Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) & Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
“A strip of wet cloth, four angulas in width and fifteen hands (1.5 meters approximately) in length is swallowed and then taken our as instructed by Yoga Guru. This is known as Dhauti.” (Ref – Hatha Yoga Pradipika, 2:24)
Cleansing of stomach and digestive tract as a part of Shat Karma of Hatha Yoga practice is called Dhauti Karma. Dhauti is done by administering vomiting (emesis). Generally vomiting, as a part of Dhauti is given in the early part of the morning on empty stomach. Dhauti also includes cleansing of throat, rectum and teeth.
Dhauti is one of the Karma belonging to the category of Shad Karma or Shat Karma. Shat Karmas are six cleansing procedures which are advised in Hatha Yoga Practice. Shat Karmas including Dhauti are administered with an intention of cleansing and strengthening the body. These activities (procedures) aim at improvising physical health and fitness.
Alternative Names of Dauti
Gaja Karn – When an elephant develops sense of vomiting, it puts its trunk into its gullet and sucks out the stomach contents which is causing that feel. This reduces the vomiting sensation and also cleanses the stomach. Even in Dhauti, vomiting is induced in a similar way by the doer so as to cleanse the stomach of its impurities.
Meaning of Dauti
As already said Dhauti means ‘to cleanse’. In this procedure the doer cleanses his stomach by inducing vomiting. The variants of this procedure help in cleansing the teeth, throat and rectum. It is a type of stomach wash. Apart from cleansing the stomach, it helps in relieving nausea (feel of vomiting), reducing the acidity in the stomach, throwing out the indigested foods and toxins of the stomach and helps in warding off food allergies and diseases like asthma.
Types of Dhauti Kriya and methods of doing them
Depending on the method in which it is conducted, Dhauti is of 4 types –
2. Danta Dhauti
3. Hrid Dhauti
4. Moola Shodhana
1. Antardhauti (Internal cleansing)
Antardhauti is a procedure in which the interior of the body is cleansed. It is of below mentioned 4 sub-types –
a. Vatasaara Dhauti
b. Varisaara Dhauti (Shankha Prakshalana)
c. Agnisaara or Vahnisaara Dhauti
Read related: Antardhauti: Types, Benefits, Right Procedure
2. Danta Dhauti
Danta Dhauti comprises of methods of cleansing the teeth and mouth.
They are of 5 sub-types as mentioned below –
a. Dantamula Dhauti (cleansing the roots of teeth, gums, teeth)
b. Jihwa Mula Dhauti or Jihwa Shodhana (cleansing of root of tongue or tongue)
c. Karna Dhauti (ear cleansing)
d. Kapala Randhra DhautiKapala Randhra means the depression in the forehead, near the nasal bridge.
e. Chakshu Dhauti
Read related: Danta Dhauti: Types, Benefits, Right Method
3. Hrid Dhauti
Hrid Dhauti actually means ‘heart cleansing’ but it is not possible to cleanse the heart. Actually in Hrid Dhauti different methods are explained which help in cleansing the stomach (stomach wash).
Hrid Dhauti is of 3 types –
a. Danda Dhauti
b. Mana Dhauti or Jala Dhauti / Vyaghra Kriya (Kunjala Kriya)
c. Vastra Dhauti or Sutra Dhauti
4. Mula Shodhana (cleansing of rectum)
Key points, Caution and contraindication of Dhauti Kriya:
The cloth used in Vastra Dhauti or Sutra Dhauti should be of finely woven cotton. It should be clean, new and sterile. Synthetic materials should not be used.
The cloth should not be wider than the tongue.
The cloth should be at least 1 meter in length. The maximum length has been mentioned to be of 1.5-3-7 meter. Important is the length of the cloth that is permissible into the stomach.
Dhauti should not be practiced in presence of stomach or intestinal ulcers, hernia, heart disease and high blood pressure.
Undue pressure and tension created in the muscular structure of the genital system of female during monthly periods during dhauti may affect hormonal balance. Dhauti shall be avoided during monthly periods and shall be practiced after monthly cycle to avoid any kind of hormonal or glandular imbalances within the body.
Benefits of Dhauti Kriya
Dhauti Kriya comprises of many procedures and sub procedures as evident from the above said explanation. The benefits of specific (individual) dhauti kriyas have been highlighted in their respective contexts.
‘There is no doubt that cough, asthma, diseases of the spleen, leprosy and twenty types of diseases caused by vitiated kapha (excess mucus, phlegm) are destroyed through the effect of dhauti karma’ – Ref, Hatha Yoga Pradipika
The combination of all the dhauti procedures explained above when practiced skillfully cleanses the stomach, entire digestive tract and respiratory tract.
Dhauti removes excessive and vitiated pitta, kapha, visha (toxins)
Dhauti restores the natural balance of the body and its chemical composition by effectively cleansing the intestines and digestive tract. While doing so, dhauti cures the diseases caused by such imbalances.
Various dhauti practices help to remove infectious bacteria from the mouth, nose, eyes, ears, throat, stomach, intestines, colon and anal tracts.
Dhauti destroys excessive fat from the body and prevents from formation and accumulation of excessive fats which are the main cause of many diseases
Dhauti helps in relieving constipation, poor appetite, poor digestion and flatulence.
It cures kushta (various types of skin disorders)
According to Gheranda Samhita, Dhauti cures abdominal ailments and fever.
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