Dhauti Karma - How to Do, Precautions and Benefits
This cleansing Karma is used to train the mind and body for voluntary control over the anti-peristaltic or peristaltic movement of the digestive system. Dhauti Karma helps in the cleansing of the stomach and digestive tract.
Different types of Dhauti Karma mentioned are mentioned in Gheranda Samhita an Hath Yoga Pardipika.
Four types of Dhauti Karma have been mentioned in Gheranda Samhita
Gheranda Samhita, Prathama Updesha, 13
अन्त धौति र्दन्तधौति हृद धौति मूलशोधनम्।
धौतिं चतुर्विधां कृत्वा घटं कुर्वन्तु निर्मलम्।।
धौति चार प्रकार की कही गयी है- अंत धौति, दन्तधौति, हृद धौति, एवं मूलशोधन। इस चतुष्प्रकारक धौति द्वारा का साधन करना चाहिये।।
- Antra Dhauti
- Danta Dhauti
- Hrida Dhauti
- Mula Shodhana
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– Dr. Sahil Gupta (B.A.M.S., M.H.A.)
Ayurvedic Allergy Specialist
CEO & Founder of IAFA®
Antra Dhouti: Gheranda Samhita, Pratham Updesha, 14
वात सारं वारि सारं वह्नि सारं बहिष्कृतं।
घटस्य निर्मलार्थाय अंतरधौतिश्चतुर्विधा।।
अन्त धौति चार प्रकार की होती है- वातसार, वारि सार, वह्नि सार और बहिष्कृत।
चार प्रकार वाली इस अन्तर्धौति के द्वारा शरीर को निर्मल बनाया जाता है।
Antra Dhauti is the procedure of internal cleansing of the body. It is further four types i.e.:
- Vata Sara Antra Dhauti
- Vaari Sara Antra Dhauti
- Vahni Sara Antra Dhauti
- Bahishkrit Antra Dhauti
In above mentioned four types of Antra Dhautis, Vata Sara, and Vahni Sara Antra Dhautis are very beneficial in IBD i.e., Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
What is Vata Sara Antra Dhauti?
As per classical texts:
Gheranda Samhita, Pratham Updesha, 15
काक चञ्चु वदास्येन पिबेद् वायुं शने: शनै: ।
चालयेदुदरं पश्चाद वर्त्मना रेचयेच्छनै:।।
अपने दोनों होंठों को कौवे के चोंच की तरह बनाकर धीरे-धीरे वायु का पान कर उसे जठर ( उदर ) में चारों ओर घुमा कर पुन: मुख द्वारा बाहर निकालने की क्रिया ही वात सार धौति कहलाती है ।
By making both your lips like a crow’s beak, after slowly drinking air and rotating it around in the stomach (abdomen), the act of expelling it again through the mouth is called Vata Saar Dhouti.
Benefits of Vata Sara Dhauti
Gheranda Samhita, Prathama Updesha, 16
वात सारं परम गोप्यं देहनिर्मलकारणम् ।
सर्वरोगक्षयकरं देहनल विवर्धकं।।
परम गोपनीय यह वातसार ही शरीर की निर्मलता का कारण है। यह वातसार शरीर के सभी रोगों को नष्ट करने वाला एवं जठराग्नि बढ़ाने वाला होता है।
This very secret Vaat Sara is the reason for the purity of the body. This Vatasar destroys all the diseases of the body and increases gastric fire.
