Vyaghra Kriya

Names

Vyaghra Kriya, Vyagra Kriya, Vyagra karma, Baghi Kriya, Vaman Dhauti

Vyaghra Kriya belongs to ‘Vaman Dhauti’, a subcategory of the Dhauti cleansing techniques.


Vyaghra Kriya is a kriya or gesture for cleansing the stomach, very similar to the Kunjar Kriya. It is also called Baghi Kriya by some yogis. Both, ‘Vyaghra’ and ‘Bagh’ mean tiger.

How to perform Vyaghra Kriya

The difference between Kunjar Kriya and Vyaghra Kriya is that Kunjar is done on empty stomach whereas Vyaghra Kriya is done 3 to 4 hours after a meal. In very rare cases it is also done after an hour.


To perform Vyaghra Kriya, you drink 6 to 8 glasses of slightly salted warm water. You drink it fast and while drinking place your left hand on your navel to press it in. This action is done to prevent the water from going further down in your digestive track. While holding your hand there, you slightly bend forward. You can also spread your legs about two feet or a meter apart, just as you feel good and comfortable.


Now you put your index and middle finger of the right hand into your mouth, press the root of your tongue down and rub it.


This will make you vomit and will bring out the water that you drank together with any undigested food. If there was anything else in your belly that was not right or which was stuck at some point of the stomach, it comes out in this way.


You can repeat this drinking and vomiting for a maximum of three times in a row. It is suggested to do it three times if you want your stomach to be completely clean. If you do it three times, there should be only clean water.

Advice for Caution

This Kriya must be taught by an experienced teacher and should be done under the guidance of an instructor until it is mastered. This Kriya should only be done once in one day, not more than that, and it is not suggested to perform it on a daily basis.
Only do this Kriya as a treatment against feeling sick after food intake.


Some yoga teacher recommend this practice more often however if the body is healthy, there is no need to and using this Kriya for cleansing too often can weaken your body and upset digestion as well as metabolism.

Benefits of Vyaghra Kriya

The Vyaghra Kriya is advised against indigestion and if you have eaten something that is giving you pain. If you feel discomfort and heavy because of what you have eaten, the Vyaghra Kriya makes you feel light.


Of course this can be done when you feel nauseous after food to reduce any kind of bad food or poison from the body. In this way you can also regain energy which you lose when you ate something bad.


Through the vomiting, you don’t only cleanse your stomach but also any excessive mucus in your respiratory system.


It is additionally said to be beneficial against biliousness.

Tips and Help

Check whether the water is nicely drinkable, not too warm and not too cold as you need to drink it fast.


If you are planning and intending to practice Vyaghra Kriya, it is advisable to eat something light such as Khichari before and also as your next meal.


After performing the Kriya, you can place a piece of cardamom into your mouth and slowly chew on it to reduce the bad taste in the mouth and the pitta created by inducing the vomiting.

Vastra Dhauti

Names

Vastra Dhauti

Vastra is the Sanskrit word for cloth.


Vastra Dhauti is the most commonly known practice of Dhauti and so even people unfamiliar with yoga might know the practice of swallowing a cloth.

How to perform Vastra Dhauti

Take a very soft cloth made of pure cotton with a width of six or seven centimeters and a length of six meters. One usually uses muslin because it is not coloured, very fine, not embroidered and not printed upon.


Take two or two and a half glasses of warm water in a bowl and add half a teaspoon of salt into it. Soak the cloth in this water until it is fully wet.

This technique should only be done with empty stomach.

Sit in Utkatasana or Malasana with a glass of drinking water next to you. Take a gulp of water to wet your throat and esophagus. Now take one end of the cloth, put it into your mouth and slowly start swallowing it. Whenever you feel difficulty, take a sip of water and continue. On the first day, only put the cloth about twenty centimeters down. The next day you can put it a bit further and so on until one day you can swallow the complete cloth except for half a meter which you need to keep out in able to pull it back out later.

For the complete practice of this Kriya, get up then, bend forward and practice Nauli. Come back up again and slowly pull out the cloth.


Sterilize the cloth after using it so that you can reuse it next time.

Benefits of Vastra Dhauti

The stomach is a very important part of the body as all input of food and beverages reaches there and is further processed there to finally reach our cells in the form of energy and life force. If our stomach is not clean, our complete system feels the consequences such as building of gas, bile, nausea, acidity, bad breath and bad-smelling sweat. There are many more such problems and for all of them, Vastra Dhauti is considered as a very good practice. It keeps the stomach clean and thus the system healthy.


With this practice, mucus is cleaned from the esophagus and stomach and thus Kapha related problems can be relieved.


