Category Archives: yoga asanas

Yogic Kriyas And Benefits

Benefits Of Yogic Kriyas (Cleansing Techniques)

There are six major yogic kriyas. They are:
Kapalabhati Kriya, Neti Kriya, Dhouti Kriya, Nauli Kriya, Trataka Kriya and Basti Kriya.
These six yogic kriyas are explained in detail in different yogic texts like Hatha Pradipika. Many of the yogic instructors don’t even know this kriya and won’t give importance to them. But that is not right; one must do this kriya to cleansing the body and the mind.
Please do NOT try to learn them from a book or try them out after reading instructions on a web page on my blog. For that reason, I am not giving details of the practices here, but rather covering them in the brief of the first five and the last one we are not even discussing.
 
My suggestion to you is to have a look at these practices with an open mind.
 If you feel like it, give it a shot, UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF AN EXPERT TEACHER. 
I cannot over-emphasize the importance of this.  You can do SERIOUS DAMAGE to yourself if the kriyas are performed improperly especially Dhouti.

Kapalabhati(stimulating the brain cells)

1.      Sit comfortably in Padmasana with an erect spine.
2.      Exhale forcibly using abdominal muscles.
3.      Inhale passively by relaxing the abdominal muscles.
4.      Repeat as quickly as possible starting with 60 strokes per minute and increasing gradually up to 120 per minute.
5.      There is no holding of the breath. The rapid active exhalations with passive effortless inhalations are accomplished by flapping movements of the abdomen. At the end of the minute, there is an automatic suspension of breath. Enjoy the deep silence of mind associated with this.
This kriya washes out the carbon dioxide from the blood, activates the brain cells, cleans the air passages and stimulates the abdominal organs.Kapalabhati enables the inhalation of a right amount of oxygen which purifies the blood and strengthens the nerve and brain centers.This Kriya provides relief in many lung, throat and chest diseases like chronic bronchitis, asthma, pleurisy and tuberculosis.

Neti Kriya(cleansing the nasal passages)

Four types of Neti Kriyas are in general practice, namely: Jala neti kriya, Sutra neti kriya, Dugdha neti kriya and ghrta neti kriya.
Jala Neti Kriya
Add about half a teaspoon of salt to a Neti-potful of luke-warm water.
1.      Hold the pot in the right hand.
2.      Insert the nozzle of the pot into the right nostril.
3.      Keep the mouth open to allow free breathing through the mouth.
4.      Tilt the head first slightly backwards, then forwards and sidewards to the left, so that the water from the pot enters the right nostril and comes out through the left by gravity. Allow the flow till the pot is empty.
5.      Repeat the same on the left side.
6.      By slightly bending the head back, the water goes to mouth which can be swallowed after washing the passages of nostrils. This called “Usah pana” that can be practiced early morning before sunrise with beneficial effects.It will relieve a sore throat, cold, cough, sinusitis, migraine, headache and cases of inflammation of the nasal membranes, It keeps the head cool and improves vision. 

Sutr Neti Kriya or Rubber catheter Neti Kriya

1.      Insert the blunt end of a thin, soft rubber catheter from the front horizontally in the right nostril.
2.      Push it along the floor of the nose until the tip is felt in the back of the throat.
3.      Put it out through the mouth and gently massage the nasal passage by catching the two ends of the tube.
4.      Remove the catheter through the nose.
5.      Repeat on the left side.
Dugdha Neti Kriya and Ghrta Neti Kriya
Here milk and ghee are used respectively in place of water as in Jala Neti Kriya.
Vyutkrama Kapala Neti Kriya
This is similar to Jala Neti, with the difference that the water comes out of a mouth instead of through the opposite nostril.
Sitkrama Kapala Neti Kriya
1.      Take a mouthful of Luke-warm saline water.
2.      Bend forward and relax the soft palate so that the water comes out of the nose.
Neti Kriya is to be followed by a few rounds of Kapalabhati, so as to keep the nasal passage clear.
Neti, in general, purifies most structures in the head and neck. Neti not only makes the nasal passages but also renders the nose resistant to many irritants like water, cotton, rubber, ghee, milk, etc. Hence, it is very helpful in removing the hypersensitivity as seen in persons suffering from allergic rhinitis. Vision becomes more subtle.


