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Yoga Cleansing - II

By Ankita Goel

Shatkarmas- the yoga cleansing processes of the body are six in number. According to Gherand Samhita , each of the practices has several further varieties.

The six practices are:

1. DHAUTI- It is an important yogic system of auto cleaning. It has 4 types

Antar ( internal )Dhauti -This further divided into -

  • Vatsara Dhauti (Expelling air through anus)
  • Varisara Dhauti (Evacuating a large quantity of water through the bowels)
  • Vahnisara Dhauti (rapid expanse/contraction of the abdomen
  • Bahiskrita Dhauti (washing the rectum in the hands)

Hrida(cardiac) Dhauti - It has 3 kinds of practices -

  • Danda Dhauti (Inserting soft banana stem in the stomach)
  • Vastra Dhauti (Swallowing a long thin strip of cloth)
  • Vaman Dhauti (Regurgirating the contents of the stomach
2. BASTI- This yoga practice of colon cleansing has 2 parts
  • Jala (water) Basti (Water is sucked in the large intestine through the anus and expelled)
  • Sthal (Dry) basti (Air is sucked in this case)
3. NETI - this yogic nasal irrigation technique is of 4 types
  • Jala (water) Neti (passing warm saline water through the nose)
  • Sutra (thread) Neti (passing a soft thread through the nose)
  • Ghrita (ghee) Neti (passing clarified butter through the nose)
  • Dugdha (milk) Neti (passing of milk through the nose

TRATAK- A yoga exercise for the eyes, it involves steady and continuous gazing at a point of concentration. It is further subdivided into:

  • Antar (internal) Trataka, and
  • Bahir (external ) Tratak

NAULI - a yoga abdominal cleansing technique which serves to massage the internal organs of the body. In this the abdominal muscles are isolated and churned. It has 3 parts

  • Dakshin Nauli (when muscles are isolated to the right)
  • Vama Nauli (left)
  • Madhyama Nauli (middle)

KAPALBHATI - this mind detoxification technique of yoga has 3 components Vatkrama Kapalbhati (similar to bhastrika pranayama)

  • Vyutkrama Kapalbhati (sucking water in through the nose and expelling it through the mouth)
  • Sheetkrama Kapalbhati

These yoga cleansing practices should be learnt under the guidance of an experienced master. He shall be able to guide you which technique is best suited to your body type. Also out of the above techniques mentioned some of them are the advanced ones, and should be done after perfecting the easier and basic ones.

The shatkarmas if practiced unnecessarily, will not be so effective when genuinely required. Just as one would not have tonsils or appendix removed if there were doing perfectly, similarly shatkarmas have to be practiced by those who require it.

No wonder these practices were treated with great esteem and respect by the yogis who perfected them and knew about their power.

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