The internal system of organs in the human body is a very complex structure. Although, this system has a functionality of self-cleansing.
But sometimes it doesn’t completely cleanse by own or some residue (of what we eat) left inside. It keeps accumulating with time and become the impurity. That’s how we fall ill.
In Hatha Yoga Pradipika and Gheranda Samhita, a system of 6 practice mentioned to flush out the internal impurities of the body. Collectively, these 6 practices are called ‘Shatkarma’ or ‘Shatkriya’. These 6 practices are:
- Neti – Nasal cleansing
- Dhauti – cleaning of the digestive tract
- Nauli – Abdominal muscles massage
- Basti – Large intestine cleansing
- Kapalbhati – Skull shinning technique
- Trataka – Eyes strengthening technique
Dhauti, 2nd kriya in shatkarma, is the practice (kriya) of purifying the digestive tract through different techniques.
What is Dhauti in Yoga?
Dhauti is made up of ‘Dho‘ root word which means ‘Washing’ or ‘Cleansing’. The way, we keep taking shower time to time for cleansing and activeness of body, internal organs need the same for effective working.
As yoga has many physical practices, Dhauti is a preparatory action before involving in any physical practice of yoga. It cleans complete digestive tract or gastrointestinal tract (GI)1 to eliminate accumulated bolus (chewed food) 2 from the top of the alimentary canal to the colon.
Dhauti not only affects the digestive tract but also increases respiratory system & frontal brain efficiency 3.
Sometimes Dhauti is also named as Kunjal or Gajakarni kriya. These are Sanskrit names of ‘elephant‘. Indeed, Yogis learned the idea of Dhauti-kriya technique from nature. It’s the same as when an elephant expels out undigested content of the stomach through the deep trunk.
Types of Dhauti
There are different types of Dhauti (internal washing) derived for different parts of the mouth & GI tract. Chosen a particular type, depends upon the practice level (beginner or advanced) of a seeker & the requirement in a yogic system.
There are mainly 4 types of Dhauti according to functioning on particular parts of the body.
A practitioner who is not comfortable with swallowing cloth (in Vastra Dhauti) through the mouth, can simply wash the GI tract with drinking lukewarm water in the beginner level.
An ancient text, Gheranda Samhita 4, on yoga gives an idea of categorization of Dhauti.
1. Danta Dhauti
Danta Dhauti is the simplest type of Dhauti as it comprises the cleansing of mouth & head parts. It’s of following 4 types.
(i) Danta Mula Dhauti
Danta means Teeth and ‘Mula’ means Root. This Dhauti kriya consists cleaning the root of teeth which ensures a long life of teeth.
How To Do: In this Dhauti, the root of tooth rubbed using acacia resin or clean earth. It cleanses and removes any impurities (if present in the tooth).
(ii) Jhiva Dhauti
Also called Jhiva Shodhana. ‘Jhiva’ means tongue. This Dhauti kriya helps in elongation of the tongue which is said to destroy the old age and any bodily diseases.
How To Do: To perform Jhiva Dhauti, place your index, middle and ring finger into the throat and then rub root of throat continuously up and down (throw phlegm out). This practice activates salivary glands.
(iii) Karna Dhauti
Karna means ear. Practicing this Dhauti regularly can make you listen to the mystical sounds (Nada).
How To Do: To practice it, simply put ring finger in-ear and rotate it in a circular motion. It cleanses the ear apertures.
(iv) Kapala Randhra Dhauti
‘Kapla’ means Skull or Head. This Dhauti kriya consists massaging the front head with the thumb.
How To Do: To do this kriya, bring your right thumb at the middle of the eyebrows and rub gently your forehead. Perform this kriya after waking up in the morning, in the evening, and after night meal. It reduces stress, insomnia, and increases vision.
2. Antar Dhauti (Internal Dhauti)
Antar Dhauti is the washing of the lower part of the stomach region or large intestine. It’s of following 4 types.
