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Shat-Karmas (The Six Purificatory Processes)

Those who are of a flabby and phlegmatic constitution only, should practise at first these six Kriyas to prepare themselves for the practice of Pranayama and their success comes in easily. These six Kriyas are:

  1. Kapalabhati
  2. Neti
  3. Trataka
  4. Dhauti
  5. Nauli
  6. Basti

Kapalabhati (frontal brain cleansing breath)


Practice rapid breathing with active and forceful exhalation and passive inhalation. During each exhalation, blast out the air by vigorous flapping movements of the abdomen in quick succession. Inhale passively by relaxing the abdominal muscles at the end of each exhalation. Repeat the exhalation as quickly as possible at the rate of 60 strokes per minute. At the end of one minute, stop the practice. Now observe an automatic suspension of breath. In fact, there will be no urge for breathing for a few seconds. Simultaneously the mind may experience a deep state of silence. Enjoy this state of deep rest and freshness. Wait until the breathing comes back to normal.


It helps to clear nasal passages. Removes cold, hypersensitivity, headache, sinusitis, bronchitis and stimulates olfactory nerves.

Jala Neti (Cleaning the nasal passage)


Add about half a teaspoon of salt to a neti pot full of sterile lukewarm water. Stand with the legs apart. Hold the neti pot in your right hand. Insert the nozzle of the Neti pot into the right nostril. Keep the mouth open and breathe freely through the mouth. Tilt the head first slightly backwards, then forwards and sidewards to the left so that the water from the pot enters the right nostril and comes out through the left by gravity. Allow the flow till the pot is empty. Repeat the same on the left side. To clear the nasal passages of the remaining water, blow out the water by active exhalation through alternate nostrils as in Kapalabhati.


Brain cells are invigorated. It brings brightness to the face with regular practice. It balances and strengthens the nervous system. It removes the drowsiness from the body. It provides a nice massage to all the abdominal organs. People with digestive problems are highly benefited. It cleanses the lungs and also the entire respiratory tract. It is good for asthmatics and for other respiratory disorders.

Sutra Neti


Insert the blunt end of a thin soft rubber catheter horizontally into the right nostril. Gently push it along the floor of the nose until the tip is felt in the back of the throat. Insert the right index and the middle finger through the mouth arid catch the tip of the catheter at the back of the throat. Pull it out through the mouth and gently massage the nasal passage by catching the two ends of the tube. Remove the catheter through the nose. Repeat on the left side.


Clear the nose and pharynx. Tremendous will power increases in process of catheter insertion. Desensitizes to dust pollution etc. in nasal allergy patients.

Trataka (Gazing)

Gaze steadily without winking with a concentrated mind at any small object, until tears begin to flow. By this practice all diseases of the eye are removed. Unsteadiness of the mind vanishes. Sambhavi Siddhi is obtained. Will-power is developed. Clairvoyance is induced.

Vaman Dhauti


Drink about one and a half liters of lukewarm saline water (about 1% saline) as quickly as you can until you feel like vomiting it out. Churn the stomach by twisting exercises. Stand with feet apart at shoulder width and bend the trunk forward forming an angle of about 80 degrees to the body. Now with the help of the middle three fingers of the right hand, tickle the back of the throat to vomit out (vaman) all the water. Repeat the process of tickling the throat until no more water comes out which may mean that all water has been vomited . With continued practice one can stimulate the vomiting sensation and vomit out the water without using the fingers at the throat. Relax completely in DRT for about 15 to 20 minutes. Have a bland breakfast after about half an hour.

Vastra Dhouti


Catch one end of the cloth with both hands and start swallowing slowly with deep awareness and ease. Drink sips of water along with the cloth if it does not move on smoothly. Make sure that about 20 – 25cms of the cloth is left outside towards the end. After completing, wait for a few seconds, churn the abdomen by movement or agnisara twisting. Lean forward and start pulling out the cloth slowly with ease and relaxation. If the cloth is not coming out easily, wait, take a deep breath and relax, drink a few sips of water and then continue.


This is abdominal churning with the help of rectus muscle of the abdomen. Bend the head down. Isolate the rectus muscle and turn it from right to left and from left to right. This removes constipation, increases the digestive fire and destroys all intestinal disorders.


This can be practised with or without a bamboo tube. But it is better to have a bamboo-tube. Sit in a tub of water covering your navel. Assume the posture Utkatasana by resting your body on the forepart of your feet, the heels pressing against the posteriors. Take a small bamboo-tube 6 fingers long and insert 4 fingers of its length into the anus after lubricating the tube with vaseline or soap or castor oil. Then contract the anus. Draw the water into the bowels slowly. Shake well the water within the bowels and then expel the water outside. It is known as Jala-Basti. It cures Pleeha, urinary disorders, Gulma, myalga, dropsy, disorders of digestion, diseases of the spleen andbowels, diseases arising from the excess of wind, bile and phlegm. This Kriya should be done in the morning when the stomach is empty. Drink a cup of milk or take your meals when the Kriya is over. This Kriya can be practised while standing in a river. There is another way of doing Basti without the help of water. It is called Sthula-Basti. Sit in Paschimottanasana on the ground and churn the abdominal and intestinal portions slowly with a downward motion. Contract the sphincter muscles. This removes constipation and all the abdominal disorders.