Classical Hatha Yoga 

Kriyas - purification techniques

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Major part of traditional Yoga are Kriyas, the purification techniques. Unfortunately their are mostly forgotten in the West. Even such simple, and obviously beneficial techniques as Jala Neti and Kunjal Kriya are very rarely taught and practiced.

Western people are proud of their external cleaniness, but many who wash their outside every day are rotting from inside, as manifested by horrible smell from their mouths, grey skin color, and deep wrinkles.

We briefly describe here main purification techniques.


A breathing exercize that increases oxygen in blood that leads to its purification. Kapalabhati is part of every regular class we teach.


Trataka is a steady blinkless gazing at a candle flame. One of the effects of trataka is stimulating tear glands that purify the eyes. Trataka is practiced sometimes at regular lessons.


Neti is nasal cleansing that includes two techniques - Jala Neti and Sutra Neti. Nasal cleansing is essential in allowing free breathing that help to ensure good health.

Nasal passages can be polluted by dust and toxic substances in the air. Pieces of food as large as cherry stones may be lodged in nasal passages and stay there for long time becoming centers of permanent infection covered with pus. When nasal passages are blocked by common cold, the nose cannot perform its function. Modern medicine does not know another remedy from this condition except inefficient chemical sprays.

Jala Neti is nasal cleaning with salted water that is poured into the nostrils with help of a special pot with a spout.

Sutra Neti is nasal cleaning using a 30 cm long piece of cotton cord, in modern times often replaced by a medical rubber catheter. Sutra Neti is used together with Jala Neti. Sutra Neti helps to dislodge foregn substances from the internal surfaces of the nostrils that a then washed away by salted water.

In addition to cleansing benefits, neti also stimulates various nerve endings that pass through the nose.

Kunjal Kriya

Kunjal Kriya, in vernacular controlled vomiting, involves drinking warm, slightly salted water until the stomach is full and then expelling the water through the mouth.

For an untrained person vomiting is associated with disease and much unpleasantness. However, with training, this procedure become easy. The ability to conscientionsly relax parts of the body that is learned through long practice of Hatha Yoga is what makes this procedure easy.

Although the technique is simple, its mastery brings great benefits.

The main obstacle to mastering this technique is the perception of vomiting as something disgusting and even shameful.

Vastra Dhauti


This is the queen of kriyas.

Note: In this article we rely heavily on the A Systematic Course in the Ancient Tantric Techniques of Yoga and Kriya, by Swami Satyananda Saraswati.

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