owe their origin to Yoga, which has documented these practices as
essential for the body to be free from illnesses and also for higher
According to Yoga,
the cleansing practices are 6 in number and serve to balance the
energy flows in the body through the two main channels called the
Ida and the Pingala. In fact all the oriental cultures, focus on
these 2 energy flows but by different names, thereby adding credibility
to this theory.
These cleansing practices,
called Shatkarmas are responsible for creating physical and mental
harmony and freeing one from diseases. In Ayurveda, disease is caused
by the imbalance of the three 'doshas' or humors, which are the
Kapha (mucus), Pitta (Bile) and the Vata (Wind). The cleansing practices
also serve to balance these three elements and purify the body of
The cleansing practices
- Neti : responsible for cleaning
the nasal passages through the common practices of Jala Neti and
- Dhauti: This is subdivided into
internal cleansing techniques, head cleansing and thoracic cleaning
practices which include:
- Shankhaprakshlana or Intestinal
Kriya for stimulating the digestive fire.
- Kunjal for abdominal washing.
Dhauti: Cleansing the intestines with air.
- Nauli: techniques that are used
to massage and strengthen the abdominal organs.
- Basti: techniques for cleaning
and toning the large intestine
A technique of "skull polishing" or cleaning the frontal region
of the brain.
developing concentration by staring at a fixed point. Most of
these practices must be learnt under expert guidance to take note
of the advice and precautions while learning them in the correct