Shatkarma – The Yogic Detox Process

When the human body is strong, then only will it be able to carry out the yogic activities with ease. To make the body capable, it is necessary to carry out cleansing and strengthening activities. We can make the body strong externally by going to the gym but it’s the interiors that matter. With that in mind, we shall discuss shatkarma and its contribution to making the body competent.

What Is Shatkarma 

The word ‘satkarma’ finds its root in Sanskrit. It refers to the six yogic purification techniques that are inscribed in the ‘Hatha Yoga Pradipika’. The purpose behind performing these activities is to keep the body healthy and strong. Also, they achieve the effect of eradicating toxins and encouraging the flow of prana.

Shatkarmais also known as ‘shatkriya’. It is made up of two words, ‘shat’ and ‘kriya’. These words mean six actions. These six actions are better known as cleansing techniques and accentuate the flow of prana into the pranic channel. 

Why Should I Practice Shatkarma?

To explain the importance of Shatkarma, think of the human body as a computer. The parts of the body which we can touch externally, are the hardware and our internal organs are software. It t is easy to clean the hardware through cleaning but for the software, it’s quite tricky. You must maintain the software for healthy performance. 

With that in mind, let’s take a look as to why you should practice shatkarma:

  • By practicing satkarma, you can eradicate the impurities hidden in the body. Through shatkarma, one can encourage the flow of prana in the human body.
  • Normally, the human mind is spread out in different directions. Through shatkarma, you can focus the mind in one place. 

1. Shatkarma In Ancient Texts

We can find the mentions of Shatkarma in many ancient texts that deal with yoga. In this blog, we shall primarily focus on two of them. They are:

2. Hatha yoga Pradipika

In this text, the shatkarma practice is prescribed to people who have imbalances in doshas. It is also prescribed for people that have excessive mucus and fat accumulation in the body. 

3. Gheranda Samhita

In this text, the author has mentioned 7 limbs. These limbs are as follows:

1st limb: shatkarma

2nd limb: Asana 

3rd limb: Mudra

4th limb: Pratyahara

5th limb: Pranayama

6th limb: Dhyana 

7th limb: Samadhi

Types Of Shatkarma 

As previously mentioned, there are six shatkarma. We have made a separate blog for each of them so don’t forget to check it out! In this blog, we shall discuss them in brief.


It is a nasal cleaning procedure that purifies the nasal passages. It achieves the effect of cleaning the sinuses too. You can perform this exercise by using a neti pot or by using a thread. When you use a thread, make sure that it enters through the nose and comes out from the mouth. These two processes are called Jala neti and sutra neti.


This cleaning procedure cleans the alimentary canal. In total, there are eleven dhauti techniques that clean different parts of the gut. The best way is to swallow a lengthy cloth and use it to remove phlegm and other impurities.


It is a cleaning technique for the abdomen in which we use the abdominal muscles to stimulate the digestive organs. The abdominal muscles move in a wave-like motion and perform the cleaning procedure.


This technique aims to purify the large intestine by using or not using water. When you use water, the yogi sits calmly in a tub of water and draws it into the rectum by using uddiyana bandha and nauli kriya. Later, the water is expelled.


In this cleansing technique of shatkarmathe breath is exhaled forcefully from the nostrils. The abdominal muscles are drawn in and inhalation is done naturally. 


This cleansing process helps to clean the eyes and accentuates mental focus. A popular method involves gazing at a candle flame. 

Thus, these were the six purification techniques that you can use to take care of yourself.