Basti Kriya (Yogic Enema): Colon cleaning

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Basti Kriya is a technique in which the body is replenished internally by completely cleansing the colon. It is one of the six cleansing techniques known as Shatkarma and mentioned in Hatha Yoga Pradipika.

According to Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Shatkarma is a preliminary practice that purifies the body internally and then prepares the yogi to achieve spiritual goals.

Every Shatkarma practice involves the cleansing of certain parts of the body. Basti Kriya also cleanses the lower abdomen (large intestine) by sucking in water or air through the anus.

There are two techniques to perform Basti Kriya to purify the body internally and to prepare the body for pranayama and other advanced asanas.

Let's try to understand the process better by focusing on its importance, implementation, and benefits

Basti Kriya meaning

The term "Basti" is used to describe something "that is in a cavity surrounded by four walls". Basti also means "hold" or is sometimes used to refer to the urinary bladder

Basti Kriya shares similarity with an Ayurvedic technique, enemawhere the colon is cleaned by inserting a tube filled with medicated fluid into the rectum. The intent behind both techniques is to remove stool and other debris from the colon. Hence Basti Kriya is also known as yogic enema.

In Hatha Yoga, Pradipika Basti is defined as: “Sitting in Utkatasana, navel deep in the water, inserting a tube into the anus and contracting the anus. This cleaning with water is called Basti Karma. "

This cleansing technique is useful in curing multiple digestive, urinary, and elimination disorders like gas, etc.

Basti Kriya procedure

There are two ways of performing Basti Kriya, i.e. Jala Basti (with water) and Sthal Basti Kriya (with air). Let's get into their practice one by one:

1. Jala Basti

Traditionally, Jala Basti was practiced squatting in a river, but it is sufficient to use a bucket or tub filled with water. "Jala" is a term that means "water" as the water is used here to cleanse the intestines, hence the name.

  • Take a tub filled with water and sit or squat over it in utkatasana. The water level must reach the navel.
  • Lean forward and put your hands on your knees.
  • Suck the water into the colon through the anus by expanding the muscles of the anal sphincter.
  • Exhale and do uddhiyana bandha and nauli kriya at the same time. This creates a vacuum-like suction to pull the water into the lower abdomen and contracts and agitates the abdominal muscles.
  • Stand up and hold the water in your bowel for 5-30 minutes
  • Then exhale and expel the water through the anus. This is the end of the first round. You can repeat them for 3-5 rounds until the colon is cleared.

Tips to facilitate the Jala Basti Kriya

  • It's an advanced technique, so beginners insert a catheter into the rectum to suck in the water. Traditionally, people preferred bamboo tubes over plastic tubes or catheters.
  • The catheter must be at least 13-15 cm long, perfectly smooth and hollow.
  • About 4 cm or more of the catheter is inserted into the anus. It is recommended to lubricate it with beeswax or non-irritating oil, i. H. Vaseline or ghee for easy insertion.
  • It is important to remove the catheter from the anus without exhaling once you have reached your limit for kumbhaka (cessation of breathing).
  • In advanced stages, when the tube is not needed, the rectum is pushed out and the sphincters opened with the fingers. It is then drawn while performing Uddhiyana Bandha, then the hand is removed, followed by stopping breathing and then exhaling.
  • When you are ready to expel the water from the anus, always crouch over the toilet as the stool will also be evacuated from the lower intestines.
  • Make sure that the water is completely removed from the intestines.

Aftercare practice (after Jala Basti Kriya)

  • Lie on a blanket in Shavasana and then gradually adopt pashinee mudra. This helps evacuate retained water in the intestines by releasing air.
  • Then take up Shavasana again, followed by knees to your chest and rocking on the floor. Alternatively, rock back and forth by opening your arms to shoulder height.
  • Again, rest in Shavasana for a while, then practice Bhujangasana 3-5 times to expel any remaining water or air.
  • You can also add Mayurasana to the sequence for better experience.

2. Sthala Basti

  • Lie on your back at an angle of 60 degrees to the floor and take on the Viparita Karani Mudra.
  • Now pull your knees towards your chest and push the sphincters out and in to fill the air in your bowels.
  • The aspirated air is held inside and drawn up towards the large intestine performing Nauli Kriya. Meanwhile, the air (Apana Vayu) rises and exerts pressure on the navel region.
  • Hold the air inside for a few minutes, then expel it through the anus.
  • It forms a round of Sthala Basti and can be repeated 3-5 times as needed.

