Advanced Yoga Practices
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Colon Cleansing (Audio)
Mar 9, 2009
New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the web archive, as previous
lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why
been said that many diseases can be cured through colon cleansing the use of
enemas. Hence the rise in popularity of this practice, and even the
springing up of colon
cleansing clinics across the landscape. Like
with so many things in yoga, a moderate approach can be very helpful for our
spiritual progress and health. But an obsession with any one practice at the
expense of everything else can be counter-productive. It is with that
warning that we discuss colon cleansing, the shatkarma that is called basti.
The colon is the part of
the intestines that goes from the appendix in the lower right abdomen upward
(ascending), across from right to left just above the navel (transverse),
and back down (descending) the left side of the abdomen to the rectum and
Basti is a simple warm
water enema with a gravity bag, hose with clamp, and an insert fitting at
the end, which fits in the anus. An enema bag can be obtained at any drug
Slightly warm tap water can be used if it is free
of bacteria. If not, use bottled water. No salt is used. With the bag hung a
few feet above the anus, carefully fill up the colon with about a quart or
liter of water (or less), either leaning forward on the toilet or lying down
on the left side. To protect against urinary tract infection, care should be
taken not to leak water from the anus on to the urethra ladies especially.
Wait for a few minutes before expelling. Some light nauli (see Lesson
129) can be done while sitting on the toilet
before and during the emptying of the colon. This easy and quick procedure
will provide a good colon clean-out.
For spiritual purposes,
basti can be done every morning before bathing and sitting practices, along
with jala neti/nasal wash. However, this is not a routine for beginning yoga
practitioners, nor needed for advanced practitioners with ecstatic
conductivity well established. The shatkarmas are most useful for spiritual
purposes in the middle stage cultivation of ecstatic conductivity, done in
conjunction with a full yoga routine.
For health reasons, one
might prefer to use basti for relief during times of stress, constipation
and other digestive problems.
Can basti become a habit
that we cannot let go of, so we become dependent on the enema to clear our
bowels? Not necessarily. Basti can be used daily for spiritual purposes for
a long time in support of the yoga routine to assist the awakening of
ecstatic conductivity. Then, at some point when ecstatic awakening has
become strong and self-sustaining, basti can be discontinued and used only
With the many changes in
neurobiological functioning that occur in advancing yoga, regular
elimination becomes part of the overall ecstatic neurobiology, but it takes
a transition (with a full range of practices) to get there. The cleansing
shatkarmas, including basti, are part of that transitional phase.
So there is no rush to
begin basti and shatkarmas in general if we are new to yoga. It is much
better to become established in deep meditation, spinal breathing pranayama
and other yoga practices, and then the shatkarmas will be there when we need
them. We will know when to take them up, based on our inner leanings, just
as we will know when and how our diet may change as inner development
On the other hand, we
can also find health benefits in using basti, and this can be another reason
for taking it up along with any other shatkarmas that aid our health.
Everyone is different and has different needs. However, obsession is never
the right reason to undertake yoga practices, and especially not to overdo
Obviously, we don't want
to become dependent on basti for our elimination forever. If it is used
mainly for health purposes, then maybe once or twice per week will be
plenty. When the inner energies are moving (kundalini), our rising bhakti
will let us know when it is time to do more basti and other shatkarmas. At
times, it can be daily, and then, later on, maybe not at all.
In this discussion, we
are presenting basti primarily as a spiritual practice. It may also be
utilized by many for health reasons. We have discussed a basic form of basti,
which can be done by anyone at home. For health applications there are
variations that may include more extensive assisted enemas in a clinical
environment, and herbal enemas that contain various preparations added
either to the enema water, or taken orally at a previous time. There are
many variations available for using basti/enema.
For our purposes in
yoga, a stable routine of practice
will be the most effective approach during a period of weeks or months on
our path that basti may needed.
guru is in you.
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shatkarmas (cleansing techniques), see the
Diet, Shatkarmas and Amaroli
and AYP Plus.