Shatkarma is a set of six cleansing practices that are used in traditional Hatha Yoga to purify the body and mind. The word “shatkarma” is derived from the Sanskrit words “shat” meaning “six” and “karma” meaning “action.”
The six practices of shatkarma are:
Neti: This involves the use of a special pot called a neti pot to clean the nasal passages. Warm saline water is poured through one nostril and allowed to flow out through the other nostril, clearing out any mucus, dirt or other impurities in the nasal passages.
Dhauti: This involves cleansing the digestive tract by drinking warm saline water and then inducing vomiting. This practice is also known as “vaman dhauti.”
Nauli: This involves rotating the abdominal muscles in a circular motion to massage and stimulate the internal organs, particularly the digestive system. This practice is also known as “churning.”
Basti: This involves the use of a special enema pot to cleanse the colon using warm water or herbal decoctions. This practice is also known as “shankha prakshalana.”
Kapalabhati: This is a breathing practice that involves forceful exhalations through the nose, followed by passive inhalations. This practice is also known as “skull shining” and is believed to stimulate the digestive system and purify the lungs.
Trataka: This involves gazing steadily at a candle flame or other object to improve concentration and focus, and to purify the eyes and mind.
The practice of shatkarma is believed to have several benefits for the body and mind, including:
Cleansing the body of toxins and impurities
Improving digestion and elimination
Promoting overall health and well-being
Increasing mental clarity and focus
Enhancing spiritual awareness and awakening
Shatkarma should be practiced under the guidance of a qualified teacher and should be avoided by individuals with medical conditions or who are pregnant. It is important to practice shatkarma with caution and to avoid overexertion or strain.