Yogic cleansing processes (Shat Kriyas)
Shat Kriyas or Yogic cleansing processes are an integral part of yoga as they help eliminate accumulated toxins from the system. The body functions like a machine and like a machine it has to be continuously cleaned and maintained. It is this cleansing of toxins like mucus, gas, acid, sweat, urine and stool that improves its functioning. Kriyas also help prepare the body and condition it for the proper practice of yogasana and pranayama.
The six cleansing processes are Neti, Kapal Bhati, Dhauti, Basti(Enema), Nauli and Trataka. These kriyas clean the eyes, respiratory system, food pipe and tone up abdominal viscera and the intestines. They also build up resistance to diseases, sharpen the mind and wash the colon. Apart from cleansing the system, as a whole, the kriyas also provide a massaging effect on the areas applied.
- Trataka for eye sight
- Neti for upper nasal tract (from throat to nostrils)
- Kapalabhati for lower respiratory tract (from nostrils to lungs)
- Dhauti for digestive tract up to stomach.
- Nauli for abdominal muscles and internal organs. (Agnisara is the preparatory phase for Nauli)
- Basti for lower digestive tract especially rectum.
- Shankha Prakshalana is for the entire GIT.
The objectives of the Kriyas are to:
- Cleanse the inner tracts viz. respiratory tract and digestive tract.
- Develop an inner awareness.
- Desensitize the possible hypersensitive reactions in the pathways (as in nasal allergy).
- Build the stamina and the forbearance capacity.