In Hatha Yoga, there are six acts of purification or Shat Karmas. These are often referred to as Kriyas and they are as follows:
NETI – nasal cleansing
DHAUTI: body-cleansing,(tongue-scraping falls into this category)
NAULI: abdominal cleansing (the first step towards this is mastery of the abdominal lock)
BASTI: colon cleansing
KAPALABHATI: skull cleansing
TRATAK: cleansing for the eyes
We’re focusing on the first of the niyamas – Saucha. All of the above practices relate to saucha, which means cleansing or purification.
Let’s begin with one of the Shat Karmas – kapalabhati. This is a pranayama technique as well as a kriya. We’ll then proceed to Malla kriya and then work with the abdominal lock, Uddiyana Bandha. This is the first step to Nauli, another of our Shat Karmas.
Salute to the Sun follows. Let’s try three rounds. Three of our Shat Karmas are concerned with the digestive system, and this sequence is great for getting everything moving!
Now for a balance. We’ll meet the Dancer’s pose. All of yoga practice shows us the liberation that can be gained by establishing healthy discipline. This pose is wonderfully expansive and free.
Salute to the Moon, practised three times will take us into a gentle place where we calm and cleanse the mind.
Back down to the mat through the squat and on to all fours for the Cat stretch and breath. Let’s add the abdominal lock at the end of each out-breath.
Pushing back into Swan to rest, and then we come to our challenge pose – the variation on the Swan. How are we doing? Gaining flexibility? Opening the shoulders, hips and, most importantly, heart?
Meditation is another Shat Karma. This time Tratak to cleanse the eyes.
Relaxation is another Kriya – Anu Loma Viloma Kriya.
It’s so interesting to explore inner cleansing in our sessions. In the West we’re so engrossed with outer cleansing…
OM Shanti Shanti Shanti