By the cleansing of the stomach, toxins which were stuck there and which spread their unhealthy effects across the body get cleaned which can relieve skin disorders and acne.
Of course this cleansing of the stomach also helps the rest of the digestive system as well as other organs such as the liver and spleen.


With regular practice you may also experience that your breathing gets lighter and your respiratory system gets relief. Asthma attacks can get less.

Advice for Beginners

Please only try this technique under guidance and supervision of an experienced yoga teacher.


Start including the Nauli only when you have mastered the taking in and out of the cloth smoothly.

Tips and Help

Relax. This is one of the most important points of this exercise. Don’t hesitate and don’t think of Vastra Dhauti as something dirty or disgusting. It is cleansing and helps you.


Relaxing will thus reduce the urge to vomit. The more practice you have, the easier it will be.
If the cloth seems to get stuck when taking it out, relax and drink a bit water. This will make the cloth smoother and easier to come out.

Upavistha Konasana

Names

Upavistha Konasana, Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend

How to perform Upavistha Konasana

Sit in Dandasana with your legs and spine straight. Spread your legs apart as wide until you feel a light stretch in your upper inner thighs. Bend forward with exhalation as much as possible. The aim is to place your upper body flat on the floor with the chin on the floor.

Benefits of Upavistha Konasana

When you perform the wide seated forward bend, you will immediately feel where this yoga pose works: at the inner side as well as the back of your legs. The leg and thigh muscles as well as the hamstrings are being stretched.


Through the pressure on your belly, your intestines get a nice massage which stimulates your digestion.

Focus Points

In order to get the best effect of this exercise, you should keep your knees straight at all times and also try to keep your spine as straight as possible.

Tips and Help

In order to support your hips during this exercise, you can place a cushion or a rolled blanket under your buttocks.


If you have problems in bending forward, you can bring your legs closer together in beginning and then bend forward. After some practice however you should then try to open them wider again.


In your first attempts, you can place your hand on the floor and slowly move them further to the front, like walking on the floor.


If you want to feel some more stretch, you can grab your toes and pull yourself down.

Upavistha Konasana with a Partner

This yoga posture can nicely be practiced with a partner. Practicing it together makes it easier to go down with the upper body.


Sit in front of each other, spread the legs wide and let your feet touch each other with the soles. Now you hold your partner’s hands and pull him towards you until he tells you to stop. Hold him in this position and then slowly let him come up again. Then it is his turn to pull you down towards him.

Uddiyana Bandha – Upward Abdominal Lock

Names

Uddiyana Bandha , Abdominal Lock, Upward Abdominal Lock

How to perform Uddiyana Bandha

This posture can be performed while sitting or standing. Take a deep breath. Exhale completely until no air is left in your lungs and belly. In both, the standing and sitting position you should place your hands on your knees and lean forward during exhalation which will help you to press all air out.


After exhalation, hold your breath and contract your belly muscles so that your navel is pulled further inside and up, towards your middle back.


Stay in that position until you feel like inhaling. For coming out of the yoga pose relax your belly muscles and straighten your body with inhalation.

Benefits of Uddiyana Bandha

Uddiyana Bandha is one of the three major ‘body locks’ known as Tribandha.
It is a very beneficial pose for your complete respiratory system. It strengthens your diaphragm and your lungs and helps you to breathe easily after practice.

The Apana Vayu, the air located between navel and anus, is regulated which can prevent problems with gas in the intestines. It is also good for Samana Vayu which is the air in the navel region and can cause digestion problems when it is disturbed. Prana Vayu which lies in your heart region will also be regulated and thus acidity and breathing problems are prevented. You see that Uddiyana Bandha is beneficial for your complete torso.


It increases the digestive fire and detoxifies the digestive tract which improves your whole digestion.


Uddiyana Bandha helps against Colitis.


The contraction given by this posture is good for your solar plexus, which boosts your self-esteem and power of decision.


Additionally Uddiyana Bandha is used to increase and strengthen the blood flow in the brain and to regulate the blood circulation in your abdomen. It is healthy for your cardiac activity and the health of your heart. A regular practice can relieve problems with high blood pressure and the heart in general. Its benefits even go as far as to reduce problems with glaucoma.


Another area that greatly benefits from the practice of this yoga pose is the sexual organs of both men and women. You can practice Uddiyana Bandha for many kinds of sexual problems and dysfunctions.


Women can do this pose to reduce PMS pain during their cycle. It is good for the ovaries and the fallopian tubes and to prevent uterus collapses. If you suffer from irregular menstruations cycles or other genealogical problems this position might be a solution for you if you practice it regularly.


