Shatkarma (Sanskrit, also known as Shatkriya, refers to the Yogic practices involving purification of the body.
Shatkarm' is a compound word consisting of two components: shat meaning 'six' and karma meaning 'art' or 'process'. The word kriya or karma is used in Hatha Yoga in a special technical sense regarding the techniques of cleaning. These practices, outlined by Yogi Swatmarama in the Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā, are:
Dhauti, Basti, Neti, Trataka, Nauli and Kapalbhati; these are known as Shatkarma or the six cleansing processes.
Hatha Yoga is famous for these six cleansing techniques. Each has a variety of practices, although only six in number.
First karma is Dhauti is divided into three parts:
Second karma is Basti is divided into two parts:
Third karma is Neti has four practices:
The fourth karma is Trataka, which is steady and continuous gazing at a point of concentration. It has two practices:-
The fifth karma is Nauli, in which you isolate and churn the abdominal muscles. It has three practices:-
The last karma is Kapalbhati, which has three practices:-
These six fundamental cleansing techniques are the most important aspects of the original Hatha Yoga.
After learning these techniques your intestinal cleaning will starts. For that you are requested to follow the diet instructions. During the intestinal cleaning we will provide diet to you.
This practice of passing a length of thread through the nose is called SUTRA NETI. Sutra means “thread”. There is another form of neti known as Jala neti and it is done with water.
To practice sutra neti a specially prepared thread has to be used. It should be made of cotton, not synthetic fibre, tightly wound together and wiped with melted beeswax. The width should be about 4 mm and length 35 cm. However, it is more convenient to use a thin rubber catheter lubricated with ghee so that it slides easily through the nasal passage. It is also a good idea to practice jala neti before sutra neti to make sure the nostrils are clear.
Technique 1: Sutra Neti (Nasal cleansing with thread)
A Squat on the heels, tilt the head slightly back and insert the thread or catheter straight into the left nostril. The thread should not be forced through the nose but gently pushed so that it slowly passes down into the throat. When it reaches the back of the throat, put the first two fingers into the mouth and pull the thread out through the mouth leaving a few inches of thread hanging out of the nose. Slowly and gently pull the thread backwards and forwards thirty to fifty times. Take it out slowly and perform in the same way through the opposite nostril.
Pranayama should be practiced after completing this practice.
According to the Hatharatnavali (1:38), once the thread has been pulled out of the mouth the two ends should be joined and the thread rotated through the nasal passage and mouth. However, it is very difficult to join the two ends securely while still being able to pass it through the nose comfortably. Therefore, it is probably quite sufficient to pull the thread forward and backwards.
For jala neti you require a special neti lota or “pot” which has a nozzle designed specifically so that it will fit into the nostril. The lota should be filled with warm saline water. The salt should be just enough to taste.
Technique 2: Jala Neti (Nasal cleansing with water)
Stand squarely, legs apart, body weight evenly distributed between the two feet and lean forward. Tilt the head to the right side and place the lota’s nozzle in the left nostril. Open the mouth slightly and breathe through the mouth. Keep the whole body relaxed and let the water pass out through the right nostril.
When you have used half of the water, remove the lota, and remain bending forward, centre the head and let the water run out of the nose. Close the right nostril with the fingers and blow gently through the left nostril so that all the remaining water comes out. Practice in the same way passing the water through the right nostril.
Throughout the whole practice keep breathing through the mouth and do not attempt to breathe through the nose. When blowing the nose, do not blow very hard, otherwise any remaining water may be pushed into the ears. It is important to remove all the water after the practice so irritation of the sinuses and mucous membrane does not occur. Although you can practice neti in a squatting posture, it is best to stand.
If you experience pain in the nose during the practice, the quantity of salt is incorrect. Too little salt will create pain and too much salt will cause a burning sensation.
Instead of water you can use warm milk to practice dugdha neti, or warm ghee to practice ghrita neti, (if oil is used instead of ghee, it must be unconcentrated and with no added chemicals.) These two practices are classified as variations of jala neti.
Neti can be practiced every day if you are suffering from sinusitis, colds, insensitivity to smell, nosebleed, headache, eyestrain or eye infections, otherwise it is best to practice only once or twice a week. People suffering from chronic haemorrhage should not attempt neti unless under expert guidance.
It is advisable to practice bhastrika or kapalabhati Pranayama after jala neti. This will dry the nose and generate heat in the nostrils.
Those of us taking medications of any kind; eating too much cooked food, processed/ refined food, meat, dairy, and poultry causes your body to become congested with mucus. This in turn weakens the function of your digestive system and elimination organs such as the colon, liver and kidneys. Changing your diet to include foods, which help cleanse your body and using herbal preparations to speed up the process, create dramatic improvement in your state of health very quickly.
Due to self poisoning by poor eating, it has become increasingly clear that almost every person in this country over six years old is developing serious problems in the intestinal tract, which in later years may contribute to the development of various acute, chronic and degenerative diseases. Such diseases include cancer, heart trouble and diabetes; as well as lack of energy, premature aging, poor eyesight, memory loss, a poor complexion, constipation and wrinkles. It is estimated that over 98% of disease can be contributed directly or indirectly to a compromised digestive tract. As Dr. Bernard Jensen says, "It is the bowel that invariably has to be cared for first before any effective healing can take place."
