Poo?
Your tongue is a powerful and primary diagnostic tool in ddetermining your state of health, just as a daily peek at the poo is. According to Ayurveda, when digestion is working well, it influences all aspects of one's health. When digestion is not functioning optimally--we feel it and not just in the digestive tract.
You may not think about it, but your tongue is located at the beginning of the digestive tract. Tongue diagnosis is a non-invasive diagnostic tool that can see far beyond the mouth and into the 30 feet of the digestive tract. AtSaumya Ayurveda, we provide you with a professional assessment of the health of your digestive tract, as well as overall health through Ayurvedic tongue diagnosis. (Jivha Pariksa)
Explore More: What Your Tongue Says According to Ayurvedic Wisdom
"I just completed a colonoscopy and my ulcerative proctitus was given a Mayo Clinic Score of 0, normal or inactive disease. THANK YOU! I had trouble keeping weight on and had lost 10 pounds. No matter what I ate, I felt like something was missing. My family doctor said I had colitis. My energy level was very low and I was using prescription medication daily for a skin condition. Add to this severe migraine headaches about every two weeks. Following Veena’s guidance, all of these conditions have been eliminated!
I’m very grateful to Veena for the wonderful results and the healthier quality of life we have attained together. Without reservation, I highly recommend Veena at Saumya Ayurveda.” -Chris Schirber, Yoga Teacher, Minnesota
“It is with great pleasure that I write this review! Working with Veena has remarkably changed my life – even in the places I was unaware that it demanded to be changed! Throughout the course of four months, Veena’s gentle and succinct approach allowed me to easily refine my routines into a more structured foundation that left me feeling more in graceful governance with myself – emotionally and physically.
Not only had she brought forth awareness in how I prepare/ relate to the food I eat, but she also prescribed me wonderful herbs to help calm my anxiety, detox my liver, and heal the ugly night sweats I’ve been experiencing due to hormonal imbalances. Lastly, her guided meditations are a great grounding force, and I have since continued to explore the euphoric benefits of Yoga Nidra.
Veena is a well of divine knowledge, and her humor and light will be eternally appreciated!”
--Rachel Monson, Wisconsin
Poo Analysis with Ayurveda: What Your Poop Says About Your Health
You must admit, Ayurveda stool assessment is pretty fascinating – and yet it is just one assessment tool Saumya Ayurveda uses to help you feel your best. Imagine the insights when tongue, poo, urine, sweat, hair--well, you get the picture--are all carefully considered when creating a custom Ayurveda plan for you. Learning what is a healthy poop in Ayurveda provides insights into your insides.
Poo--it's not the ending, it's the beginning to feeling your best. Good mental and physical health begins in the digestive tract. "Hidden in the walls of the digestive system, this “brain in your gut” is revolutionizing medicine's understanding of the links between digestion, mood,..." according to John Hopkins article on The Brain-Gut Connection.
Ayurveda stool analysis isn’t something you do once! Each time you go number two, take a moment to analyze your poo. This simple practice will help you uncover warning signs your body is sending you, and we can help you address them early on. Digesting, assimilating and eliminating well, is key to feeling good and being healthy mentally and physically.
We all want to be heard, understood, and cared for as whole beings, not a set of isolated symptoms. True health is more than the absence of disease, which is why Western medicine so often leaves us feeling hopeless and unseen.
Deep down, you already know what you’re searching for: a new framework for living – one that brings your entire being back into balance. With Saumya Ayurveda, you’ll receive individualized guidance to create the physically, mentally, and spiritually vibrant life you crave.
Saumya Ayurveda provides concierge, top-notch, award-winning Ayurveda care. We strive to keep it simple, so you can focus on you! Opt for virtual consultations and we'll come to you.
Our practice model is client focused, we’re not in the retail herb business. We’ll guide you where to order herbs directly online. Our top-shelf Ayurveda oils and herbalized ghees are the best in the land and we’ll ship your care package right to your doorstep.
Our effective multi-appointment consultation packages provide you with experienced Ayurveda care, enthusiastic guidance, and inspiring support.
Veena is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and meditation teacher, and monk.
She is President Emeritus and teaching faculty of the Meditation Center.
Veena fell in love with the traditional medicine used in her family’s home, learning herbal remedies at her grandmother's knee.
These childhood experiences were the seeds of a lifelong passion. For over 30 years, Veena has dedicated her life to the world’s oldest healing system: Ayurveda.
She draws on this ancient wisdom to help others find their compass to a healthy life – and support those left wanting by Western medicine.
An experienced Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, Veena’s deep, intuitive knowledge of Ayurveda empowers her clients to reclaim their fullest, most vibrant lives –mentally, physically, and spiritually. Veena individualizes treatment plans to each person, rather than offering a one-size-fits-all approach, so it fits your life and becomes woven in your lifestyle, naturally.