Men may find that premature ejaculation and hydrocele can be prevented with this pose.
Pain of a previous hernia injury can be relieved by performing this pose.


It is also a beneficial exercise for the bladder, the urinal tract and the gall bladder.
As Uddiyana Bandha contracts liver, kidneys, spleen, pancreas and colon, it improves their performance.

When you start practicing this exercise you will quickly notice that it strengthens the abdominal muscles. This naturally gives your belly a nice shape and makes this exercise very effective for losing extra belly fat.

Focus Points

While you are in the pose you should concentrate on pulling your navel as much up and in as possible.

Tips and Help

Perform this posture always with an empty stomach. Doing it with full stomach can give you belly and stomach pain.


Always exhale from your mouth to get all air out of your body.


Do not inhale while trying to keep the posture. When you feel like inhaling, come up and let your belly fill itself with air.


Please take care not to overwork or cross your limits. It could make you dizzy and you even lead to fainting, if you don’t listen to your body.

Sutra Neti – String Neti

Names

Sutra Neti, String Neti, String Nasal Cleaning, Nasal Cleaning

Neti is one of the six Kriyas, the ‘Shatakarma’. There are four different ways of doing Neti: Jala Neti, Dugdha Neti, Ghrit Neti and Sutra Neti.

Sutra means string and that is usually a string made of soft cotton. As it is however not easy to find a soft string suitable for this Kriya, it is nowadays often replaced by a thin catheter.

How to perform Sutra Neti

If you wish to do Sutra Neti, you should be practiced in Jala Neti, the practice of Neti with water, otherwise it will be difficult for you to do the practice with a string or catheter.
Take a cotton string, about 12 to 18 inches long, which you have boiled in water to kill off any bacteria. When it is cool, you can apply warm melted Ghee to the string. Mustard oil can also be used but the scriptures mention Ghee as the best lubricant recommended by Ayurvedic science.

Another opinion about the cotton string is that one should use bee wax to harden it a bit in order to let it go through more easily. This can however make the string too hard, too, so if you are worried about it, maybe a catheter would be easiest for you.


Before starting, it is wise to perform two rounds of Dirgha Pranayama and Nadi Shodhana Pranayama in order to prepare your nose for this practice and to relax your body and mind.
Sit in Utkatasana or simply squat down. Lean forward, take the string and start inserting one end slowly into that nostril which is the active one. When you go deeper, you will notice it touching the nasal walls, then it reaches the nasal cavity. It is like a deep cave, broad in front and narrow in the back.

If you know this, you can have a better feeling of where the string will go on now. It goes through the nasal cavity and then down the throat. From there it should come out itself into the mouth. If not, put the index and middle finger of your second hand into your mouth, grab the string and pull the second end out without leaving the other side.


Now you can give a gently massage by moving the string front and back a bit. After two to six movements you can pull the string out through your throat.
Repeat the same practice from your other nostril.

When you are done with both sides, sniff out forcefully. Afterwards you should give your system rest by lying in Balasana for a minute and then in Shavasana for another minute until the body is fully relaxed.

Benefits of Sutra Neti

Obviously you get all the cleansing benefits of Jala Neti if you perform Neti with a string. Additionally you stimulate the nasal cavity, walls and glands which cannot be done with water.


The string opens the nasal cavity completely so that breathing gets easier. The nerves in that area are stimulated.


Performing Sutra Neti is very good against sinusitis and other issues with nose, eyes, ears and generally with breathing.


Sutra Neti is also a good exercise in preparation for performing Khechari Mudra.

Focus Points

There should not be pain in any condition. If you are experiencing pain it mean something is going wrong. Maybe you are forcing it too hard or doing it too fast or the catheter is not soft enough and sharp on the edges. In this case do not continue taking the string or catheter out but take a break and start again later.


Try not to force it against the nasal wall but insert it slowly. If you are still experiencing the pain in practice then you must consult your yoga teacher or Doctor and get your nose checked as this should not be happening.

Tips and Help

Don’t rush or be in a hurry. Take your time. Some people can do this Kriya easily and for others it takes months of practice. So don’t worry if it doesn’t work straight away but try again.


It may happen that you feel like sneezing during this practice, that you feel ticklish in the back of nose and mouth or that you even feel nauseous. That is a normal reaction of the body to this unusual experience. It will get better, keep on trying!


Some people say you should take the string out from the nose, not from the mouth, as this will give another experience to your nasal cavity. You can do that as well, but especially in the beginning this will be difficult. You can practice it in both ways and remain with whatever feels better for you.

