Shatkarmas in yoga

Shatkarmas in yoga

Shatkarmas definition

Among all the variety of yoga techniques, one specific class deserves attention, especially at the initial yoga stage. This category includes the cleaning Shatkarma techniques, which eliminate the disease causes and restore the harmony of the human body systems.

Classically, the Shatkarmas could be used while already there are some tissues and organs disturbance, but they are also could be used as a way to prevent possible disturbances.



In the perfect condition of the body functioning and the absence of polluting external agents (that is rare nowadays) you don’t need to practice Shatkarmas, it will be enough to focus on the correct diet and lifestyle for the stable yoga progress. That will help for the adequate self-purification and the cell and tissues renewal in the natural regime.

Shatkarmas in yoga practice

Shatkarmas cleansing techniques in yoga practice

In Hatha yoga, there are six cleansing actions – Shatkarmas (shat means “six”, karma – means “action”).

– Neti (jala neti is a nasal washing with water, sutra neti is a nasal cleansing by using a thread).




– Dhauti (Vamana-Dhauti is a stomach cleansing with water, vastra-Dhauti is a stomach cleansing with a piece of cloth).

– Basti is a yogic technique of colon cleansing.

– Trataka is a technique of closely attention fixing at the selected external or internal object (usually used sight fixation at a candle flame).

– Kapalabhati is a cleansing practice of the front brain parts and the sinuses.

– Nauli Kriya is a vacuum massage of internal organs by abdominis muscles.

In addition to these six cleansing techniques there is one more which is attributed to Shatkarmas by some authors, but some authors consider it an integral part of Ayurvedic purification procedures – Panchakarma. Whatever it is, this technique deserves attention in view of the cleansing of all human gastrointestinal tract. It’s named Shank prakshalana Kriya.

For a person choosing yoga way it is also recommended to practice daily special exercises for the maintaining of the high efficiency of eyes, tongue and belly.

Working with the eyes

The simplest exercises, which help to keep and strengthen the eyes health, are:

– eye movements up and down with fixation on the extreme points

– eye movements to the left and right

– clockwise and counterclockwise eye rotating

It is recommended to perform 20-30 repetitions in each movement direction with the fixation at the extreme points.

shatkarmas cleansing techniques

Tongue cleansing

Clean the tongue surface with a scraper, spoon, brush or even a towel every day immediately after waking up in the morning. This procedure will help to remove plaque, eliminate bad breath and activate receptors which located on the tongue papillae.

Also the tongue massage will give beneficial effect on the local immune protection activation in the oropharyngeal ring area:

– 15-20 circular rotations in both directions along the inner surface

– capturing and pulling tongue up and down, forward and to the sides using a towel for 50 cycles in each direction.

Working with stomach

The regularly Uddiyana bandha and agnisara-kriya practices will save the abdomen organs health in addition to Kapalabhati nauli practices.

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