When the intestines have too much waste matter, parasites, fungus and harmful bacteria, there results a serious interference with the digestive process. Even if a person's intestinal tract were polluted with just a mild amount of this undesirable filth, he or she could have sluggish peristaltic action, which causes constipation. How does the body adjust to cooked food, processed food and refined food - dead foods? Victoria Boutenko in her book, "12 Steps to Raw Food", explains it this way: "The body creates mucus and uses this mucus as a filter. All the surfaces of the digestive tract that are designed to absorb the nutrients from food become covered with mucus film that protects blood from toxins. The mucus film begins at the tongue and continues all the way through the intestine. Many people can see this mucus on their tongue. People who have a thick mucus coating on their intestines usually have white tongues as if they just ate sour cream. The body creates a little mucus, to begin with, to filter out the toxins from the dead food. The more dead food we consume, the more mucus the body produces as a protection. The more harmful the food substances are to the body, the more this mucous film builds up. As the years go by it becomes thicker and harder. Portions of this thick mucus get pushed into pockets called diverticuli as we cram through more and more dead food into the digestive tract in an effort to squeeze some nutritional value out of it.
You may ask: What is the mucus made of? The human body, brilliant as always, creates the mucus from the dead food itself! This mucus covers our entire digestive tract, to prevent us from absorbing the toxins in dead food that would make the body too sick. Because of the mucoid plaque, our nutrient assimilation becomes low. The mucoid plaque protects us from absorbing toxins, but at the same time we cannot absorb nutrients. The more mucus we have, the fewer nutrients we can receive. After a number of years of eating too much dead food, we develop severe nutritional deficiencies, become less energetic and finally sick with diseases.”
When we go on raw-live food and stay with it, this mucoid plaque can be dissolved. With the aid of herbal preparations and exercise, the body will eliminate it faster. The longer we eat raw-live food, the more plaque gets dissolved.
This is the ideal environment for worms and parasites. There are over 300 varieties that can live in the human body. Worldwide, worms outrank cancer as our deadliest enemy. It has been estimated that 150 million people in America have intestinal parasite infestation. Medical textbooks have revealed that over 55 million American children have worms. Parasite infestation is growing rapidly, due to a lack of raw fruits and vegetables in the diet and an increased consumption of cooked and acid-forming foods, i.e., processed
foods of all kinds, refined sugars, meat, dairy, poultry and coffee. Once in the intestinal tract, parasites have easy access to other parts of the body where they bring on various symptoms and diseases.
People suffer from malnutrition and autointoxication (self-poisoning), which result in disease, parasites and filth, all because of a gradual buildup of many pockets of waste that has not been eliminated. The healthy colon weighs about four pounds, an unhealthy one can weigh more than twice as much. Few people realize that the same unhealthy substances found in the colon can also abound in the stomach, duodenum and small intestine.
Any build-up of old pockets of waste matter (diverticulitis) produces fermentation, putrefaction and stagnant packets of poisons and harmful bacteria (a condition of autointoxication or self-poisoning). These toxins constantly seep into the bloodstream and lymph. They eventually settle into the weakest areas of the body, then various symptoms develop and are given names according to those areas and the degree of cell degeneration. Unfortunately the symptoms found elsewhere in the body resulting from the toxic overload in the bowel, are generally treated rather than the cause in the bowel. Even if one succeeds in strengthening the weak area or suppressing the symptom, the toxic flow from the bowel will simply find another weak area to break through. As Dr. Jensen puts it, "Every tissue is fed by the blood, which is supplied by the bowel. When the bowel is dirty, the blood is dirty and so on to the organs and tissues."
It is crucial to realize the importance of removing unhealthy bacteria, mold and fungus from the intestinal tract and re-establishing the beneficial bacteria. This flora is essential to a strong immune system, assimilation of vitamins, proteins, fats, carbohydrates and the manufacturing of Vitamin B-12, K and amino acids. It helps reduce cholesterol in the blood, control the pH in the intestines and detoxify the poisonous materials in our diets, while producing cancer-suppressing compounds that strengthen the immune system, increase calcium assimilation and help retard Candida, excess gas and bad breath. When unhealthy bacteria overrun the healthy bacteria, outside pathogens penetrate the immune barriers and clog the blood and lymph with further toxic substance. Proper implantation of healthy bacteria begins with cleansing and removing the harmful bacteria/fungus from the digestive system. A Complete Colon Cleanse/Nutritional Program can prepare the intestinal environment for beneficial bacteria. Water, juice-fasts or colonics by themselves are unable to remove all these substances. There are various preparations that can remove easily accessible build-ups from the colon alone, but for best results it is necessary to cleanse and restore the strong function of the stomach and entire digestive tract. This can only be accomplished by restoring the beneficial flora balance, ridding the system of accumulated waste pockets and introducing highly nutritious raw-live food sources to replace the over abundance of processed/refined foods, meat, dairy, poultry and excessively cooked foods. This is a crucial change for those who are determined to have better health and sustain it for the rest of their life.