Vata Sara Antra Dhauti Karma in Shiva Samhita:
वातसार के विवेचन- क्रम में शिव संहिता में कहा गया –
काक चञ्चवा पिबेद वायुं शीतल वा विचक्षण: ।
प्राणपानिविधानज्ञ: स भवेन्मुक्तिभाजन: ।।
सरसं यः पिबेद्वायुं प्रत्यहं विधिना सुधी: ।
नश्यन्ति योगिनस्तस्य श्रमदाहजरामया: ।।
काक चञ्चवा पिबेद्वायुं सन्ध्ययोरुभयोरपि।
कुण्डलिन्या मुखे ध्यात्वा क्षयरोगस्य शान्तये।।
आहर्निशं पिबेद्योगी काक चञ्चवा विचक्षण:।
दूरश्रुतिर्दूरदृष्टिस्तथा स्याददर्शन॑ खलु।।
आशय यह है कि बुद्धिमान् योगी द्वारा अपने मुख को कौवे की चोंच के समान बनाकर उससे शीतल वायु का पान करना चाहिये। जो योगी प्राण एवं अपान नामक द्वि प्रकारक वायु की विधि को जानते हैं, वे ही मुक्ति का आलिंगन कर पाते हैं।जो योगी प्रतिदिन विधिपुर्वक रसयुक्त वायु का पान करते हैं, उन पर श्रम, दाह, जरा, रोग इत्यादि कोई भी आक्रमण करने में समर्थ नहीं हो पाते। वायुपान करते हुये योगी को इस प्रकार की चिन्तना करनी चाहिये कि कुण्डलिनी ही अपने मुख से वायु का पान करती है। प्रात: एवं सन्ध्या समय में काक चञ्चु सदृश मुख से वायु का पान करना चाहिये। ऐसा करने से शरीर के क्षयरोग का विनाश होता हैं। अहर्निश काक चञ्चु सदृश मुख से वायु-पान करने वाला बुद्धिमान् योगी दूरस्थ शब्द-श्रवण एवं दूरस्थ वस्तु दर्शन की शक्ति भी प्राप्त कर सकता है। इसमें किसी प्रकार कां कोई सन्देह नहीं करना चाहिये।
The meaning is that a wise yogi should make his mouth like a crow’s beak and drink cool air from it. Only those yogis who know the method of two types of air called Prana and Apana can embrace liberation. Those yogis who drink rasa-rich air every day, cannot be attacked by labor, burns, old age, disease, etc. While drinking air, the yogi should think in such a way that Kundalini only drinks the air from her mouth. In the morning and evening time, air should be drunk with the mouth like a cockroach. By doing this, the tuberculosis of the body is destroyed. A wise yogi, who takes air from the mouth like a horned cock, can also get the power of remote word-hearing and distant object sighting. There should not be any doubt about it.
Procedure : How to perform Vatsara Dhauti Karma
Vata Sara means drinking of air. In this cleansing process, Vata (air) is the medium of cleansing.
- This procedure is done in Kaki Mudra i.e The mouth is contracted like a Kaka Chouncha (Crow’s beak).
- In this Mudra, the air is sucked slowly.
- The upper stomach and intestine are filled with this Vayu continuously, by sucking air in Kaki Mudra.
- Hold this vayu in the intestine for a few periods and then slowly release it in a downward direction through the anus (lower passage).
Benefits of Dhauti Karma in IBD (Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease)
This cleansing procedure helps increase digestive capacity, and enhance metabolism. Thus, helping to cure various symptoms related to IBD i.e. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
What is Vahni Sara Antra Dhauti?
As per classical texts:
Gheranda Samhita, Pratham Updesha, 20
नाभि ग्रंथि मेरुपृष्ठे शतवारञ्च कारयेत।
अग्निसारमियं धौति योंगिनां योगसिद्धिदा।
उद्रामयजं त्यक्त्वा जठराग्निं विवर्द्धयेत।।
अपने श्वास को अवरुद्ध कर स्वशरीर के मध्यभागस्थ नाभिग्रन्थि को पृष्ठस्थ मेरुपृष्ठ के साथ एक सौ बार संयुक्त करने की क्रिया ही अग्निसार धौति कहलाती है। यह अग्निसार धौति योगियों के लिये योग का सिद्धि प्रदान करने वाली होती है। यह धौति उदर् एवं आमय से उत्पन्न होने वाले रोगसमूहों का नाश कर जठराग्नि को उद्दीपित करती है अर्थात् इस अग्निसार धौति का सतत् अभ्यास करने पर मनुष्य को पेट एवं आमाशय से सम्बन्धित रोग नहीं होते तथा उसकी जठराग्नि अत्यन्त प्रदीप्त हो जाती है।
By blocking your breath, the action of connecting the navel in the middle part of the body with the dorsal spinal cord one hundred times is called Agnisara Dhauti. This Agnisar Dhauti is supposed to give the accomplishment of yoga to the yogis. This dhauti destroys the diseases arising from the stomach and the common people and stimulates the gastric Agni, that is, on the continuous practice of this Agnisar dhauti, a person does not have diseases related to the stomach and stomach and his stomach becomes very illuminating.
