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Varisara Dhauti / Shankha Prakshalana

Varisara Dhauti is also known as Shankha Prakshalana. It is a very strong purification technique as it cleans the complete elementary canal (from the mouth to the anus).Shank means shell and Prakshalana means cleansing. Shells have a lot of curves ,the same way our intestines have . Try to pour water into a shell. To have the water in the last curve we have to rotate the shell. We use the same technique in the practice of Shankh Prakshalana Kriya. 

But instead of rotations, it comprises of drinking lukewarm saline water and then performing the sequence of specially designed Asanas until the intestines have been completely washed (clear liquid comes out from the anal opening in the end). After this exercise, you have to rest the whole day. For that day, you should only have a special diet called Khichdi and Ukada (Herbal Liquid). This lubricating food replaces the natural lubrication of your insides which has been washed out by the saline solution. This technique is practiced in the morning on an empty stomach. It is necessary that the very first process of Shankha-Prakshalana should be carried out only under an adept and experienced Yogacharya.


There are 5 valves in our food passage. They are oesophageal, pyloric, ileocecal, colon and anus.
The complexity of the GIT (Gastrointestinal tract) and its sensitivity to day to day tensions are common causes to restrict the flow in the system. They lose their natural function & become inefficient and gradually the system starts to pack up. This causes auto-toxemia, a state where the body's own wastes begin to poison itself. Poor food, sedentary lifestyles, late eating hours, habitual snacking and dehydration, are also common reasons that the digestive system becomes inefficient at assimilating and eliminating thus causing stomach ailments. Shankha Prakshalana practice reconditions the function of the valves & eliminates all types of toxins out of the bloodstream.


One Yoga mat, one towel (normal size), soap cake for washing hands, wear loose clothes and have one extra pair of clothes available, one steel glass, one steel Thali (Plate) with a rim (kinnari/sides), one tablespoon for eating khichdi, Neti pot.


• The successful completion of the technique strongly depends on preparation. Great care must be taken in choosing a day for the event which is not too cold and not too hot. Very cloudy, windy or rainy weather is to be avoided. The best time to practice is at the changeover of seasons.

• The best time to commence is soon after sunrise, when the air is fresh and clean and the mind and body are relaxed.

• The best place to practice Shankha-Prakshalana is in the garden or in an open area where there is plenty of fresh air. Make sure that adequate toilet facilities are nearby.

• The practice is best undertaken with a group of friendly people. The atmosphere should be relaxed and lighthearted, with no apprehension concerning the practice as this can create tension and prevent free bowel movement.

• One should take light food the previous day and that also quite early in the evening. Liquids may be taken if one feels so. Nothing should be taken in the morning of the Kriya. If one does not get automatic natural call without morning tea, then tea may be taken. If required, you can make the treatment significantly easier by having an enema right before the Shankha Prakshalana.


Boil 3 litres of water with 3 tablespoon of rock salt and big cardamom. Stir them. This water is for one person.

Salt is used for Shankha Prakshalana because of its reaction in the stomach when it mixes with acids and enzymes. It creates a more dilute and less potent solution. Salt is a very efficient means to dissolve mucus and clean the intestinal linings. In small quantities it has a soothing effect on inflamed linings and also has a mild relationship with the liver.


First Round
• Drink two glasses of warm salty water as quickly as possible. If it is difficult to drink two glasses in the beginning start with one glass of water. It may be due to excess gas in the body. When you feel alright drink 2 glasses of water.

• Perform a series of five specific Asanas dynamically, eight times each, in the correct sequence i.e. Tadasana, Tiryaka Tadasana, Kati Chakrasana, Tiryaka Bhujangasana and Udarakarshanasana.

• After completing the round, go to the toilet & empty yourself. If there has been no movement do not worry, come out but do not use force to produce a bowel movement. This completes one round. Then start the second round.

Second & Rest of the Rounds

All the rounds are same as first. One may have to go to toilet 7 to 8 times. The speed at which one completes the practice should not be compared with that of others.

• 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 more water and less solid stool will be excreted. Eventually cloudy yellow water and, finally, almost clear water will be evacuated.

• It takes few hours for the completion of Shankha Prakshalana Kriya and the salted water cannot remain warm so long. Therefore the water should either be warmed at intervals or hot water is added so that warmth is maintained while drinking.

• In between the Asanas if you feel like going to the toilet, do not ignore , but go and sit on the toilet. You should then return and complete the round before finishing off.


After Shankha Prakshalana, Kunjal and Jal Neti processes are must. For Kunjal drink 5-6 glasses of plain water quickly then throw it up like a fountain from mouth. Then do Jal Neti.


