Those shatkarma which effect purification of the body are secret. They have manifold, wondrous results and are held in high esteem by eminent yogis. (Hatha Yoga Pradipika 2:23)
Cleansing or purification processes of body and mind - Shatkarmas, also called shatkriyas or even kriyas - are well documented techniques in ancient Yoga texts. Yogic science places as much importance...
...on cleansing processes as on asanas and pranayamas as an integral part of Yoga. Because, without purification of the body one will not be ready for the higher practices of yoga. And without regular cleansing one just cannot expect purification and the subsequent the benefit of yogic practices.
Physical cleansing is done through shatkarmas or the six purificatory techniques. The cleansing process balances the doshas, known in ayurveda as the vata, pitta and kapha (wind, bile and phlegm). Automatically you feel relief, you feel lighter, happier and stronger. Not only that, they are also highly effective in curing internal disorders. The six main yogic cleansers are as follows:
1. Jala and Sutra Neti: Nasal cleansing2. Dhauti: Cleansing of the digestive tract3. Uddiyana Bandha & Nauli: Abdominal massage4. Basti: Colon cleansing5. Kapalbhati: Purification and vitalisation of the frontal lobes6. Trataka: Blinkless gazing
The shatkarmas cleanse and activate all the vital organs of the body, particularly the digestive, respiratory, circulatory and nervous systems. These processes are known to be both preventive as well as curative. Once your body has been purified, energy is free to flow through your system, unimpeded. Subsequently, one's capacity to digest, taste, feel, work, think, experience, etc., is greatly enhanced.
For optimum benefits, yoga practices should be coupled with a balanced diet, Naturopathy, Ayurveda and Aromatherapy.
When we consume food, the nutrients are extracted from the food, and the waste materials are excreted from the body. However, problems with the digestive system could arise due to various reasons and waste materials may accumulate in the colon leading to ill health. This is why colon cleansing is an important part of keeping your digestive tract healthy.
A colon cleansing diet consists of food rich in fiber. Fiber helps in cleaning out the digestive tract. Foods that are rich in fiber include fruits and vegetables and whole grain breads and cereals. Psyllium husk can also play in important role in colon cleansing. A yoga diet can also help in this process because it consists of foods that can be easily digested by the body without resulting in the release of excessive waste products.
Nasal cleansing is the flushing of the sinuses with salt water to clear out the foreign matter and mucus. Nasal cleansing becomes necessary when allergens in the air are plaguing you or if you have a sinus infection. It is an effective way to allow the breathing passages to remain open. A neti pot is an apparatus to irrigate the nasal passages. This device flushes out the nasal cavity by making use of gravity to bring in the flow of saline. Infant nasal congestion can be quite an irritation to the baby and can prevent proper bottle feeding and nursing. However there are a number of methods that could be applied to solve this problem, though a doctor’s recommendation would be necessary.
Colon cleansing is a way to detox the body, particularly the digestive system. It helps in getting rid of parasites and making the movements of the bowel normal. Colon cleansing to lose weight can be effective because sometimes a build-up of toxins can be the cause of an increase in body weight. Therefore, this method eliminates the toxins to give you a healthier and slimmer body. A colon cleansing diet should include foods that can be easily digested by the body. This will leave your body with energy to work on the breakdown and elimination of waste. Fruit juices and fresh vegetables are a major part of a colon cleansing diet.
There are many benefits you can receive from an abdominal massage. However, the abdominal massage techniques should only be attempted by professionals, and you should avoid attempting it yourself. The abdominal area is the softest and least protected part of the body and is therefore very vulnerable. A belly massage helps stimulate circulation and the lymphatic system. Some of the benefits of abdominal massage are in helping in proper digestion, dealing with problems related to constipation, strengthening relaxed and weak muscles, aligning the pelvic bones, and in the secretion of hormones. You should avoid having an abdominal massage if you have an inflammation of the fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder and uterus.
Skull cleansing or kapalabhati helps in strengthening the muscles of the abdomen, heart, and lungs. It provides a massage to the internal organs and stimulates elimination and digestion. The skull cleansing pranayama gets rid of the toxins and stale air from the lungs and cleanses the body. The forceful and rapid pumping and exhalation of the diaphragm and abdomen stimulates circulation and therefore, improves the body’s circulation. The muscles of the heart get stimulated with the contracting movement and the relaxation of the abdomen. This creates a motion of pumping around the heart all the way to the skull, hence the name. However, the skull cleansing breathing exercise should be avoided if you have a high blood pressure.