Six Yogic Kriyas (Shat Karmas) – Before the Asanas or Pranayama

These six Yogic kriyas are the purification processes of the body by yogic methods. They are very important in yoga. Union of body with mind, union of mind with soul and union of soul with God is Yoga.

Kriyas are to be practiced early in the morning on empty stomach. Kriyas must be finished before starting the Asanas or Pranayama.

Six Yogic Kriyas (Shat Karmas)

These Kriyas consist of six purification practices:

  1. Dhauti ( Kunjal)
  2. Basti
  3. Neti
  4. Tratak
  5. Nauli
  6. Kapalbhati

Six Yogic Kriyas (Shat Karmas)

Dhauti (Kunjal)

It is the process to wash stomach by water.

Two or three liter of tepid water is required. Squat on your feet back, spine and neck should be straight. Drink glasses of tepid water continuously without any pause up to the brim of neck. One should neither talk nor laugh during this period. He should not bend and should stand.

Bend a bit forward; Keep the left hand on the left knee and the first and second finger of the right hand in your throat. Press the stomach by the other hand. You will vomit. Vomit the whole drunk water. Water should not remain in stomach.

Wash your hand and take rest. Milk or breakfast should be taken after an hour.

This Dhauti kriya should be practiced after passing stool and after bath. One should not take bath after this kriya. Vaman Dhauti kriya should be practiced once a fortnight or once a month.


  1. Heart patients should not practice it.
  2. The nails of the fingers should be trimmed otherwise they may wound the throat.


  1. Disorders of bile and gas are cured.
  2. It is beneficial in the diseases of stomach, throat and jaundice.

Basti (Enema)

Enema pot, rubber tube, nozzle, tepid water, lemon are the requirements. Mix juice of one or two lemons in the tepid water. Fill the enema pot with water.

Suspend the enema pot one meter above. Apply a little oil or Vaseline to the nozzle of the rectal tube. Before insertion, check the rectal tube to ensure free flow of water. Insert the tube into the rectum. The flow of water can be adjusted with the knob attached to the tube. When all the water has been introduced, remove the tube and resist the pressure for a few minutes. The bowels can be emptied after a while for better cleansing. If one does not wish to take enema in the lying position you can take it in the standing position.

Special note: Enema should be taken after going to toilet. Salt can be mixed in water instead of lemon juice. You can use plain water also. Soap should not be mixed in water.


  1. Enema should be taken once in a week or in a month by a healthy person.
  2. It can be taken for two to four times daily in constipation.
  3. Take rest for half an hour after enema.
  4. Do not take any thing after enema for an hour.


  1. Removes constipation.
  2. Clean bowels.
  3. Beneficial in all diseases of stomach.


It is mainly of two types:

  1. Jala Neti
  2. Sutra Neti

Jala Neti

For doing this, squat on your feet. Take tepid salted water in a medium sized pot with a long spout, made especially for this purpose.

Now fill the pot with tepid salted water and hold it in your right hand to the level of your nose. Then tilt your head slightly to the left so as to have the slanting position of the left nostril. Insert the nozzle of the spout into the right nostril and allow the water to flow down slowly. The water should continue falling down from other nostril in a continuous thin stream. Now repeat the process from the other side.

Breath through the mouth only till the kriya is complete. After Jal Neti, stand erect with your feet together. Keep the hands behind your back clasped and blow out vigorously whatever trace of water that has remained in your nostrils.

Precautions: if sometimes one feels intolerable pain in the back of ear or above nostrils, he should practice the Kriya of Kapalbhati at once. It will cure the pain.

Water can come out of eyes in beginning of Neti. Do not fear.


  1. Jala Neti cures sinusitis and clears sinuses.
  2. It cures diseases of nose, eyes, and throat and prevents the occurrence of diseases.
  3. Jala Neti purifies mind.
  4. It improves memory.
  5. Jala Neti cures coryza and removes old accumulated phlegm.