Gheranda Samhita, Pratham Prakarana, 21
एषा धौति: परा गोप्य देवानामपि दुर्लभा ।
केवल धौति मात्रेण देव देहम भवेद् ध्रुवम्।।
यह अग्निसार धौति परम गोपनीय होने के फलस्वरूप देवताओं के लिये भीअत्यन्त दुर्लभ है अर्थात् अतिशय प्रयत्न के पश्चात् हीं देवताओं को भी इसके प्राप्ति हो पाती है; फिर सामान्य मनुष्य के लिये तो कहना ही कया है? अतएव मात्र इस अग्निसार धौति के अभ्यास से ही मनुष्य देवसदृश शरीर को प्राप्त कर लेता है। यह सर्वथा निश्चित है। आशय यह है कि अग्निसार धौति के पूर्ण अभ्यास से मनुष्य देवतुल्य हो जाता है।
This Agnisar Dhauti is extremely rare even for the deities as a result of being extremely secretive, that is, it is attained by the deities only after a lot of effort; Then what is there to say for the common man? Therefore, only by the practice of this Agnisar Dhauti, one attains the body of God. It is certain. The meaning is that by the full practice of Agnisara Dhauti, man becomes godlike.
The procedure of Vahni Sara (Agni Sara) Dhauti Karma
Vahni or Agni means fire and Sara means essence i.e essence of fire (Manipura Chakra). It acts on Manipura Chakra. Vahni Sara is the procedure in which cleansing occurs by means of Agni (fire). Vahni Sara or Agni Sara cleansing process involves the movement of abdominal organs and abdominal muscles, due to which heat is induced from the inside of the body. It is one of the important procedures that should be done as a part of the preparation (Purva Karma) of Bhastrika Pranayama, Kapala Bhati, etc.
Steps: How to Perform Vahni Sara (Agni Sara) Dhauti Karma
- Relax in Vajrasana Pose.
- Keep your finger on Nabhi (Naval pit).
- Press the Nabhi (naval point) towards Pristh, Merusth (spine).
- Repeat this procedure 100 times.
Benefits of Vahni Sara (Agni Sara) Dhauti Karma
- Deeply massage the abdominal organs
- Strengthen the abdominal muscles
- Reduce abdominal fat
- Simulate the nerve supply related to the digestive system
- Increase the capacity to digest the food
- Promotes proper utilization of nutrients by allowing maximum assimilation, and balanced secretion of digestive juices.
- Beneficial to counteract all the symptoms related to IBD like indigestion, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, etc.
Vaari Sara Antra Dhauti Karma
In this Karma by oral administration of salt water, the intestinal tract is cleansed by removing the impurities. Vaari Sara is a type of Dhauti karma that belongs to its subtype i.e Aantra Dhauti Karma. It is also known as Shankha Prakshalana Karma. Sankha Prakshalana word is derived from two words Sankha means conch and Prakshalana means cleansing. Here Sankha word as conch represents the whole digestive system i.e from Mukha (mouth) to Guda (anus). Here Sankha Prakshalana means cleansing of the whole digestive system. Sankha Prakshalana another Variant or subtype is also mentioned i.e Laghu Sankha Prakshalana which is the same as Sankha Prakshalana but in this procedure, cleansing is done in Laghu rupa i.e in minimum proportion.
Varisara Dhauti Karma is also known as Kaya Kalpa as it helps in body transformation.
Gheranda Samhita, Pratham Prakarana, 17
आकण्ठं पूरयेद्वारि वक्त्रेण पिबेच्छनै: ।
चालयेदुद्रेणैव चोदरद्रेचयेदध: ।।
वारिसार कया है- यह बताते हैं जल को धीरे-धीरे कण्ठ तक पीना चाहिये, पुन: उसे उदर में डुलायें या चलायें और पुनः उस पानी का रेचन अधोमार्ग से कर देना चाहिये या (शौच स्थान या मलद्वार से) निकाल देना चाहिये।।
Water is filled in the mouth up to the throat and this is drunk slowly. This moves to the stomach and should be expelled through rectum.
Benefits of Vaari Sara Antra Dhauti Karma
Gheranda Samhita, Pratham Prakarana, 18
वारिसार पर गोप्य॑ देहनिर्मलकारकम् ।
साधयेत्तत्प्रयत्नेन देवदेहें प्रपद्ते।।
वारिसार का कया फल है, यह बताते हैं- यह वारिसार (नामक अतंधौंति क्रिया योगियों का विषय होने से) अतीव गोपनीय है । यह देह को निर्मल करने वाली है । अत: इसे प्रयत्नपूर्वक साधना चाहिये हा सत साक्षात देवताओं के समान देह प्राप्त हो जाती है।
One who practices Varisara cleans the body. By practicing Shankha Prakshalana carefully, one gets Kalpa Kaya (shining body).