Dhouti Kriya(Cleansing the intestinal tract to the stomach)

There are three types of Dhouti kriyas. They are Jala Dhouti kriya or Vamana Dhout kriya, Vastra Dhouti Kriya and Danda Dhouti kriya. We will discuss briefly about these kriyas.
Jala Dhouti Kriya or Vamana Dhouti Kriya
1.      Sit on heels and drink lukewarm saline water till you can take no more, or till you feel like vomiting it out.
2.      Churn the stomach by twisting exercise.
3.      Stand with feet together and trunk bent forward forming an angle of about 90 degrees and vomit.
4.      Now with the help of the middle three fingers tickle the back of the throat to vomit out Vamana all the water.
5.      Repeat the process of tickling, till no more water comes out, which means that almost all water had been vomited. This kriya is also called as kunjal.
6.      With continued practice, one can stimulate the vomiting sensation and vomit out the water without using the fingers at the throat. Further practice can lead to continuous vomiting of all the water through the mouth as if it is is coming in a jet. This resembles the water-jet that comes out of the trunk of an elephant and as such is termed Gajakarani.It is beneficial for the cleaning the stomach in cases of excessive bile, constipation and gastric troubles.Persons suffering from hyperacidity should perform kunjal with salted water.It gives relief from a headache nervous weakness, chronic cold, cough and asthma. 

Vastra Dhouti kriya.

1.      Slowly swallow a wet piece of cloth four fingers broad and about 7 metres long under the guidance of an instructor or a Guru.
2.      Slowly bring out the material without forcibly pulling it. This process is called Vastra Dhouti kriya. 

Danda Dhouti Kriya.

1.      Drink Luke-warm water saline water as in Vamana Dhouti.
2.      Take a rubber tube(danda) about 1 cm in diameter and a metre long.
3.      Slowly place one end of the tube and push it down the gullet into the stomach. When it reaches the stomach, then slowly bend forward. All the water will come out by siphon action. Suck in and bulge out the stomach, if necessary. Remove the tube gently.
These Kriyas should be performed early in the morning preferably before dawn and after clearing the bowels.
Dhouti kriyas are extremely useful for gas trouble, high acidity in the stomach and for curing Asthma also.
Nauli Kriya(control of the abdominal recti)
Nauli Kriya is an abdominal Kriya, in which isolation and rolling manipulation of the abdominal recti muscles (rectus abdominal) which form the front linear wall of the abdominal cavity, are accomplished.

Uddiyana Kriya.

1.      Stand with a slight forward bend of the trunk, palms on the thighs and legs about a meter apart.
2.      Exhale completely by vigorously contracting the muscles of the abdomen. The chest also gets contracted.
3.      Press the hands against the thighs (thus fixing up the muscles of the neck and the shoulders) and have vigorous mock-inhalation by raising the ribs without allowing air to flow into the lungs.
4.      Relax the muscles of the abdomen. Automatically the diaphragm will rise producing a concave depression of the abdomen. This is called Uddiyana.
5.      In this breathe-out condition push out and pull-out in the abdominal muscles fast. Continue until the breath out condition lasts. Count the number of flappings. This process is called Agnisara Kriya. This kriya tones up the digestive system by continued stimulations.

Madhyama Nauli Kriya.

1.      Maintaining Uddiyana, give a forward and downward push to the abdominal point just above the pelvic bone in the midline where the two recti originate. This force brings
about the contraction of these muscles that stand out in the center, leaving the other muscles of the abdominal wall in a relaxed condition. This is Madhyama Nauli(Middle Nauli)  Kriya.
Dksina in Vama Nauli Kriya.
1.      For Dakshina (right) Nauli, one has to contract the right rectus alone leaving the other muscles including the left rectus relaxed.
2.      For Vama(left) Nauli only left rectus is contracted to leave the others relaxed.

Nauli Calana Kriya.

When one has gained full control over these three types of Nauli, rolling off the recti muscles clockwise and anti-clockwise is practiced. This called “Nail
 
 
 
Calana”.
Benefits: A very fine Kriya for promoting the health of the abdominal viscera. The autonomic nerve centres and the endocrine glands in the abdomen are all activated. Due to the negative pressure created in the stomach the circulation to the abdominal organs improves enormously, stimulates gastric fire, thus helping digestion.
Trataka Kriya(Fixing the Mind)
1.      Sit in any meditative posture-Padmasana, Vajrasan etic, comfortably with an erect spine.
Arrange a burning lamp with the flame at the same height as the eyes at a distance of about a meter.
2.      Start gazing at the flame without the winking the eyelids.
3.      Learn to ignore the irritation and watering of the eyes.
4.      With practice, the gaze becomes steady, making the mind single-pointed.
Relaxation of the eyes is essential. The otherwise excessive strain of the eye muscles may cause a headache.
      Five/. Progress is slowly starting with ten secs and increasing the duration by ten secs. Per week.
This cleansing process activates the tear glands, purifies the visual system, promotes proper concentration and strengthens willpower. Trataka Kriya cures the eye defects if done properly.

