Vaman Dhauti or Kunjal Kriya – Cleaning the Stomach

Vaman Dhauti or Kunjal Kriya is meant for purification of the upper digestive tract. Dhauti is one of the six purification methods or Shatkarma of Hatha Yoga. There are various types of Dhauti – for cleaning the mouth, teeth, ears, stomach and intestines. In this article we will discuss the most common among the Dhauti practices called Vaman Dhauti or Kunjal Kriya. Vaman Dhauti is meant for cleaning the stomach and the upper digestive tract.

Why Clean the Stomach?

        When we eat food, the food remains in the stomach for a considerable length of time. After a heavy meal, it takes about 3 – 5 hours to empty the stomach and push the food into the small intestine, depending on the type of food consumed. In the stomach, the food is mixed with the enzymes and digestive juices, which prepares it for absorption in the intestine.

        Even though the food is emptied into the intestine, small particles of undigested food remain on the lining of the stomach. Of course, this may get flushed down when we drink water or when we take the next meal. But during that time, it can cause irritation and produce gas and acidity.

        It is observed in nature that many animals, like lions, spontaneously vomit food that remains undigested in the stomach, within few hours after a full meal. This is nature’s mechanism to prevent formation of toxins in the body due to the accumulation of undigested food.

        In the science of Ayurveda, it is said that the undigested particles of food get stuck to the stomach lining as a sticky yellowish-white substance called ‘Aama’. It further moves down to the small intestine and can get absorbed into the body, creating toxins and causing diseases.

        The yogic practice of Vaman Dhauti helps to clean the stomach of the unwanted food particles left over after digestion. It is practiced on an empty stomach in the early morning. It is process where the practitioner drinks large amount of saline water and vomits out the entire water, thus flushing the stomach clean.

How to do Vaman Dhauti / Kunjal Kriya?

  1. Prepare warm saline water for the practice. One can use 1 to 1 ½ liters of water depending on one’s capacity. Add 2 tea spoons (about 10 ml) of salt per liter of water. Water should be just lukewarm and not hot.
  2. Drink one glass of the salt water first to see your comfort level. Then go ahead with the second glass. In this manner, drink the entire saline water (1 to 1 ½ liters) very quickly.
  3. Next step is to vomit out the entire water.
  4. Bend over a washbasin or sink to vomit out the water. To aid in the vomiting, insert two fingers (index and middle) into your throat. Tickle the root of the tongue with your fingers. This will cause a vomiting reflux and the water is thrown out. This will happen in spurts.
  5. Continue the process till all the water that you drank is vomited out.

Benefits of Vaman Dhauti / Kunjal Kriya

  1. This practice cleans the digestive tract of any undigested food particles lingering in the stomach and esophagus. This undigested food can eventually enter the body as toxins. Kunjal kriya prevents the formation of these toxins.
  2. Cleaning the stomach also removes gas, acidity and indigestion.
  3. It removes extra mucus from the food pipe or esophagus.
  4. It helps to relieve asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory problems.
  5. It can alleviate sore throat and coughs.
  6. This practice is also used in Ayurveda and Naturopathy. It removes the problems created by ‘Pitha Dosha’ like acidity and gas.

The Kunjal kriya is fairly easy to practice and can be done even by beginners. Those with specific medical conditions like asthma, stomach ulcers, etc should seek the help from qualified yoga instructors before attempting it.