Updated: Jan 11
Shatkarma are the 6 yogic techniques of purification.
Shata in Sanskrit means six and Karma means action/technique/process. Here Shatkarma means 6 yogic techniques for the purification.
Through the shatkarma, a practitioner can easily purify from the gross body to the subtle bodies and also harmonize ida and pingala, the two main flows of prana. Sharkarma also balances the 3 disorders of the body: vata (wind), pitta (bile), and kapha (mucus). According to Ayurveda and hatha yoga, any imbalance in these three disorders are the cause of all the diseases.
The shatkarmas are also utilized before asana, pranayama and other higher practices of yoga so that the body becomes free from blockages of the nadis, diseases and others obstacles on the spiritual path.
According to Gheranda Samhita, verse 12:
These are the 6 yogic techniques for purification:
According to Hatha Yoga Pradipika, sutra 22, the order of the sequence is little bit different:
1- Dhauti kriya:
Cleansing of the stomach and alimentary canal or digestive tract. In most of dhauti karma, we use the water but some of the techniques with cloth & air.
Classification of Dhauti Karma:
There are 4 types of Dhauti:
1. Antara Dhauti (internal cleansing)
- Vatasara (swallowing air repeatedly to expand the stomach)
- Varisara (with warm salty water + asanas and the water flows from the anus)
- Agnisara (stirring the abdomen using abdominal muscles)
- Bahishkrita (standing waist-deep in water everting the rectum and washing it)
2. Danta Dhauti (dental cleansing)
- Danta Mula (cleaning of teeth)
- Jihva Mula (cleaning of tongue)
- Kapalarandha (cleaning of the back of the soft palate)
- Karna Dhauti (cleaning the ears)
- Chaksu Dhauti (bathing of the eyes)
3. Hrida Dhauti (chest cleansing)
- Danda Dhauti (with stick)
- Vaman Dhauti (vomiting)
- Vastra Dhauti (with long strip of thin cloth)
4. Mula Shodhana (rectal or root cleansing)
2- Basti (yogic enema):
Water is sucked up through the anus and kept in the large intestine for some time. After that, the water is expelled.
With water or passing a thread in the nostrils. Is very beneficial to clean the nose (nasal passage and sinuses), ears and throat. There are 4 kinds of Neti.
4- Lauliki (nauli):
A technique that massages and strengthens all the abdominal organs.
Gazing at an object without blinking the eyes, until tears begins to fall. There are 3 types of Trataka.
Breathing technique that clears the head and help to remove defects of the lungs. The trachea or windpipe becomes free from mucus and other diseases.
For more details, check the individual articles of these techniques.