Viparitkarani Kriya(cleansing in inverted posture)

Lie supine on the ground over the blanket, with arms, stretched above the head.
1.      Raise the legs together to 45degrees  keeping the knees straight.
2.      Raise further to 90 degrees.
3.      Now lift the buttocks and the trunk, by supporting the body with the palms at the waist, to take the weight on the arms and elbows.
4.      Come to a final position with the body at 45 degrees to the ground and the legs vertical.
5.      Perform forcible exhalations as in Kapalabhati Kriya, start with ten strokes and gradually increase the number of strokes.
6.      Come down slowly and relax.
7.      This kriyas stimulates the abdominal organs toning them up.. Very useful for persons suffering from intestinal disorders and diabetes.
Sankhapraksalana Kriya.
Drink slowly about half a litre of lukewarm saline water.
Perform dynamic exercises in the following order.
1.      Walking on toes with heels upwards and hands lifted up.
2.      Twisting of the waist three times each side.
3.      Bhujangasana 3 times.
4.      Suryanamaskara position 7 twisting towards left and right alternatively three times each side.
5.      Ardha Matsyendrasana 3 times.
6.      Pavana Muktasana.
7.      Udara Karsanasana.
Turn the right leg with the right sole as the hinge, such that the right knee touches the ground by the left side of the left foot. Twist the whole body, especially the stomach muscles.
Return to original position.
Repeat the process with the left leg and an elegant twist to the right. Return.
Repeat three times on each side.
If a sensation to excrete is there, go to the toilet and empty the bowel.
Drink about ½ litre of water again and perform the same series of exercises.
Repeat 3 or 4 times until you get the sensation,
Sometimes if there is no sensation of excretion even after 3 or 4 repetitions, Chakrasana is performed. This helps to push out the excreta more efficiently.
After excretion again drink about the same quantity of water and repeat the exercises.
Empty the bowl. This time, the motion would be thinner and would come out with yellowish water.
Repeat till mere water is reported.
Relax completely in Savasana for at least an hour. During this period, small quantities of water may get emptied from the stomach a few times.
Eat khichdi(rice and dhal boiled together preferably without salt) with about 4-6 teaspoonful pure ghee. Leave about an hour after Savasana. No spices or hard food should be taken for the next 12 hours.
As SankhaPraksalana Kriya is exhausting because of the vigorous exercises involved and complete washing out of the juices, a whole day’s rest is beneficial and almost essential the first time, After the process is learned, this kriya is to be performed only once or twice in a year.
This complete wash of the bowel clears all the waste products in the intestine. Sankha_Praksalana revitalizes all the glands in the intestinal tract. Helps in overcoming the tamas(Laziness). When performed under guidance, it is useful in treating chronic disorders of the large intestine.

Pavana Muktasana Kriya(Wind Releasing technique)

Pavana Mukatasana  Kriya Type 1.
Sthiti: lie supine on the ground over the blanket, heels together, arms stretched above the head.
Sthithi represents the starting position to be assumed before the asana.
1.      Raise the right leg keeping it straight to about 45 degrees from the ground. Keep the left leg firmly on the ground. Inhale partially.
2.      Place the right leg perpendicular to the ground; complete inhalation.
3.      Bend the right leg and press the knees over the chest by holding the legs interlocked fingers of the hands. Exhale.
4.      Take the chin above the knees. Rotate the left leg in an elliptical fashion five times in the anticlockwise direction. Healthy Breathing.
Return to Sthiti position through 5 to 8.
Repeat with the left leg.
Pavana Muktasana Kriya type 2
Start from Sthi
ti position.
1.      Take both legs to 45 degrees position; keep the knees straight. Inhale slowly.
2.      Bring the feet perpendicular to the complete ground inhalation.
3.      Bend the knees, press them on to the chest by the hands with interlocked fingers. Exhale take the chin above the knees.
4.      Bring the chin above the knees. Roll the body to the right until the right elbow touches the ground,
Rock the body forwards and backward about five times. Regular breathing.
Return  Sthiti through 5 to 8.

Benefits: The movements coupled with the posture of the body in Pavana Muktasana help to remove the gaseous accumulations in the stomach increases the digestive power and remove constipation.