The five Asanas which form the core of the practice are related directly to the 5 alimentary valves. They help to stretch, massage and relax all parts of the alimentary canal & enhance the cleansing process.


• Stand straight with feet about10 cms apart, arms by the sides.
• Breathe in deeply and raise both the hands on the sides of the head in upward direction.
• Interlock your fingers, palms facing towards the sky.
• Exhale; place the hands on top of the head.
• Inhale stretch the arms up over the head & slowly rise up on your toes, stretching and lengthening the abdominal area
• Hold the position for a few seconds.
• Exhale, bring the heels down on the floor and hands on top of the head.
• This is one round.
• Repeat 8 times. All 8 rounds should take no more than about 40 - 60 seconds.
• Tadasana acts mainly on the stomach and stretches the colon


• Stand straight with feet about two feet apart.
• Breathe in deeply and raise both the hands on the sides of the head in upward direction.
• Interlock your fingers, palms are facing towards the sky.
• Inhale, extend the spine.
• While exhaling, bend the body to the right from the waist.
• Hold the position for a few seconds.
• Inhale and slowly come back to the upright position.
• Similarly repeat the process on the left side.
• This is one round.
• Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times). All 8 rounds should take no more than 60 seconds.
• Tiryaka Tadasana acts on the small intestine and colon


• Stand straight with feet about two feet apart and the arms by the sides.
• Make fist of the right hand with thumb inside, place it in the center of the lower back, press it nicely.
• Inhale; bring the left hand on the right shoulder.
• Exhale, as you twist the upper body to the right side & turn your head fully to your right to look behind towards the left heel.
• Keep the feet firmly on the ground while twisting.
• Hold the position for a few seconds.
• Inhale and return to the starting position.
• Similarly repeat the process on the left side.
• Inhale and return to the starting position.
• This is one round.
• Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times). All 8 rounds should take no more than 30 seconds.
• Kati Chakrasana massages the small intestine


• Lie with forehead down on the stomach with feet about half a metre apart, heels should be on top and toes are curled under, hands directly under the chest.
• Now inhale and raise the head forward.
• Exhale, twist the head and upper portion of the body to the right shoulder and look over the shoulder at the left heel.
• Try to feel a diagonal stretch of the abdomen.
• Relax the back and keep the navel as close to the floor as possible.
• Stay in the final position for a few seconds.
• Inhale; bring the face forward again.
• Exhale, twist to the other side without coming back to the floor.
• Inhale & return to the centre and exhale as you lower the body to the floor.
• This is one round.
• Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times). All 8 rounds should take no more than 60 seconds.


• Sit in squatting position with feet apart & the hands on the knees.
• Inhale; bring the right knee to the floor near the left foot, pressing the stomach with the left thigh.
• While doing so push the left knee towards the right.
• Exhale, turn the head towards the left side and look over the shoulder.
• Stay in the final position for a few seconds.
• Inhale and come back to the starting position.
• Similarly repeat on the right side.
• Inhale and come back to the starting position
• This is one round.
• Repeat total 8 times (each side 4 times). All 8 rounds should take no more than 60 seconds.
• Tiryaka Bhujangasana and Udarakarshan Asana squeeze and massage the Caecum, sigmoid colon and rectum, and also stimulate the Rectosphincteric reflex or the urge to defecate


• Before undertaking Shankh Prakshalanlearn Kriya, practice five asanas regularly for at least one week so that during Prakshalana the Asanas are exercised conveniently with ease. Each asana should be done with thorough understanding of its importance for Shankha Prakshalana.

• Learn Jal Neti & Kunjal Kriya. Three days before undertaking Shankh Prakshalan, Kunjal & Jala Neti Kriya should be practiced every morning before breakfast. This practice helps in drinking enough water during Prakshalana and there will not be any vomiting sensation.

• Think positive while doing Shankha Prakshalana Kriya. One may do this after morning bath and with a happy frame of mind.

• Once all these Kriyas have been perform
ed, then complete rest is essential for fifty minutes. One should not move about. Lie down in Shavasana but do not sleep as a headache or cold may result. Try to maintain silence. It is very essential to keep warm during this resting period. During this time the whole digestive system is given a chance to revitalize itself. Passing urine at this time is perfectly normal.


Exactly fifty minutes after completing the practice of Shankha-Prakshalana, a salt less liquid mixture of cooked rice, moong dal & ghee (khichdi) & and Ukada (Herbal Liquid) must be taken. The rhythm of the body has been temporarily disturbed; however, fifty minutes after completion of the practice the digestive organs resume their functions.

