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Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Shatkarma: Cleansing Techniques



One of the important parts of yogic life is the purification of the body and mind. Yoga offers some cleansing techniques for such purification. 

Shatkarma means six actions for cleansing the body. The main goal of shatkarma is to harmonize pranic flow in the body, balance our IDA and PINGALA, put into balance our three doshas (Vata, Pitta, Kapha) which we have in the body according to Ayurveda.

I would highly recommend you to learn these techniques with an experienced teacher so that you have correct instructions on how to use each technique.

In this article, I am going to introduce you three techniques which can be used quite often (4 or 5 times per week) and they are not difficult to understand. Moreover, they are really efficient.

First of them is Jala-Neti or in other words cleansing of your nasal passages. 

  • You have a special jug for this, which you fill up with lukewarm salty water (a teaspoon of salt for a jug). Be aware of the temperature, before you perform the cleansing, you check the temperature with your finger to make sure it’s not too hot. 
  • Then in slight forward bend breathing only with your mouth, you start to pour water in one nostril and it comes away from the other nostril. After that, you do from the other nostril. 
  • In the end, you stay in a forward bend for at least half a minute or a minute so that all water that could enter your nasal cavity can come out.
This procedure prevents you from a headache thus please follow these instructions thoroughly.

Kapalabhati is the next breathing exercise which helps us to clean our frontal brain. You focus on forceful exhale and you breathe in naturally as a consequence of quick and forced exhale. Our attention is put only on exhale.

This cleansing technique is good to perform after your nasal passages are clean, so that after JalaNeti. It activates our body, so the best time is to perform it in the morning.


Trataka is a practice for our concentration. We gaze towards one point usually it is flame of the candle which you have in the level of your eyes.

This practice is recommended to perform in the evening. It has a really nice and soothing effect on your mind so that after such a kind of meditation you can sleep really well. 

Moreover, it sharpens the mind. It helps to improve our eyesight. Ideally, you practice without lens or glasses. 

This practice has three stages. You first gaze into the top of the flame for 12 minutes without blinking or with less blinking as you can. Then you close your eyes for 4 minutes concentrating on your third eye. 

You repeat the same next round gazing to the middle of the flame and the third round you gaze to the lowest part of the flame. After that, you take your savasana. During the concentration to the flame, you might have pain in the eyes, tears will come out. Don’t worry about that, it’s natural. Tears help our eyes to remove unnecessary toxin away.

Before you perform these techniques, make sure you consult this with your yoga teacher to be sure you understood well. Hopefully, this article was comprehensive enough to have an idea about some ways how to purify your body.


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