Shatkarma Yoga Kriyas: Cleansing Mind and Body

Ancient yogis were the first to realize the great importance of internal purification of mind and body for a healthy living. This is because some internal organs that come in regular contact with external matters can become impure. For example, trachea or the wind pipe carrying oxygen to our lungs can become impure since it is in direct contact with external air. Through ‘Shatkarma Yoga’ or cleansing process, one can clean these vital organs and remain healthy.

Meaning of Shatkarma:
Shat means six and Karma means process or art. So, Shatkarma kriya means the six techniques of cleansing our mind and body.

Techniques of Shatkarma Yoga(Cleansing Process):

The 6 techniques of Shatkarma Yoga are as follows:

  • Jalneti: This technique can clean our entire nasal passage. Water is taken into one nostril which then comes out automatically through other nostril. There is another alternative of Jalneti, which is known as ‘Sutra-neti’. In ‘Sutra-neti’, a fine thread is entered in one nostril and pulled out through throat out of the mouth.
  • Kapalbhati: Kapalbhati (also an important pranayama) can cleanse our lungs and brain. This technique involves forceful inhalation and exhalation repeatedly.
  • Vamana Dhauti: This technique can cleanse our digestive system. Vamana Dhauti is the most difficult kriya (technique) in which a fine piece of muslin cloth is swallowed and regurgitated. Experts suggest one should not practice this technique unless one has serious ailments like cancer.
  • Trataka: Trataka can cleanse and strengthen our eyes. One can practice by focusing at a definite point or on a small object without blinking until eyes become watery.
  • Basti: Basti can tone and cleanse our large intestine. Through anus, water is taken into the lower intestine and is removed using movements of diaphragm and abdomen.
  • Nauli: Experts advice not to practice Nauli kriya” unless one is comfortable with ‘Ujjayi breath’ or ‘Abdominal breath’. Nauli kriya can cleanse our naval and can clear the pathway for the movement of our spiritual energy (prana).

Caution: It is advisable to practice these shatkarma yoga kriyas or techniques only under an expert guidance. Not only some people can find some kriyas revolting, it can also hurt if not done or practiced correctly.

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