SHAT KRIYAS (SHAT KARMAS)
Kriyas are the yogic techniques to cleanse the internal organs. According to Hatha Yoga Pratipika of Swatmaram, there are six cleansing techniques called Shat Kriyas. They are Kapalabathi, Trataka, neti, Dhouti, Nauli and Basthi. Shat means ‘six’ and kriya means ‘cleansing’. Yogic kriyas remove the waste materials of our internal organs which are not expelled normally. Therefore, the aims of Hatha Yoga and of the Shatkriyas are to cleanse the internal organs and thereby create harmony between the major pranic flows, Ida and pingala, and attaining physical and mental purification and balance.
The shatkriyas are also used to balance the three doshas or humours in the body Kapha-the mucus, pitta-the bile and vata-the wind. According to both ayurveda and Hatha Yoga an imbalance of the doshas will result in illness. These practices are also used before pranayama and the other higher yoga practices in order to purify the body from toxins and to ensure safe and successful progression along th spiritual path.
These powerful techniques should never be learned from the books or taught by inexperienced people. According to the tradition only those instructed by a guru may teach others. It is essential to be personally instructed as to how and when to perform them according to individual needs.