(i) Vatsara Dhauti
Vatsara means ‘Drinking of air’. Air is the medium of washing in this kriya.
How To Do: To perform Vatsara Dhauti, the air is swallowing slowly into the stomach through the mouth in Kaki mudra. Then upper stomach and the intestine filled with this air, respectively. After holding it in the intestine for a period, released it out through the anus.
(ii) Varisara Dhauti
It is also called Shankhaprakshalana Dhauti. This practice washed the entire digestive tract from mouth to the anus. Water is the medium of washing in this kriya.
How To Do: In Varisara Dhauti, lukewarm salty water is drunk in excess & then letting it out through the anus. After drinking a little water in the beginning some asanas are performed for easy flow of water.
(iii) Agnisara Dhauti
Commonly it’s known as Vahinsara Kriya. Vahinsara Dhauti is the practice of stimulating heat energy of the navel region. This kriya does the washing by means of ‘Fire‘.
How To Do: In Vahinsara Dhauti, abdominal muscles rapidly contract & expand while sitting in Vajrasana. Sometimes this kriya also performed with rapid breathing along with abdominal movements. These rapid movements produce heat in the stomach (Digestive fire).
(iv) Bahiskrita Dhauti
This kriya does the cleaning of the intestine through held air. Practicing this Dhauti can get Godlike Body 5.
How To Do: In this Dhauti, Crow seal (Kaki Mudra) is made to suck the air in and held this air in for 90 minutes. After 90 minutes, stand in clean water equal to the navel level and pulled the long intestine out. Then washed intestine carefully with hands and draw it again in the abdomen.
3. Hrid Dhauti
Hrid means Heart. This Dhauti consists of the techniques to wash organs related to the heart i.e. the upper stomach organs. It’s of following 3 types.
(i) Danda Dhauti
‘Danda’ means stick. This Dhauti kriya removes phlegm and bile from deep down of throat (esophagus). It cures all heart-related problems.
How To Do: To perform Danda Dhautii kriya, Insert core of a banana tree stem or turmeric root into the throat and let it reach below the throat. Now slowly pull it out. It comes out with mucus, phlegm from the esophagus.
(ii) Vastra Dhauti
‘Vastra’ means Cloth. In this Dhauti kriya, a cloth is used to wash the upper stomach region. It removes extra mucus from the food pipe.
(iii) Vamana Dhauti
‘Vamana’ means vomiting. In this Dhauti, after drinking excessive water throat induced to vomit out this water. Along with water, undigested food particles and phlegm comes out in Vamana Dhauti.
4. Moola Shodhana Dhauti
Moola Shodhana Dhauti kriya is the cleansing of the rectum using a soft turmeric root. The practitioner inserts the middle finger or turmeric root into the rectum and rotates it clockwise and anticlockwise. It clears the extra feces from the rectum. Use olive oil for easy insertion of turmeric root & lubrication of anus. Stands in utkatasana while doing moola shodhana dhauti.
Benefits of Dhauti Kriya
Dhauti karma is washing the complete alimentary canal. Different organs are connected on the way of the alimentary canal. Thus the practice of dhauti kriya is beneficial in many ways6.
- Mucus in a human body is responsible for diseases like the spleen, leprosy, cough, and asthma. Dhauti eliminates excessive mucus from the stomach. Hence, dhauti kills coughs, asthma, leprosy disease.
- Dhauti flush out rests food residue from the stomach, hence it increases the efficiency of the digestive & respiratory system.
- Dhauti balances Kapha, pitta & Vata doshas in the body.
- The practice of dhauti karma removes different infectious bacteria from the stomach, hence reducing constipation, poor digestion problem.
- The consistent practice of dhauti karma helps to cure the acidity problem.
- Functioning of dhauti also helps in glowing the skin & removing dark circle.
- Danta dhauti removes the bacteria of mouth & increase the efficiency of salivary glands.