Shat Karma Kriya, Neti

How to use a Neti Pot

Shatkarma kriyas are the six cleansing techniques as outlined in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and should be practiced before pranayama. “Shat” meaning six and “karma” meaning action. These kriyas create space in the human temple for living spirit — they detoxify the body, the blood stream, the nervous system, brain, nadis, mind, thought patterns, and negative tendencies. Kriyas open up and clear out accumulated toxins from the body and alleviate the past resistances to clear thinking and lead one toward an enlightened, body, mind and spirit.

  1. Neti (nasal cleansing)
  2. Dhauti  (Intestinal wash)
  3. Vasti (enema)
  4. Trataka (candle gazing)
  5. Nauli (intestinal wash)
  6. Kapalabhati (breath for “skull shining”)

 1. Neti: Nasal Cleansing

  1. Neti  Jala (water)
  2. Neti (passing warm saline water through the nose)
  3. Sutra (thread) Neti (passing a soft thread through the nose)
  4. Ghrita (ghee) Neti (passing clarified butter through the nose)
  5. Dugdha (milk) Neti (passing of milk through the nose

2. Dhauti: Intestinal Wash 

Antar (internal) Dhauti

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

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

  1. Danda Dhauti (Inserting soft banana stem in the stomach)
  2. Vastra Dhauti (Swallowing a long thin strip of cloth)
  3. Vaman Dhauti (Regurgirating the contents of the stomach

3. Vasti: Intended to serve the purpose of ‘enema’ to pass out the accumulation of feces from the intestinal canal. There are two varieties

  1. Stali Vasti: Sit on the ground and catch hold of your toes with fingers. Do not bend the knees. This is exactly like the Paschimottanasana, but here you need not bring your head to the knees. Assuming this posture, churn the abdominal muscles and dominal muscles and expel the water. It cures uriter muscles. This is Sthala Basti.
  1. Jala Basti: This is more effective than Sthala Basti. Take a small bamboo tube, five inches long. Lubricate one end of it with vaseline, oil or soap. Sit in a tub of water or in a tank in knee-level of water in Utkatasana. Insert the bamboo tube about 2 or 3 inches into the anus. Contract the anus. Draw the water into the intestines slowly. Shake the abdominal muscles and expel the water. It cures urinary troubles, dropsy, constipation, etc. You should not do this everyday and make it a habit. This is only for occasional use. Do this in the morning hours before taking meals. If you do not know how to draw in the water through the tube, then you can use the ordinary syringe that is available in the market. By the use of the bamboo, you will know the method of drawing water through the anus. But in the enema syringe water is being pushed in by the help of air. That is only the difference but the result is the same in both cases. By using the bamboo tube you can have mastery over the intestinal muscles by drawing in and pushing out the water at your command.

4. Trataka:  Yoga exercise for the eyes, it involves steady and continuous gazing at a point of concentration. Trataka is similar to dristhi , but with the exception that our intent here is to purify the physical eyes while not blinking. Hatha yoga asana practice also provides other exercises for the eyes such as the eye circle movements which also increase circulation to and purify the eyes

  1. Antar (internal) Trataka, antaranga trataka (internal) where the gaze is at the third eye (inward and upward)
  1. Bahir (external ) Tratak where one fixes their gaze on an external object; and or the inner celestial spaces such as chidakash or hridayakash .

Benefits of this practice:

Trataka cures several eye diseases. Eyesight improves and it reduces lethargy. It increases the power of concentration.It improves the optic function, both external and internal, such as poor eyesight and visualization abilities. Trataka stimulates the activation of the ajna chakra . Trataka helps focus and calm the nervous system and mind. It aids in concentration and will power, thus expediting dharana siddhi (the entering into the more subtle awareness of antaranga yoga). Trataka not only cleanses the eyes but rather removes the coverings of the third eye (gnosis).

5. Nauli: 3 Types 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 part

  1. Dakshin Nauli (when muscles are isolated to the right)
  2. Vama Nauli (left)
  3. Madhyama Nauli (middle)

Benefits of Nauli: better digestion, improved metabolism, reduced stress, easier meditation and a clearer mind.

6. Kapalabhati: The process of kapalbhati is related to the breathing process, The constant pushings exercise the muscles which are used for breathing, which increase their efficiency. Also, a certain pressure of air is created in the process which helps in removing impurities in the breathing tube from the alveoli. Important in the process is the particular movement of the stomach muscles. The process of Kapalbhati helps the awakening of kundalini.


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