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Shankha Prakshalana

Other Names

Shankha Dhouti, Intestinal Wash, Kayakalp or Kayakalpa Kriya, Varisar Varisara Kriya,


The most advanced and popular technique or Kriya that cleans out the entire Gastro Intestinal tract. It involves drinking one and half liters of lukewarm salt water and then doing specific Yoga Asanas. This helps massage the internal organs, as the water flows freely through the organs, squeezing out the toxic debris that tends to get trapped in the system and flushing all the mucus, bile and faeces (Solid excretory product evacuated from the bowels) out of the body. It also cleans the bladder, liver, kidneys spleen and lymphatic system.


For this technique, it is advisable to take a light, semi-liquid meal in the night before undertaking this practice. Plenty of clean, lukewarm water should be available and also extra hot water in case the temperature of the water falls below body temperature. Add 2 tsp of salt powder per liter to the water, so that it tastes mildly salty. It is necessary for a special food of good quality white rice and pulse, preferably mungdal, cooked with ghee, and clarified butter, to be prepared. This preparation is called 'Khichdi'. The rice and lentil should be cooked together in water until soft.

A little halide (A salt of any halogen acid), turmeric, may be added, but no salt. Finally, the clarified butter should be liberally mixed in so that the final preparation is semi-liquid. No asana or physical work should be performed before commencing and no food or beverages should be taken. If the bowels are not evacuated prior to the practice it helps stimulate the peristaltic movement, and it should be practiced only in the early morning.


Drink two glasses of warm water mixed with salt as quickly as possible. After that, perform the following seven asanas dynamically, eight times each in the correct sequence.

It’s the one complete round. Do not reset between rounds. Drink two more glasses of warm water with salt and again repeat the seven asanas eight times each. Repeat this process a third time. After the third round, go to the toilet and see if there is any movement in the bowels, if they have not yet been emptied. Do not strain. After a few minutes or so, come out, regardless of whether there has been any movement or not; it is not essential at this point.

There are three types of water which can be used in this technique:

  • Warm water with salt and lemon (NOTE: This is not for the persons who have cough and high blood pressure).
  • Warm water with salt (NOTE: The persons who have joint pains, swelling, cervical, spondylitis and disc problems should use this warm water with salt).
  • Warm water with lemon (NOTE: The persons who have high blood pressure should use this type of water).

Drink two more glasses and repeat the seven asanas eight times. Again go to the toilet, but do not force yourself to produce a bowel movement. Continue drinking the water, performing the asanas and going to the toilet when the pressure builds up. Spend as little time in the toilet as possible, a minute or so is enough. The aim is to build up the internal cleansing pressure.

At first solid stool will be evacuated followed by a mixture of stool and water. As the practice progresses, then finally, almost clear water will be evacuated. Sixteen glasses are generally required before perfectly clean water is evacuated, but it varies from person to person. The speed at which one completes the practice should not be compared with that of others.

This stage of the practice should be performed in a relaxed way at one's own pace. Total rest is essential. Lie down in Shavasana for 45 minutes but do not sleep as a headache or cold may result. It is important to keep warm during this resting period. Try to maintain, silence.

During this time the whole digestive system is given a chance to revitalize itself. Passing urine at this time is perfectly normal.

Special Meal Afterwards

Exactly 45 minutes after completing Shankha Prakshalana the specially prepared food, Khichdi must be taken. The three components of Khichdi are helpful in the restoration of correct digestive function. The clarified butter is necessary to coat the intestinal walls until the body produces a new lining. The rice provides a simple, easily digestible packing material in the form of carbohydrate, and creates mucus, which also protects the inner lining of the alimentary canal. Khichdi should also be prepared for the late afternoon or evening meal, about six hours after the first special meal.


The persons who are suffering from any medical condition should seek guidance from a qualified yoga teacher this practice should also be avoided during pregnancy.

Next Article: Basti/ Vasti (Yogic Enema)

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