Sutra Neti or Rubber Neti

Sutra Neti is performed with a 12 inches long piece of waxed cord. It is partly twisted and it makes the nasal insertion possible.

Squat on your feet. Take tepid salted water and soak the Neti well in it. Now take the waxed and twisted end of the cord and make it to curve. Bend your head slightly forward and insert the end of the cord into the nostril through which you have been breathing at that time. Push the cord gradually through the nose, down the throat. Now open your mouth wide, put your index and middle fingers in and with their tips catch the inside end of the cord and draw it out. Hold both the ends in your hand separately and pull the cord very gently up and down three to four times. Then take it out, wash it and then repeat the cycle with the other nostril.

After completion of the kriya, wash the cord with soap well and leave it to dry in some clean and safe place so that the flies, etc. do not pollute it.

Special Instructions:

  1. When the cord reaches throat through nostrils. It becomes greasy by mucus. Therefore, both the ends of the cord should be caught firmly.
  2. Sutra Neti or Rubber Neti should be practiced after learning Jal Neti. After this one can practice Neti with milk, oil or ghee.
  3. It is more beneficial to perform this Sutra Neti by cotton cord but it should be wrapped.


  1. One can sneeze in practicing Sutra Neti. Water can come out of eyes. One should not fear. Practise makes one perfect.
  2. Nose can bleed sometimes while performing Sutra neti. In such conditions use rubber catheter instead of cotton cord. Move the cord through nostrils and throat slowly and gently.


  1. It cures all diseases of nose.
  2. Reduces polyp in nose
  3. It cures sinusitis, coryza, improves eyesight and memory.
  4. Purifies mind.


Drinking water through nostrils is called Nasapan. One should clean the nostrils before drinking water through them. Nasapan prevents cold and coryza. It improves eyesight.

Milk Neti

In this Neti, Milk is used in place of water. Milk should be without malai or cream.

Oil Neti

Mustard oil should be made warm in a spoon. When it is lukewarm and tolerable to the skin, lie down on a bed and drip five or seven drops of oil through some dropper in both the nostrils and try to draw them in. you will feel that the oil is going in. you can use clean cotton instead of dropper. Coconut or almond oil can be used in place of mustard. Pure ghee can also be used. Three or four drops of ghee or Badam Rogan are sufficient for the nostrils.

Oil Neti or Neti of ghee should be done before going to bed at night.

Benefits:  It lubricates noses and cleanses it. It prevents from cold and coryza.


It is an amazing exercise to improve your power of concentration and  eyesight.


It can be practiced with a candle or with a black dot on a piece of paper fixed on the wall. Start this practice in a closed room, as there will be less objects to disturb your concentration.

Sit on floor in any comfortable or Padmasana pose. Keep your back and spinal cord erect. Have a few deep breaths. Make your breath steady, even and rhythmic. Keep the object of your gaze at your eye level at a distance of three to four feet. Keep the eyes meditatively wide out of your eyes. Close the eyes to let tears trickle down.

Now mentally visualize that object, when the mental image visualizes, open your eyes and start gazing afresh. Do not strain your nerves and get relaxed. Let not your mind wander. Try to bring your mind back to the object but without straining yourself much as that would sap your energy and you will be tried soon.

After practicing with the point on the walls or on a steady flame, try to do it concentrating on the tip of your nose on the point between the eyebrows.


  1. It improves eyesight and removes the diseases of eyes.
  2. It helps in concentrating your mind.
  3. It purifies your mind.

Nauli Kriya

It is the best exercise for preserving and promoting the health of abdominal viscera. Nauli should be practiced daily in the morning on empty stomach and evacuated bowels.

Nauli Kriya

Stand with legs one foot apart. Bend the legs a little and stoop forward. Rest the palms on thighs just above your knees, with fingers spread. Press the thighs well with your palms and the chest with your chin at the notch between the collar bones.

