Understanding Yogic Kriyas

  April 12, 2019  
Dr Deepthy MS, BNYS
Naturopathy Consultant

India's ancient medical and health sciences - Ayurveda, Naturopathy and Yoga firmly believe that the path to holistic wellbeing first begins from within. Each therapy, treatment and asana work to heal internally and to bring balance to the body, mind and spirit.

Yogic kriyas are an exemplification of this very ethos and if practiced regularly, purify the body, eliminate toxins and help in opening the pathways in the body.

Traditionally, there are six types of kriyas or 'shatkriyas' which were practiced by yogis and sages for centuries but can easily be adapted to our modern-day lifestyle too.

This week, we will be taking you through the kriyas we prescribe to our guests at Naad, which once you have learnt the correct way of doing it, can be practiced at home as well.


Neti focusses on cleansing the nasal passageways, from the nostrils to the throat and there are two types of this practice.

a. Jal Neti

Sterilised, lukewarm salt water is poured into one nostril with a neti pot, so that it exits from the other.

Jal Neti helps in removing the dirt and impurities we end up inhaling in the polluted environment we live in. It also soothes allergies and alleviates sore throat, tonsils and dry coughs.

If you are suffering from any respiratory issue like asthma, bronchitis or sinusitis, I strongly recommend you make Jal Neti part of your daily routine.

b. Sutra Neti

Sutra Neti is a more advanced form of nasal cleansing and should be performed under the guidance of a qualified yoga teacher or a doctor. Typically, a wet string or a rubber catheter (like the one we use at Naad), is carefully inserted through the nose into the mouth.

It is a greatly beneficial to those suffering from nasal polyps and other nasal infections.

2. Kunjal Kriya

The origin of most modern-day lifestyle diseases begins from the digestive system and any imbalance in it cause repercussions throughout the body. Kunjal Kriya aims at cleansing and restoring the digestive system to its normal state.

Tepid, salty water is drunk to the point to induce a vomiting sensation - which can typically be experienced after 6-10 glasses. A gag-reflex is further induced by inserting two fingers down the throat so that water comes gushing out the mouth. This is continued till all the water is expelled from the stomach.

It is best done on an empty stomach and should ideally be followed by jal neti.

3. Laghu Shankha Prakshalan

Over time, small pieces of undigested food get stuck in our intestines which later turns into toxins. Laghu Shankha Prakshalan aims at removing these from the body completely.

This kriya is a combination of drinking luke warm saline water on an empty stomach in the morning and asanas. A set of yoga postures is alternated after every two glasses of water.

The intestine is cleansed through first solid stool, which eventually turns into clear, yellowish water after a few more visits to the toilet. Once all the water is out of the body, relax for about 15 minutes in shavasana.

4. Trataka

Trataka is a form of meditation which is believed to energize and activate the Ajna Chakra, also known as the third eye on our forehead.

It involves sitting about a meter away from a lit candle. The candle should be at eye level and you should focus on gazing at the flame without blinking for as long as possible.

Eventually, the eyes may start to water, and tears may flow. When they do, close your eyes and focus on the after-glow of the flame and meditate on it.

This kriya helps in relieving insomnia, purifying the eyes, strengthening the eye muscles and bringing emotional stability.

5. Kapal Bhati

Kapal Bhati is a yogic breathing technique of active exhalation and passive inhalation. During the forced exhalation, the stomach is forced in which is beneficial for the muscles that surround it.

It increases the blood flow to the liver and pancreas and also helps in toning the tummy and promoting fat loss.

While these kriyas can be easily practiced at home, it is advisable to consult with a doctor before incorporating them into your routine. You can also write to me on naturopathy.consultant@naadwellness.comif you have any questions on the kriyas or need help in identifying the best option for you.

About the author: A graduate of S.D.M.College of Naturopathy & Yogic Sciences, Dr Deepthy's expertise includes Yoga, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, acupressure, reflexology and physiotherapy. She is also known for her empathetic ear and counselling skills. A firm believer in the healing powers of food, Dr Deepthy is responsible putting overseeing the diet of our resident guests and also helping them make lifestyle alterations when they check-out from the centre.