What Is Shatkarma?

The word Shatkarma is originated from the combination of two words Shat and Karma. In these, Shat means six (6) and Karma means work. Thus Shatkarma means ‘six actions’. Here Shatkarma means six special actions through which the body is purified. In Hatha Yoga, these six types of purification actions are called Shatkarmas. These are called the six body cleansing processes in English.
Maharishi Gheranda has described six Shatkarmas as the first part of Yoga in Gheranda Samhita. He believes that without the practice of Shatkarma, no seeker can achieve success in the path of Yoga. First of all purification of the body is necessary. Without purification of the body, the seeker faces difficulty in moving forward in following other parts of Yoga. That is why Maharishi Gherand has accepted Shatkarma as the first part of Yoga.

Shatkarma is a very special part of Hatha yoga practice. Practicing Shatkarmas not only results in physical purification but also mental purification. Due to physical and mental purification, we are able to move forward on the spiritual path easily.

What Is Shatkarma

Objectives of Shatkarmas

  1. To balance the Tridoshas (vata, pitta, and kapha).
  2. Creating physical and mental balance.
  3. To make the prana flow in Sushamna by balancing the Ida and Pingala nadis.
  4. Removal of unnecessary wastes from the body (exit from the body)
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  5. Keeping the body healthy by purifying the body internally.
  6. Internal institutions of the body like – the digestive system, circulatory system and respiratory system
    To provide strength to etc.

What are the six Shatkarmas?

Jal Niti : A neti pot should be used for this practice. This is done by allowing warm, salt water to pass through the nose. The practitioner must allow water to pass through freely. If you suffer from sinusitis, cold, insensitivity to smell, nosebleeds, headache, eye strain or eye infection, Jal Neti can be practiced for a week, (do it when it is about to start and Not during these situations) otherwise, it’s best. Practice only once a fortnight.

Surta Niti: Sutra means ‘thread’ and the practice involves passing a length of thread through the nose and gently pushing it so that it goes down the throat. When it reaches the back of the throat, it should be taken out through the mouth. The thread should be slowly pulled back and forth 30-50 times. Neti has a deep impact on the body and mind. It removes mucus and pollution

Nasal passages and sinuses, through which air can flow without any obstruction. It also stimulates various nerve endings in the nose, thereby improving the sense of smell and the overall health of the person. Balance is brought about between the right and left nostrils and subsequently, between the left and right cerebral hemispheres, producing a state of harmony and balance throughout the body and mind.

What Is Shatkarma

Dhoti: It involves various techniques divided into Antar Dhauti (inner cleansing), Top Dhauti (cleansing the head), and Hrid Dhauti (cleansing the chest). We have listed here four practices that cleanse the entire alimentary canal from mouth to anus.

Nauli: It is a practice to massage and strengthen the abdominal organs. The exercise involves contracting and isolating the rectus abdominis muscles. When the rectus abdominis muscles rotate from left to right (counter-clockwise), it is called Dakshina Nauli. When they are rotated from right to left (clockwise), that is Vama Nauli. When the muscles pull together and the middle group of muscles moves out, this is Madhyama Nauli.
Nauli tones the abdominal muscles, nerves, intestines, and reproductive, excretory and urinary organs. When the abdominal muscles are stimulated, not only are they toned, but all internal organs are massaged. It produces heat in the body, and stimulates digestion, assimilation and absorption. It balances the endocrine system and helps control the production of hormones. Nauli is especially useful for reducing constipation, indigestion, nervous diarrhea, acidity, hormonal imbalance, sexual and urinary disorders, laziness, lethargy, lack of energy and emotional disturbances. It also controls a person’s appetite and carnal desires and strengthens willpower. However, not everyone can practice Nauli. People who suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure, hernia, gastric or duodenal ulcers, or who are recovering from any internal injury or abdominal surgery should not try it.

Basti: This is a technique that cleanses and tones the large intestine. The settlement is divided into water (water) settlement and land (dry) settlement. In water douching you draw water into the large intestine through the anus and then expel it. In flatulence, you draw air into the large intestine. These are not practices we can do at home. Although the benefits are tremendous, doing them wrong can cause harm. Basti completely washes the intestines and flushes out excess bacteria, old stool, threadworms and heat from the lower intestines. It heals digestive disorders and is especially useful for relieving constipation, stimulating sluggish digestion, controlling nervous diarrhea and strengthening the solar plexus. Anyone suffering from stomach problems, recent surgery, heart problems or high blood pressure should avoid the practice.

Kapal Bhati: It means ‘frontal lobe cleansing’. It activates the entire brain and awakens dormant centers that are responsible for subtle perception. In this exercise, exhalation is active and inhalation is passive. In normal breathing, inhalation is active and exhalation is passive. There are different ways of doing Kapalbhati and this too should be learned from a guru.
Kapalabhati expels more carbon dioxide and other waste gases from the cells and lungs than normal breathing, thereby increasing the supply of oxygen to the brain. It is a very powerful practice to detoxify the body, remove blockages in the nadis, and improve energy in the mind and body. It also removes lethargy, and laziness and provides energy to the mind.

Trataka: Trataka means seeing with a steady gaze. There are two forms of practice, one is external or external trataka and the other is antaranga or internal trataka. Bahiranga is easy to practice as you simply have to look at an object or symbol (a candle flame is most suitable). However, intimate trataka involves a clear and stable internal view of an object. Trataka can be done at any time, but it is more effective on an empty stomach. If one wants to go deeper into the mind then one should do Tratak late at night before sleeping or before meditation.
Trataka is therapeutic for depression, insomnia, allergies, stress and anxiety, postural problems, poor concentration and memory. Its most important effect is on the Ajna Chakra and the brain. Its purpose is to completely concentrate the mind. This results in a ‘blank’ of visual perception, and thus, the central nervous system begins to function in isolation. It opens the underlying energies of the mind and gives direction to the dormant consciousness. It brings strong willpower, better memory and concentration ability. Physically, Trataka provides relief from eye diseases like eye strain and headache, myopia, astigmatism and even the early stages of cataract. The eyes become clear and bright, allowing us to see reality beyond appearances.

What Is Shatkarma

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