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) rests inside. It keeps accumulating with time and become the impurity.
Hatha Yoga kriya is a system of 6 practices to flush out the internal impurities of the body. Collectively, these 6 practices are called ‘Shatkarma’ or ‘Shatkriya’.
Dhauti kriya, a part of shatkarma, is the practice (kriya) of purifying the digestive tract through different techniques.
What is Dhauti in Yoga?
Dhauti is a Sanskrit term for ‘Washing’. The way, we keep taking shower time to time for cleansing and activeness of body, internal organs need the same for effective working. Dhauti karma is the practice to wash the complete digestive tract or gastrointestinal tract (GI)1.
Internal washing (Dhauti) does the elimination of accumulated bolus (chewed food) 2from the top of the alimentary canal to the colon through different techniques. It not only affects the digestive tract but also increases the efficiency of the respiratory system & frontal brain3.
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 consists of the cleansing of mouth & head parts. It’s of following 3 types.
(A) – Danta Mula Dhauti: It is the cleansing of the tooth with a stick of neem or babool tree.
(B) – Jhiva Dhauti: It is the cleansing of the tongue to activate salivary glands. It is performed by pressing the tongue with index finger and thumb. Then repeatedly rub tongue in the downward direction.
(C) – Kapala Randhra Dhauti: Kapla or Scalp randhra dhauti is the massaging of the top of the head under the continuous flow of water. It reduces stress & insomnia.
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.
(A) – Vatsara Dhauti: In vatsara dhauti kriya, air is swallowing slowly into the stomach through the mouth & then expel it through the anus. It removes excessive air of the stomach & large intestine.
(B) – Varisara Dhauti: In varisara or shankhaprakshalana practice, stomach bowels are washed through drinking warm salty water in excess & then letting it flow out through the anus.
(C) – Vahnisara Dhauti: Vahinsara or agnisara dhauti kriya is the practice of stimulating heat energy of navel region. Abdominal muscles rapidly contract & expand in vajrasana to produce heat in agnisara dhauti.
(D) – Bahiskrita Dhauti: Bahiskrita practice involves, washing rectum by forcefully pushing it out while standing navel deep in clean water.
3. Hrid Dhauti
Hrid or cardiac dhauti consist the techniques to wash the upper stomach region. It’s of following 4 types.
(A) – Danda Dhauti: Danda dhautii kriya wash esophagus, food pipe which connects the throat to the stomach, by inserting soft core of a banana tree stem. It pulls out mucus, phlegm from the esophagus.
(B) – Vastra Dhauti: In vastra dhauti kriya, a clean piece of woven cloth is swallowing through the throat with continuous sipping of water. It removes extra mucus from the food pipe.
(C) – Vamana Dhauti: Practice of vaman or vyaghra dhauti kriya is doing after 3-4 hours of a meal. Eaten food in the stomach is induced to vomit out using the index finger.
(D) – Jala Dhauti or Kunjala Kriya: Jala dhauti is an empty stomach practice to remove the food residue from the stomach. The lukewarm salt water is drunk with full capacity and then it is vomited In Jala dhauti kriya.
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. practitioner 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 ways5.
- Mucus in a human body is responsible for diseases like 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 reduces constipation, poor digestion problem.
- Consistent practice of dhauti karma helps to cure 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.