Shatkarma: The Shatkarmas are the six purification techniques mentioned in Hatha Yoga Pradeepika. It removes toxins; improves concentration, and the flow of prana into the organs. Shatkarma makes the body clean, strong, and free of diseases.
Shatkarma – The Six Purification Methods in Hatha Yoga-
1- Dhauti: Vaman Dhauti or Kunjal Kriya – Cleaning the Stomach
The most common among the Dhauti practices called Vaman Dhauti or Kunjal Kriya, which cleanses the stomach and the upper digestive tract.
Types of Dhauti: 1- Vaman Dhauti, 2- danda dhauti and 3- Bastra dhauti
How to Perform Vaman Dhauti / Kunjal Kriya?
Prepare 1 to 1 ½ liters of warm salty water. Water should be just lukewarm and not hot. Drink the entire saline water in a squatting position, preferably in one sitting. Next, bend over a washbasin or a sink. Insert two fingers into your throat; tickle the root of the tongue with your fingers. This will cause a vomiting reflex and water is spawn out in spurts. Continue the process till all the water was consumed is taken out.
Benefits of Vaman Dhauti / Kunjal Kriya
1- This practice cleanses the digestive tract of any undigested food particles lingering in the stomach and esophagus. This undigested food, which is commonly caused by indigestion, can eventually enter the body as toxins. Kunjal kriya prevents the formation of these toxins.
2- Cleaning the stomach also removes gas and acidity.
3- It removes extra mucus from the food pipe or esophagus.
4- It helps to relieve asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory problems, thereby alleviating sore throat and coughs.
Those with specific medical conditions like asthma, stomach ulcers, etc should seek the help from qualified yoga instructors before attempting it.
2- Basti – The Yogic Enema Technique
It is aimed at cleansing the lower intestines and the colon.
How to do Basti? Sit in a tub filled with water. The water should reach up to the navel. Ideally this is done in a river with a gentle flow of water. Completely exhale and perform uddyan bandha by sucking in the stomach. This vacuum allows the water to shoot up through the anus and into the rectum and colon. After a few rounds, discharge the excess water.
The traditional method of Basti has given way to simpler methods of enema in modern times.
Benefits of Basti
1- Removes impurities and cleanses the colon, thus detoxifying the large intestine.
2- Relieves gas formation in the large intestine.