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Prashant Ji

Acharya Prashant Jakhmola

Yogi Prashant was born into a Brahmin family in Rishikesh, India. A science graduate, he began his path of yoga with a visit to Shivananda Ashram where he learnt from one of the oldest yogis, 80 years old yoga guru, learning the basics of traditional yoga and philosophy, while continuing his Asana practice with Yogi Rudra Ji, a popular Iyengar Yoga Teacher in Rishikesh. He then explored Iyengar Yoga with Usha Devi Ji.The turning point of his life is, visit to Bihar School Of Yoga where he got pu


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Blog Posted on:24/03/2023
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Shat Kriyas: The Complete Guide to Yogic Cleansing

Shat Kriyas: The Complete Guide to Yogic Cleansing

We, as humans, are remarkable creatures and our bodies are just as remarkable with the degree of flexibility it has and the things, the amounts of stress, poor eating habits it can sustain without breaking away. However, there comes a time when all the crap begins to hamper our well-being, pollutes our entire system and leads to damaging our spiritual and emotional health. In the yogic system, there are methods to keep the body and mind pure, happy by getting rid of emotional and physical toxins that accumulate in our bodies. These methods are known as the ShatKriyas. 

The Shat Kriyas or Shat Karmas comprise six yogic cleansing practices designed to refresh and restart the body’s internal system by clearing out accumulated toxins and making way for positive thoughts to flow. 

Go to any yoga school in India, you will be introduced to these Shat Kriyas as an important subject of Yogic learning. 

Here is a brief guide to get you started with Shat Kriyas. Although, owing to the technicality of these, we recommend studying and practicing these under the guidance of yogic experts at a reputed yoga school in India . Here, we would help you understand the layers of these practices, their relevance and techniques. 

What are Yogic Cleansing Practices or Shatkriyas?

The Shat Kriyas or Shatkarmas are mentioned in Hatha Yoga as the six cleansing techniques to establish an equilibrium between the three doshas of the body to reset the entire being for focused and intensive yoga practices. The term ‘Shat’ means ‘Six’ and ‘Karma or Kriya’ means ‘work’. As the term suggests, there are 6 basic yogic cleansing techniques targeted to purify specific parts of the body, as mentioned in the sacred book of yoga, The Hatha Yoga Pradipika. 

  1. Neti Kriya (The Nasal Cleansing Work)

  2. Kapalbathi Kriya (The Sinus Cleansing Work)
  3. Nauli Kriya  (Abdominal Massaging Work)
  4. Dhauti Kriya (The Internal Cleansing Work)
  5. Basti Kriya (The Yogic Enema)
  6. Trataka – (The Concentrated Gazing for Eye Purification)

The Benefits of Kriyas

Like you perform regular cleaning and sometimes deep cleaning of your house to maintain it and much like you perform regular service on your vehicles and other appliances, performing Shat Kriyas is like servicing your body to maintain its functionality without any breakage or gaps. Practicing yogic cleansing flushes out toxins from the internal body, cleanses major organs and restores the body’s and the mind’s vitality. 

The Shatkarmas are also helpful in strengthening the immune response and the body’s metabolic rate. It also assists in weight loss and reduces stress from the body while promoting self-awareness. 

How to Perform Shat Kriyas at Home?

As a yogi or human being, if you believe in clean living, then the first step is this - clear out the accumulated waste from your body and mind first. 

The Neti Kriya – Nasal Cleansing Technique

Take warm water in a bowl (the Neti pot) and add some natural salt to it. Lean forward and tilt the head in the opposite direction. Put the neti pot’s snot in one nostril and gently releasing the water from the other. This practice clears out any clogged nasal passage and mucus from the sinuses as well to facilitate complete flow of prana (the breath) through the body. It is generally concluded in headstand pose. 

The Kapalbathi Kriya – Skull Shining & Sinus Cleansing Technique

This kriya is another step to completely clear out any blocked sinuses, cleanse the lungs and facilitate fresh flow of oxygen through the body. The yogi can perform Kapalbhati in either standing or sitting position. Tilt your head downward and exhale forcefully three times till all the air of your lungs is out. Make sure to let the air out through your nostrils. Release and repeat till you do not feel any moisture build-up in your nasal cavity. 

The Nauli Kriya – Abdominal Massaging Technique

As we move forward to the Nauli Kriya which is an advanced yogic cleansing practice, we stimulate the abdominal muscles to clear out accumulated waste inside it. Stand and bend your knees. Take a deep breath and exhale forcefully through the nostril. When you feel that your lungs are out of air, pull your stomach inwards as much and as hard as you can. Count to five and release. 

The Dhauti Kriya – Internal Cleansing Technique

An excellent technique to clear out the stomach and upgrade the respiratory system’s health, in this Kriya, large quantities of water is ingested to push the body to naturally empty itself. For this a dhauti (thin cotton cloth) is placed at one end of the tongue. While drinking water, this thread is guided towards the stomach and then, it is gently removed back. This cotton absorbs any leftover toxins from the body to promote a healthy gut. 

It should be performed under the supervision of an expert only. 

The Basti Kriya – Yogic Enema

This work is done for cleaning the colon. This self-induced yogic enema is ideal to perform on a body which has consumed junk food or processed food. Using an enema kit, you pull the water inside through the anus

The Trataka Kriya – Concentrated Gazing Technique

An excellent Kriya to enhance eye health. To start with, splash some fresh water into your eyes up to 7 times. Wipe your face and eyes with a towel. Now take an object such as a candle, and start focussing on it till your eyes produce tears. 

Please note that these kriyas should be performed under the guidance of an expert only to avoid any risk and to ensure the process goes well. 

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