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Dhauti is a Shatkarma or Shatkriya, a type of yoga used for detoxification. It is divided into four parts. There are three types of hrida, or cardiac, dhauti: danda, vastra and vaman; and four types of antar, or internal, dhauti: vatsara, varisara, vahnisara and bahiskrita. Then there is the danta, or teeth, and the moola shodhana, or rectal cleansing. Each of the processes are complicated and require the correct movements and positioning. For this reason, consulting a qualified yoga teacher is necessary before attempting these techniques.
Vaman dhauti is the process of washing the stomach with water in order to clean the intestines and treat gall bladder, stomach and throat conditions. It is best to perform vaman dhauti in the morning before breakfast. A teaspoon of salt is added to a liter or more of tepid water, and as much of it as possible is consumed quickly. At this point, vomiting is induced by inserting the fingers down the throat while keeping the body horizontal and leaning forward. Vomiting is induced until all the water is removed.
Vastra is a method used for cleansing the stomach and esophagus. A long strip of cotton gauze is soaked in water or milk then swallowed. It is then pulled out slowly, a process which removes any deposits on the stomach wall. During danda dhauti, a person drinks a lot of water and then a special rubber tube is inserted down the throat and into the stomach. By bending forward, the water is siphoned out of the stomach. In this way, the esophagus is cleansed of impurities such as mucus and phlegm.
Antar dhauti are forms of stomach cleansing that reactivate the digestive system and are used for problems like constipation, bloating and gas. There are side effects that include insomnia, weakness and palpitations. Vatsara involves swallowing air into the stomach by expanding the abdomen. When the stomach is fully expanded, usually after about ten swallows, the air is passed through the large intestine by the assumption of an inverted posture and then evacuated through the anus.
Varisara is the drinking of 16 glasses of salty water which are then passed out through the anus through a series of specific moves called asanas. Vahnisara massages the abdominal nerves and muscles through a combination of breathing and abdomen contractions and expansions.
Danta shauti is the cleaning of the teeth, tongue, ears and eyes. A special stick is used for the teeth, fingers for the tongue and ears, and tepid salty water for the eyes. Moola shodhana is the cleaning of the rectum with the finger or tumeric root.
A combination of the dhauti practices are part of hatha yoga, which advocates the cleansing of the digestive and respiratory tracts. This rids the body of excess mucus, bile and toxins that are responsible for many diseases. Anyone suffering from certain pre-existing conditions such as ulcers, hernias, heart disease and high blood pressure should not practice antar dhauti.