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Gaurav demonstrating a shatkarma

A clean body

A pure mind belongs into a clean body; on the inside and outside. But how do I purify my body on the inside? My mind isn’t easy, but I know how to do it. At least I am able – with some discipline – to live by the yamas and the niyamas. But purifying my body? Taking a nice, hot shower isn’t good enough. The inside has to be cleaned as well. But yoga wouldn’t be yoga if it hadn’t a solution for this problem. A little unorthodox, but still…

To be precise there are six ways to purify one selves physically. These are called shatkarmas.

  • Neti: cleaning nasal passages. Jala nati: throwing salt water into one nostril and letting it flow out of the other nostril. Sutra neti: cleaning both nostrils with a long, thin cloth.
  • Dhauti: cleaning all body parts who play a role in digestion: from mouth to anus.
  • Varisara dhauti: cleaning your intestines. Vahnisara dhauti: activating digestion. Vaman dhauti: cleaning your stomach with water. Vatsara dhauti: cleaning your stomach with air. Vastra dhauti: swallowing a cloth and pulling it out again to clean your esophagus.
  • Nauli: massaging and strengthening your intestines.
  • Basti: cleaning and strengthening your colon.
  • Kapalbhati: cleaning the front part of your brain and strengthening your abdominals through breathing exercises.

They don’t really sound very appealing. Luckily there is one big excuse not to do them. Most of the shatkarmas have to be done so precise or require so much training that they can only be done under the guidance of a guru and / or in an ashram. But I’m not so lucky to get out of it so easy. I am in a yoga teacher training course, so some of them are awaiting.

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