Sthula Basti

Names

Sthula Basti

The Sanskrit word Sthula has various meanings from heavy and large to thick, fat and big. When you one says ‘Sthula Sharir’, it means the physical, solid body.

Sthula Basti is thus the practice of Basti with your physical body.

How to perform Sthula Basti

Always perform Sthula Basti on empty stomach.


Sit in Dandasana and open your hips with the help of your hands, so that your Mooladhar Chakra, coccyx bone and anus touch the floor. Now move your right hip to the front while the left hip goes back and then the other way around. Now turn them clockwise and after that anticlockwise.

Benefits of Sthula Basti

This exercise is good for giving a kind of internal colon massage. By the movement you release stuck gas from your colon and force down any waste that may be stuck at the walls of the colon. In this way it releases toxins which can cause problems in the intestines.
At the same time it releases stress and tension from the pelvic floor and coccyx area.

Your complete anal region, perineum, hips and buttocks are massaged.
This massage is also good for your sexual energy.

Tips and Help

A good way to encourage your hips to move can be playing music during this exercise.

When to avoid Sthula Basti

This Kriya should not be performed if you have pressure of urine or stool and also not if you suffer from cramps or stomach pain, piles or diarrhea.

Sthala Basti – Air Enema

Names

Sthala Basti, Vata Basti, Air Basti, Air Enema

How to perform Sthala Basti

There are many different ways explained of how to do Sthala Basti. Every teacher may have his own experience, so you can learn it in one way and then try other possibilities to see which one is best for you. Here you will find descriptions for three different postures: half Paschimottanasana, in lying and in Utkatasana .

Sthala Basti starting from Paschimottanasana

Start going in Paschimottanasana, which means that you sit with your legs stretched out in front of you and then you bend forward. You do not however fully place your upper body on your legs but only bend forward halfway. You can open your hips with your hands before to sit more properly. Now you perform Uddiyana Bandha and then contract your anal muscles in to suck air inside. Move it in and then take it out again as flatulence.

Sthala Basti in lying Position

You can also perform Sthal Basti in lying position which may be easier, especially for beginners, as the organs and the rectum come further down. Lie on your back, bend your knees towards your chest, raise your buttocks and work with your sphincter muscles by contracting them in and sucking air into the colon.
Move the air in and then take it out as flatulence.

Sthala Basti in Utkatasana

Ancient scriptures suggest to use a hollow twig as a help for the practice of Sthala Basti in Utkatasana. Of course you can use a catheter or any other form of pipe nowadays, or also a Basti Yantra, which is a pipe, thinner on one side and wider on the other. This is a help for the beginning, once you have mastered the Kriya, you can practice without the pipe.


Sit in Utkatasana, insert the catheter or pipe into the colon and perform Uddiyama Bandha. After this, start sucking the air into your colon, move it in and finally take it out as flatulence.

Perform this practice three to five times.

Benefits of Sthala Basti

Sthala Basti is very good against gas problems in the colon. If there is air stuck in colon, intestines or bowels, you take it out with the practice of Sthala Basti. Belly pain related to gas is relieved and the Vata in your body is balanced.


Without gas problems, your digestive system works much better and thus bowel irregularities and even IBS, the irritable bowel syndrome, can be cured.
You prevent piles and other problems.


When your digestion does not work properly, your mental situation is usually disturbed as well. You don’t feel good and have difficulties concentrating. Sometimes even headaches are the result of intestinal problems.

Focus Points

You have to focus on the work of your sphincter muscles. This may be difficult in the beginning, as you are not used to actively pull air in but you will get used to it.

Tips and Help

It may alleviate your practice to perform this Kriya naked, without clothes that may disturb the intake of air.

Shirshasana – Head Stand

Names

Shirshasana, Sirsana, Sirshasana, Head Stand

How to perform Shirshasana

Fold a blanket and place it in front of you. Sit on your toes and place your knees on the floor. Grab your elbows with your hands so that your lower arms touch each other. Place your arms in front of your knees. Now open your arms and interlace your fingers in front of your knees on the blanket so that your hands look like a triangle.


Place the top of your head on the blanket and support the back of your head with your interlaced hands by placing them on the back of your head. Straighten your knees so that you are only on your feet, arms and head. Make sure your back is also straight.


Now slowly shift your body weight to the front, over your head, and walk closer to your body with your toes. When you feel your back is in an angle of 90 degrees to the floor, start lifting your feet with exhalation from the ground and bring them up and straight, in vertical alignment with your body.


When you feel strain or, at the maximum, after three to five minutes, you slowly bring your feet down to the floor and come out of the pose.

