Shatkarma is a Sanskrit word that means “six actions” or “six processes.” These six processes are a set of traditional purification practices in Hatha Yoga that are designed to purify and cleanse the body and mind, and to prepare the practitioner for more advanced practices such as pranayama and meditation. The six shatkarma practices are:
- Neti: This involves the cleansing of the nasal passages using a neti pot or similar device, with warm saline water.
- Dhauti: This involves the cleansing of the digestive tract using various techniques such as drinking salt water or swallowing a long piece of cloth.
- Nauli: This involves the purification of the digestive organs through the practice of abdominal churning or rolling.
- Basti: This involves the cleansing of the colon using an enema with warm saline water.
- Kapalbhati: This involves the practice of forceful exhales through the nose, which is said to cleanse the respiratory system and the mind.
- Trataka: This involves the practice of gazing steadily at a single point or object, which is said to improve concentration and clear the mind.
Shatkarma practices are considered to be powerful tools for purifying the body and mind, and are traditionally practiced under the guidance of a qualified teacher. They are believed to help balance the three doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha) in Ayurvedic medicine, and to promote overall health and well-being.