The procedure of Varisara Dhauti Karma
Three steps are mentioned in the procedure of Vaari Sara/ Sankha Prakshalana
- Purva Karma
- Pradhana Karma
- Paschal Karma
Purva Karma (Pre-procedure Karma)
- Distilled water
- Clean, sterile vessels for water
- Well equipped toilet
Lavana Jala Nirmana Viddhi (Saltwater preparation)
Before starting the Vaarisara procedure, Lavana Jala should be made by adding one teaspoon full of salt to one liter of water by mixing well. More water is required in this procedure of Sankha Prakshalana, so you can prepare more quantities of salt water. Nimbuka (lemon) can be added in little amounts to this mixture, but it should be kept in mind to not add sugar to the mixture.
Where to perform Vaari Sara Dhouti Karma?
In the open area/ in the garden in the fresh air, along with this the area that is chosen for Karma should have adequate toilet facility.
At which time Varisara Dhauti Karma should be performed?
Sankha Prakshalana should be performed in Prabhat/ Praat Kala i.e in the morning between 6 to 7 am, not after that.
Pradhana Karma (Main procedure)
In Pradhana Karma firstly drink two glasses of prepared saline water in a sitting position. After consumption of saline water, the below-mentioned Asana should be performed i.e
- Tada Asana
- Tiryaka Tadasana
- Kati Chakra Asana
- Tiryaka Bhujangasana
- Udara Karshana Asana
Every time after taking two glasses of water, Asana is performed. A total of approximately 16 glasses of Lavana Jala (Saline water) should be taken and evacuated through the bowels.
These Asanas are performed in between as this Asana helps in the easy movement of saline water toward the bowels. If there is the urge of evacuating in between the Asana, stop doing the Asana and first evacuate. After successive evacuation, less Mala (stool) and more water will be evacuated first the water is of a cloudy yellow color than white color. Once the white clear water starts evacuating one can feel lightness in the digestive system specifically in the stomach and intestine. When this stage is achieved, stop doing the Pardhana Karma.
The sequence of evacuation in Sankha Prakshalana
- At first, Solid stool (Badh Mala) is passed
- After that mixture of stool and water is passed
- Followed by more water and less solid stool evacuation
- As practice in the prescribed manner progresses cloudy yellow water
- Finally, almost clear water is evacuated
Paschata Karma (Post- procedure Karma)
After the main Karma, Kunjal kriya followed by Neti Karma is advised to be done by the patient to get the best results. After that the patient is advised to take rest for approximately two hours in Shava Asana. It should be kept in mind to not sleep during resting in Shava Asana. One should void urine during the resting phase but avoid talking and any other activities during the resting phase.
After taking rest one can take Laghu Aahara i.e light food i.e Rice with Moong Daal with added Ghee and salt. The diet should be followed as prescribed by the instructor as it is one of the major Shodhana Karma and if in post-procedure time instructions are not followed properly as instructed may result in a negative effect on performer health.
Instruction that should be followed strictly are as follows:
- Take rest in Shava Asana for at least 2 hours after the main procedure
- Don’t sleep at least 3 hours after the intake of the first meal after the main procedure.
- Avoid mental and physical work during the post-procedure phase for at least 3-4 days after the main procedure.
- Follow the diet instructions as advised for at least 7 days.
Pattern of Sankha Prakshalana
1 round of lavana Jala (salt water)- 1 glass then Asana and evacuation are done on the first day then on the next one glass is increased, and the same procedure is followed. In this way, Vaari Sara Karma should be complete in 6 days.
How often Vaari Sara Antra Dhauti Karma should be performed?
The 6 days consecutive Karma of Vaari Sara should be done once in 6 months.
Laghu Vaari Sara or Laghu Shankha Prakshalana Karma
Laghu Vaari Sara Karma is similar to Vaari Sara in all Purva, Pradhana, and Paschata Karma except in this Karma the Saline water intake is less that is between 6- 8 glasses that is approximately half of Vaari Sara Prakshalna. Along with this in Laghu Sankha Prakshalana juice of garlic and onion is also used by diluting in water instead of Saline water or celery or carrot juice is used instead of saline water.