Benefits of Shirshasana

The head stand is considered as one of the best yoga poses because of its vast amount of benefits and is, for that reason, sometimes called the ‘King of Yoga Poses’


Through the upside-down position, your blood flows more easily down where now is your head and your brain. This inversion is good for the blood circulation and your heart. The blood is purified and cleansed through its strengthened flow.


Through the easy flow of blood into your head, the whole area is supplied with fresh oxygen which helps your brain to work properly and better. You will realize that you can concentrate better and your memory improved.


A better blood circulation can prevent headaches and migraines. People suffering from insomnia can also get relief by practicing this yoga pose. Even epilepsy is said to be relieved for yoga practitioners who do the head stand.


Your ears, eyes and nose benefit from the circulation as well and many issues can be prevented through inverted yoga postures like Shirshasana.


The scalp is supplied with blood which stimulates the growth of hair and can even prevent hair loss if it was caused by poor circulation.


This yoga exercise stimulates the thyroid gland, the pituitary and the pineal glands and thus improves their functions.


Of course it is an exercise that strengthens your muscles and with all these effects it also makes your immune system stronger and more resistant.


The head stand is also said to help with many sexual problems.

Focus Points

Keep normal breathing while you are in this pose. Try to straighten your legs up so that your body is a straight vertical line.

Tips and Help

Before performing Shirshasana you should already be warm and have done some exercise. Exhaling while lifting your legs will make it easier for you to come up.


If you are new to this exercise, you can first practice performing Ardha Shirshasana and when you have gained balance in this pose move on to the full head stand.

When to avoid Shirshasana

Do not hold this pose for a longer time, even though you feel you are capable of doing so. The pressure on your head and the blood circulating there can have negative effects if you hold the pose too long. Whenever you feel strain, come out of the yoga pose.


If you suffer from headache or a serious eye disease such as glaucoma, you should avoid this pose. High blood pressure patients and people with cardiac problems should also not practice the head stand. If you had neck injuries or hernia or if you currently suffer from back pain, you should always consult your doctor before performing this yoga pose.
Women should avoid Shirshasana during menstruation time and pregnancy.

Sarvangabaddhasana

Names

Sarvangabaddhasana, Supta-Baddha-Asana, Complete body Lock

How to perform Sarvangabaddhasana

Lie flat on your back with your legs straight and your hands loosely by your side. Now cross your legs to Padmasan, the lotus seat and lift your legs up so that they come lying on your chest. Stretch out your arms in front of you and then place them down onto your legs, reaching with the hands to your buttocks if you can.

Benefits of Sarvangabaddhasana

Practicing this yoga pose, the complete body lock, is beneficial for your abdomen area. It can help you with gastric problems and enhances digestion.

Through the contraction of muscles in the pelvic region, sarvangabaddhasana also helps your sexual energy.


It brings flexibility to your legs and strength to your arms.

Focus Points

You should feel the stretch but not pain. While you are in the posture, keep on breathing normally. Inhale when you come out of the posture.

Tips and Help

Start with practicing Padmasana and forward-bending first before starting practice of the complete body lock.

When to Avoid doing Sarvangabaddhasana

Please avoid this yoga posture if you are suffering from any kind of back pain, joints pain, from heavy asthma or from diarrhea.

Samana Asana

Names

Samana Asana, Samana Air Posture

The pose is called Samana Asana because it has a direct effect on the Samana Vayu. The Samana Vayu is one of the five known Vayus, the airs in the body: Prana, Apana, Vyan, Samana and Udana.

How to perform Samana Asana

For practicing the Samana Air Pose, you need to be able to perform Nauli.

Sit in Siddhasana and breathe deeply. After a deep exhalation (rechaka), make Nauli. When you see Nauli clearly, grab your Nauli with both hands.


Repeat this action 3-5 times consecutively.

Benefits of Samana Asana

The Samana Vayu is located in the navel region, in the area of the Manipoor Chakra. Its purpose is to digest food and distribute energy throughout the body. Performing this pose supports the Samana Vayu and thus speeds up the digestive process. It strengthens the intestines and helps with the release of gas from the digestive system.


Of course the effect is that your appetite increases. You can, however, practice this pose, too, if you would like to lose weight. The fact that your digestion will work better will also keep your metabolism active and prevent your body from storing extra fat. Of course, this needs to be accompanied by a respective diet.

Tips and Help

Make sure you exhale completely before performing this pose and that your stomach is completely empty. If you still have food in your stomach, it can give you belly pain and you might not be able to bring out the Nauli. The best time to perform Samana Asana is before meals, especially in the morning before breakfast.


If you struggle with getting a grip on your nauli, don’t despair but keep practicing first a strong and firm nauli and then try to grab it.