Ukada (Herbal liquid)

Fig-2pcs, Apricots (Zardalu)-2pcs, Black big grapes-4pcs, Black big grapes-4pcs, Dried Berries-4pcs, Small cardamom-4pcs, Black Pepper- 4pcs, Thick quality Variali (Fennel)- 50gms, Ginger Fresh-30gms, Tulsi leaves-25 no., Lemon-1pc, Honey-2Tb.Spoon.

Boil the first 10 items in 6 glasses of water till it comes to 1 glass of water. Then sieve the mixture and drink after adding honey and lemon juice as per taste.

Khichdi For one person
Moong Dal without Shell100 Gms, Khichdi Rice 50gm, Pure Ghee 150 gms.

These three components of Khichdi are helpful in the restoration of correct digestive function. The pure ghee or 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. The lentils supplement the diet by giving the body an easily digestible source of protein and make for an all round nutritious meal.

Boil Moong Dal (Pulses) & rice together until soft. Make watery Khichdi without adding salt. When done then add ghee. Take care that while making it does not burn.

A sufficient quantity of Khichdi must be eaten to reline the intestines and keep the walls of the gut stretched; otherwise they may cramp due to the absence of the bulk to which they are accustomed. This bulk not only maintains the tone but also aids the intestines to resume peristalsis. It is also important in order to prevent indigestion, diarrhea and constipation. Remember! Do not drink any fluid before having the first meal.


• Having eaten Khichdi and taken Ukada further rest should be taken for the remainder of the day and also the following day. However, it is important not to sleep for at least three to four hours after the initial meal. Sleep during this period may lead to physical lethargy and headache.

• In the evening one should eat only diluted Khichdi but without ghee or oil. There should be gap between seven hours between these two meals. The stomach must be filled to capacity at both meals, even if there is no feeling of hunger.

• During this period it is advisable to keep silence and avoid physical or mental work. One should not use fan, air conditioner & TV. One should not eat or drink or have sex. If thirsty, one can take luke-warm water only with lemon juice and honey.


• Physically, Shankha Prakshalan Kriya alleviates digestive problems such as indigestion, gas, acidity and constipation. It generally tones the liver and other digestive organs and glands. It has been used in the cure of diabetes mellitus, hypoglycemia, obesity, high blood cholesterol and high lipid levels. It strengthens the immune system, alleviating allergies and immunological problems. It helps relieve the symptoms of arthritis and chronic inflammatory diseases. Excessive mucus is reduced relieving asthma, chronic colds and sinusitis. It purifies the blood and alleviates skin problems such as pimples, boils and eczema.

• The practice of Shankha Prakshalan Kriya has been a panacea for Diabetic patients. Normally,one can do this Kriya twice a year but for diabetic patients, it can be done 4-6 times in a year under the guidance of an expert Guru. They should do Kunjal Kriya every day in the morning.

• Pranically, Shankha-Prakshalana recharges the entire Pranic body, removes blockages from the Nadis and purifies all the Chakras. The harmony of the five Pranas is restored and the energy level is raised. It prepares the way for higher states of consciousness. Any Sadhana performed after this cleansing practice gives manifold results.


If one has a high/low B.P., ulcer, epilepsy, puss in the ear, knee, ankle, calf pain (extreme), gone through surgery. Ladies during pregnancy or periods should not attempt. Heart patients, persons with kidney or gallbladder stones or having weak kidneys, hernia, gastritis ulcers should also avoid. Not advised for persons with mental disorders and children under the age of 15.


• For at least one week after the practice, all chemically processed, synthetic, pungent, spicy, acidic, rich and non-vegetarian foods must be strictly avoided. No pickles, sweets, chocolates, ice cream or soft drinks should be taken.
• Milk, buttermilk, yogurt and all fruits, especially acidic fruits such as lemons, grapefruit, oranges or pineapples are restricted.
• Cigarettes, tea, coffee, betel nut preparations such as pan and any other type of intoxicant or drug should also not be taken.

The diet should be as pure & simple as possible. It includes foods such as rice, wheat, wheat bread, vegetables with low acidic content, nuts, lentils, soya beans and other pulses. After Shankha Prakshalana the digestive system is very vulnerable and extra care should be taken to protect the body. Those who are unable to follow these restrictions should not practice Shankha Prakshalana.

This practice should only be attempted in a Yoga Ashram or Yoga center under expert guidance. All guidelines and restrictions must be followed strictly to avoid experiencing harmful side effects.

Courtesy: Dr. Rita Khanna
Aum Shanti