Anatomy of Shankha Prakshalana/ Vaari Sara Aantra Dhouti Karma
4 types of valves are involved in the passage of food in our Gastrointestinal tract i.e., Lower esophageal sphincter or Valve, Pyloric sphincter or Valve, Ileocecal valve, Anal valve or valve of Ball. Due to the complexity and day-to-day stress of the GIT system, there is a restriction in the flow in the valve or sphincter and as a result in the system. When the system becomes inefficient and loses its normal function, gradually it results in auto toxemia, where the body’s own waste begins to poison itself. A few reasons why this auto toxemia occurs are a sedentary lifestyle, poor food habits, Habitual snacking, dehydration, late eating hours, etc. Vaari Sara Aantra Dhauti Karma or Shankhaprakshalana when practiced in a prescribed manner results in reconditions of the function of the valves and eliminates all types of Aam (toxins) out of the bloodstream and helps to pacify the diseases.
Physiology of Shankha Prakshalana or Varisara Dhauti Karma
The Asana is done during the Sankha Prakshalana and this Asana has a great impact on the whole digestive system.
- In the starting, Tada Asana and Tiryaka Tada Asana are done. These asanas put strain and unfold the extra fold that is created in the stomach and duodenum. As a result of this unfolding water moves easily in a downward direction with the remnant matter of the intestine.
- After this Kati Chakra Asana is performed which helps in the twisting of the small intestine which results in the mixing of matter and water in the intestine. Due to mixing it becomes Mridu (soft) and thus moving towards a downward direction becomes easy.
- After Kati Chakra Asana, Tiryaka Bhujangasana is performed, due to which twisting and straightening occur at a time of small and large intestines. This makes the further movement of water easy in a downward direction.
- Lastly, Udara Karshana Asana is performed which results in massaging and squeezing of the sigmoid colon, caecum, and rectum along with this it also stimulates the reflex that is characterized as Recto sphincteric reflex which results in distension of the rectum or urge to defecate.
Process of Shankha Prakshalana is completed after cleaning of Aantra (intestines) i.e., passing of clear fluid.
Benefits of Vaari Sara Antra Dhauti Karma/ Laghu Vaari Sara Antra Dhauti Karma
- This Karma helps to clean the entire digestive system and helps to remove impurities from GIT.
- It helps to cure various digestive disorders like indigestion, constipation, Crohn’s disease, etc.
- This Karma helps to enhance metabolic function, and strengthen the digestive organs.
- Helps to clean the whole body.
- The constant practice of Sankha Prakshalana provides divine, Deva Deha.
- Tones up the entire intestinal tract.
- Sankha Prakshalana cleanses the intestine completely i.e is the seat of Agni and the root cause of all Rogas is Mandagni. It helps each cell of the body to work properly thus helping to remove the root cause of the diseases.
- It generally tones digestive organs, glands, and the liver.
- Shankha Prakshalana Karma has been used in the cure of hypoglycemia, obesity, diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and high lipid levels.
- It strengthens the immune system and helps to treat various immunological problems.
- It helps to relieve various allergies.
- It helps relieve the symptoms of chronic inflammatory diseases and Amavata (arthritis).
- Sankha Prakshalana helps to reduce excessive mucus thus helping to relieve chronic colds, sinusitis, and asthma.
- This Karma helps to purify the Rakta (blood) and alleviates skin problems such as Mukha Dushika (pimples), Pidika (boils), and eczema.
Contraindication of Vaari Sara/ Shankha Prakshalana Karma
Sankha Prakshalana is contraindicated in Chronic Peptic Ulcer, hypertension, Pregnant and menstruating women, persons with renal failure (End stage), hernia, and heart patients. A person with mental disorders and children under the age of 10 should also avoid this Sankha Prakshalana procedure. This procedure should also be avoided in Durbala (weak and debilitated) patients.
Apathya during Shankha Prakshalana Karma/ Varisara Dhauti Karma
- Non-vegetarian foods must be strictly avoided.
- Amla (sour), Katu (pungent), Kashaya (astringent), and spicy, acidic food should not be taken.
- Chemically processed food should be avoided.
- Sweets, soft drinks, chocolates, and ice cream should be strictly prohibited.
Article Written By: Dr. Sahil Gupta, Ayurvedic Allergy Specialist