What is Yoga Kriya?
Yoga Kriya can mean many things nowadays. However, we use it to refer to cleansing techniques. Another term for it is shatkarmas, or 6 purification techniques.
Shatkarmas as Yoga Kriya
The shatkarmas are:
Dhauti is for cleansing the stomach and esophagus (food pipe). We practice a technique called kunjal. Here’s how it works. First, we drink salt water. Next, we activate anti-peristalsis. Finally, the water comes back out through the mouth. Along with it comes undigested food particles, acids, and phlegm from the stomach and esophagus. Seems like an odd practice but many who try it love the effects.
Basti purifies the lower intestines and colon. The process we practice is called Shankha Prakshalana. It’s a colon cleanse achieved by drinking salt water then performing a few exercises. This moves the water through the digestive tract. Because some may be put off by this kriya it is optional. Still, many trainees request this and love the experience.
Neti removes particulate from the sinuses. There are a few ways we perform neti kriya.
The first is via neti pot. First, we fill a neti pot with warm salt water. Next, we place the nozzle of the pot against one nostril. Then, we tilt the head forward and to the side. Finally, this maneuver gently guides the water in one nostril and out the other. This removes particulate. It’s especially good for removing pollutants from the nasal canal.
The second way we perform neti is via sutra. Sutra means string. First, we place a rubber catheter in one nostril until it reaches the back of the throat. Then, we use our fingers to grab the sutra from the throat. Finally, we gently guide the string out through the mouth. This clears the nasal canal of excess mucus that gets trapped in the branching pathways that are not cleansed via standard nose blowing. Scary? Perhaps. But when done regularly this cleansing can be life changing as it makes breathing from the nose much easier.
Trataka, Nauli, and Kapalbhati
Trataka develops concentration by fixing the gaze on one point.
Nauli massages the abdominals and nearby organs.
Finally, Kapalbhati cleans the nasal canal.
We practice these last three kriyas as part of our Chikitsa class.
Why do we perform Yoga Kriya?
We dedicate time every morning during teacher training to perform shatkarmas. As a result, you cleanse the body inside and out.
Consequently, you can progress faster in yoga asana and pranayama with a clean body.
Therefore, we see shatkarmas as necessary on the path of yoga.
Certainly some yogis are scared to perform kriyas. Don’t worry – we guide you every step of the way and even hold your hand if you’re scared.