Kriyas (or shatkarma: six actions) are yogic cleansing techniques to purify the body and mind of physical and mental toxins. The purpose of these techniques is to balance the two main energy channels - Ida and Pingala. Kriyas are recommended to balance the doshas (Elements air, fire, earth and water, which together and in varying amounts define our constitution, Vata, Pita, Kapha).
Kriyas promote the free flow of energy and physical health. Thus, the kriyas act on the doshas. Practices that eliminate mucus balance the Kapha dosha. Those targeting bile try to balance the Pitta dosha, and those treating the colon and "air" in the body, tend to pacify the Vata dosha.
There are 6 groups of Kriyas:
1 - Dhauti: Cleansing the digestive system
-Danta Dhauti: Brushing the gums and teeth.
-Jihva Dhauti Tongue washing with a copper tongue scraper.
-Jala Dhauti: Drinking a large glass of lukewarm water with lemon juice every morning. Ideally the water should be close to the body temperature. The water should not be boiling so as not to "kill" the vitamins in the lemon.
2- Neti: Cleansing of the nostrils
Cleansing in order to combat the effects of polution and dust. Allows to fight rhinitis, sinusitis...
- Jala Neti: a container filled with hot salted water is used in order to clean one nostril after the other (see article on the subject).
Technique which allows to relieve the tiredness of the eyes, the headaches, and is a means of prevention against the cold, sinusitis.
-Sutra Neti: It consists of passing a thread through a nostril and to make it come out through the mouth. We recommend that you seek the help of a teacher who practices this technique in order to perform it. This practice can be very difficult and unpleasant.
3- Tratak: (purification of the eyes)
Tratak consists of fixing the gaze on a particular point or object without blinking. For example, in a sitting, stable posture as in meditation, one stares for a few minutes at the flame of a candle. One can also practice Tratak by concentrating on a black dot on a wall or a sheet of paper.
It mainly helps to develop the power of concentration and also helps to strengthen the eyes by strengthening the eye muscles.
Being a very good exercise to refocus one's mind, it can be practiced as a meditation exercise.
4-Khalapabhati: detoxifying breathing
Exercise purifies the nasal cavities and lungs.
It is one of the six Kriyas, but it is also a Pranayama exercise.
It helps in controlling the movement of the diaphragm and suppressing spasms of the bronchi. People suffering from ashme will benefit greatly from it. Before trying breathing exercises it is essential to master Kapalabhati well.
5-Nauli: Abdominal Stirring
Nauli is a practice that aims to strengthen the abdominal muscles and removes sluggishness of the stomach, intestines and liver by causing a massage of the digestive organs. Hence it regulates and promotes elimination.
According to Indian medicine, many diseases originate in the digestive system and the waste that remains stored is responsible for various disorders.
6 -Vasti: colon cleansing
Cleansing by enema, to be done at a specialized center
The kriyas are in sadhana, the first step before pranayama, asanas and meditation.