Shat karma or shat kriya are six yogic techniques to cleanse the internal organs. Shatkriyakal balance the three doshas, and create harmony between the pranic flows. Shat kriya perform before yogasana and pranayama to purify the body and progress towards spiritual path.
According to hatha yoga pradipika, six cleansing techniques are,

Dhouti     • Basti     • Neti     • Nauli     • Trataka      • Kapalabhati


Dhouti is a yogic technique for cleansing the upper intestinal tract up to the stomach. There are following type of dhouti –

  • Jala dhouti or vamana dhouti
  • Vastra dhouti
  • Danda dhouti
  • Varisara dhauti


Basti kriya is a yogic technique to clean the colon by sucking water through anus. In hatyogpradipika there are 2 types of basti

  • Jalbasti
  • Pavan basti

Neti (upper nasal track)

Neti is a yogic technique to clean the upper nasal track, sinuses and also help to purge toxins from the lymph system. There are two types of neti,

  • Jala neti
  • Sutra neti

Nauli (Abdominal muscle and viscera)

Nauli is yogic technique to cleanses the internal organs and tones the abdominal region by a rolling motion of the abdominal muscles. Before the practice of Nauli, one should be master in agnisara kriya and uddiyana bandha. According to contraction of abdominal muscles, there are three types of nauli.

  • Madhyana nauli (central nauli)
  • Vama nauli (left side nauli)
  • Daksina nauli (right side nauli)

Trataka (Eye exercises)

Trataka is a practice of focusing the eyes to a point without blinking until the eyes become wet and cleansed. Trataka is three type depending on the point or object on which performer focus the eyes.

  • Bahya tratak (external tratak)
  • Madhya tratak (external tratak)
  • Abhyantar tratak (external tratak)


Kapalbhati is breathing technique which involves “active exhalation and passive inhalation”. In hatyog pradipika it is given as “shatkarma” shuddhikriyas as a process of cleaning the wind pipe. The word kapalbhati is made up of two words, kapal meaning skull and bhati means shining, illuminating.