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"Shatkarma" According to HathaYog Pradipika

 Six yogic activities for body purification described in HathaYog Pradipika.

In the second chapter of Hatha Yog Pradipika, Swami Swatmaram ji has mentioned six purification activities for the purification of the body. These six purification actions are called Shatkarma.  Hatha Yoga Pradipika believes that these six exercises are necessary for the purification of the nadis before the practice of breathing control (Pranayama). In other words if there is excess of phlegm or air in the body, these six should be performed before performing the breath control.

According to Hathayog pradipika, a brief description of Shatkarma is as follows.

"Shatkarmas" means six karma by which the body is purified. The right sequence of Shatkarma described in the HathaYog Pradipika is- (1) Dhauti (2) Basti (3) Neti (4) Trataka (5) Nauli (6) Kapalabhati.

1. Dhauti-

A strip of cloth, moist with warm water, about 03 inches wide and 15 cubits long, is swallowed through the passage shown by the Guru, and is taken out again--this is known as Dhauti karma. By practising it, cough, asthma, enlargement of the spleen, leprosy and 20 kinds of diseases born of phlegm are disappeared.

2. Basti-

Squatting in navel -deep water and inserting a pipe, open at both ends, six inches long, smooth piece of 1/2 inch diameter pipe, half inside the anus, the anus should be contracted and expelled. This is known as a Basti karma, by practising which, colic, enlarged spleen, dropsy arising from the disorders of vata, pitta and kapha are all cured. Secondly, the Dhatus, the sense organs and the mind become calm. It gives glow and tone to the body and increases the gastric fire. All the disorders disappear.

3. Neti-

A string (sutra) about nine inches long should be passed through the passage of the nose and the end of a string is taken out in the mouth-this is the Neti karma by which all the diseases of the cervical and scapular regions are destroyed. It is the cleaner of the brain and giver of divine sight.

4. Trataka-

 Being calm one should gaze steadily at a small mark, tll eyes are filled with tears this is Trataka which destroys the eye diseases and removes sloth etc.

5. Nauli- 

Resting the palms on the knee and in this bent posture, breathing out, the belly is moved forcibly from left to right and right to left - this is Nauli Karma which removes dyspepsia, increases the gastric fire dries up all the disorders and causes happiness. It is like the goddess of creation and known as the excellent exercise in Hatha yoga.

6. Kapalbhati- 

Exhaling very fast like a blacksmith's bellows is called Kapalbhati. Kapalbhati removes all the disorders caused by excess of Kapha.

Thus, one can easily attain success if the breath control is performed after being free from the phlegmatic disorders, impurities etc. by above mentioned six practices.