Inhale deeply and exhale vigorously so as to force out all the air from the lungs. Suspend the breath and pull the abdominal region back towards the spine so that a hollow is formed. Push the abdominal recti forward so that a vertical ridge down the center is formed. Remain in this position for a few seconds and then relax the gap and inhale smoothly.

Breath deeply three to four times and then repeat the cycle. Repeat it five to seven times.

Special instructions:

  1. Nauli kriya is not easy. Obese persons feel difficulty in its practice. It is essential to practice Uddiyana Bandha and Agnizar to perform Nauli.
  2. It should be performed on empty stomach after cleaning bowels and before taking food.
  3. One should wear only underwear while practicing Nauli. Women can wear bra/brassiere also.


  1. Nauli should be practiced on empty stomach.
  2. It should not be practiced unless there is some expert to demonstrate and then to guide and supervise the whole process.
  3. It should not be practiced before the age of 12 or 13 years.
  4. The ulcer patient and the weak person should perform nauli on the advice of Yoga therapist.
  5. The patients suffering from swelling of intestines, dysentery, hernia and high blood pressure should not practice Nauli.

Benefits : The benefits of nauli are many. It strengthens the abdominal muscles and liver. Women who suffer form menstrual problem get immediate relief. It increases gastric fire and helps eliminating the toxic elements from the digestive system. It also helps in ovarian insufficiency. Nauli quickly cures constipation, dyspepsia, flatulence etc.


Kapal means skull and bhati means shine or luster. Thus this term means ‘skull shining’ Kapalbhati is a Pranayama also besides one of the six cleaning exercises. Actually this kriya or cleansing process is a milder from of Bhastrika, another vigorously breathing exercise.


Sit on a blanket or a dari in Padma, Sidha or Sukhasana. Keep back, spinal cord and neck erect. Keep both the hands on knees. Shut your eyes. Sit peacefully. Exhale vigorously. Do not inhale. At start begin slowly after four to five exhales exhale vigorously and quickly. Be careful in exhaling; your will inhale between exhales.

One should not pause during the practice of Kapalbhati. Hold the breath after exhaling (Kumbhak). During Kumbhak practice Jallandhar Bandh, uddiyana Bhand, Mool Bandha and Bandhas and inhale slowly. This completes one round of Kapalbhati. Start with ten or twelve exhales. Gradually you can increase their number 50 to 120.

Special instructions:

  1. The stomach should go inside at once after exhaling.
  2. The difference between kapalbhati and Bhastrika Pranayama is that both inhale and exhale are done vigorously. One should learn it from an expert of Yoga.

Precautions: Persons with high BP problems or pus in the ear should refrain from doing this exercise.

Benefits: Kapalbhati is a very good invigorating exercise with cleanses the entire respiratory system by forcefully rushing exhalation.

It removes concentration and mental retention. The movement of the diaphragm stimulates the stomach, heart liver and spleen. This exercise is very good for eyes.


The practice of Agnisar kindles energy in stomach and body perspires.

agnisar kriya

Sit on a blanket or dari in Vajrasana. Keep a little distance between the knees. Put firmly both the hands on the knees. Inhale vigorously and while exhaling shrink your stomach as much as you can. Now suspend your breath. It is called outer (Bahya) Kumbhak.

Holding the position of Bahya Kumbhak, i.e. Keeping he breath suspended and pulling the entire abdominal region back towards your spine. Now blow your stomach out and shrink in. In one Kumbhak you can blow and shrink your stomach 8-20 times.

This kriya is called Agnisar. One can practice this kriya in a standing posture.


  1. Cures obesity.
  2. Cures disorders of abdominal region.
  3. It improves lack of appetite.
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Anoop Sharma

About Anoop Sharma

Anoop Sharma is an IT professional, freelance health writer and creator of He is passionate about helping others learn about health issues and their natural remedies, yoga and healthy food.

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