Vastra Dhauti is one of the six purification techniques of Hatha Yoga called the Shatkarma. Vastra Dhauti is specifically aimed at cleaning the stomach and esophageal tract. In this practice a long strip of moist cotton cloth is swallowed into the stomach. After retaining it for some time, it is pulled out thereby cleaning the stomach.
Vastra dhauti is a difficult practice for beginners and should be learnt under the supervision of a yoga expert.
How to do Vastra Dhauti?
To do Vastra Dhauti you need a clean strip of cotton cloth. It should be 2 -3 inches wide and about 20 – 25 feet long. Prepare a bowl of warm salt water. The proportion of salt should be around 1 tea spoon (5 ml) for every half liter. Dip the long cotton cloth in the warm salt water to make it wet. Also keep a keep a glass of warm water for drinking ready at hand. This practice should be done in a calm relaxed atmosphere. One may get the tendency to vomit when trying this for the first time. Slowly this will go away and one can swallow the entire length of cloth with ease.
Steps to do Vastra Dhauti
- Sit in the squatting position (or Utkatasana). One may also assume simple sitting position with spine straight (Sukasana), if that is more comfortable.
- Take one end of the moist cloth and insert into the mouth. Let the other end of the cloth rest in the bowl.
- Hold the cloth near the mouth with your hands and slowly start swallowing the cloth. This may seem difficult in the beginning. For beginners, try swallowing just 1 or 2 feet on the first day. The second day you can increase the length to 3 feet and on the third day to 4 ½ feet and so on. Some may be able to swallow the full length of 20 – 25 feet on day one, but that depends on the individual capacity.
- You can also sip the water from the glass to help you in the swallowing process.
- Continue the process till the full length of the cloth is inside. Make sure you leave at least half feet of cloth outside, so that you can pull out the cloth at the end of the practice.
- Once you have swallowed the full piece of cloth, you can churn and rotate the stomach from side to side. Those who know the practice of Nauli may also perform gentle Nauli to churn the abdominal muscles.
- Keep the cloth inside from few minutes to for maximum of 20 minutes. If you keep it longer, the cloth may end up in the small intestine by the regular movements in the stomach.
- Now pull the cloth out of the mouth very slowly. The cloth will be wet with lot of mucus and other sticky substance from the inner lining of the intestinal tract.
- Wash and sterilize the cloth to reuse it next time.
Benefits of Vastra Dhauti
- Vastra dhauti removes impurities from the intestinal tract, thereby detoxifying the stomach and esophagus regions.
- It helps to remove gas, acidity, indigestion and enlargement of spleen.
- It helps to relieve asthma, bronchitis, cough and other ‘Kapha’ or phlegm related problems.