Sthala Basti variations

In some texts it was also mentioned that Sthala Basti can also be practiced under the assumption of Pashinee Mudra. Advanced practitioners also do it for 2-3 minutes with paschimottanasana and practice Ashwini Mudra 20-25 times.

At the beginning, while performing Nauli Kriya, Uddhiyana Bandha can also be used, similar to Jala Basti, to suck in air.

"Sthala" means "ground", as this Basti Kriya is performed in the ground, hence so called. People also refer to it as Pavana Basti or Vata Basti Kriya because air is used to cleanse the colon.

When you consider that the air used here is dry, it is sometimes known as Shushka Basti.

Precautions for Basti Kriya

  1. People with high blood pressure, hernia, or severe indigestion must avoid Basti Kriya.
  2. Avoid eating food for around 72 minutes after performing Basti Kriya.
  3. Make sure you have experience of Nauli Kriya and Uddhiyana Bandha.
  4. Always use a sterilized catheter tube for the Jala Basti Kriya and only clean water, neither too hot nor too cold.
  5. It is best to avoid this practice in cloudy, rainy, windy, or stormy weather.
  6. This exercise must be done in the morning on an empty stomach.

Basti Kriya benefits

1. Refills the intestines

Basti Kriya washes or cleanses the entire colon. It removes harmful bacteria, toxic contaminants, accumulated stool, roundworms, and heat from the intestines.

In this way, Basti Kriya is a great practice for flushing out impurities of the lower intestines that are generally not removed in daily life. Therefore, it is used for weight loss and detoxification of the body.

2. Heals indigestion

Basti Kriya Praxis benefits the abdominal organs as pressure is exerted on the stomach. It stimulates the digestive organs and improves the efficiency of the digestive system.

Not only does it make digestion easier, it also cures digestive disorders. People suffering from constipation, nervous diarrhea, gas, and irritable bowel syndrome receive therapeutic benefits from Basti Kriya. It is also useful in treating chronic colitis and dysentery with the approval of the doctor.

3. Balances the doshas

Basti Kriya brings balance between Vata, Pitta and Kapha. It removes excess disease-causing Dosha and rebalances the tissue (Dhatus). It cleanses the body and all of the senses work efficiently.

4. Improves skin tone

By purifying the body internally, this practice improves your appetite. As a result, the body receives proper nutrition and is well reflected in the skin. Basti hydrated the body, which improved the glow, tone and texture of the skin.

5. Stimulates the solar plexus

This yoga practice puts pressure on the abdomen, which stimulates and strengthens the solar plexus. It improves the general well-being of the body by influencing the nervous system. It enables the stomach, kidneys, liver and adrenal glands to work efficiently.

6. Acts as a remedial measure

Diseases like Splenomegaly (enlarged spleen), dysuria (urinary tract disease), colon cancer or tumors that are very common in men can be cured by Basti Kriya.


Basti Kriya is an advanced yogic cleansing of the body that heals most diseases. Its meaning can be explained by its description as "Ardha chikitsa" i.e. H. Half of all the world's treatments, taken together, are well understood.

So prepare your body physically, mentally and spiritually for the advanced yoga practices and invigorate all of your senses by performing Basti Kriya.

Basti Kriya FAQs

  1. Are there any health concerns when performing Basti Kriya?

    In the modern enema practice, Basti Kriya is performed with some devices. Beginners in inserting a catheter or an enema tube into the anus can injure the rectum tissue due to improper sitting posture and insertion. To avoid this, it is preferred to lubricate the enema tube with coconut oil and practice the lying position.

  2. When and how often should Basti Karma be performed?

    Like most other yogic cleansing techniques, Basti should be done in the morning when the digestive system is in its relaxed form. If you do it at a different time of the day, make sure it is done 4 hours after you eat.

    Some yogis also do Basti Kriya daily, but if you are a beginner just getting started this can be done once a week.

  3. How long does the Basti Kriya procedure take?

    Basti Kriya can take 15 to 45 minutes, depending on how good you are and how old you are as a practitioner.

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