Colon cleansing for better health

Defining colon cleansing

Colon cleansing (Basti) is one of the six purification techniques (shatkarmas). It is the method of cleaning the colon by sucking in air or water through the anus.  This method of cleansing has been practised in India since time immemorial, and there are many people who still find it very efficient and vital for their health.

colon cleansing

There are two types of colon cleansing (basti) practises:

  • Jala
  • Sthala

However, in order to practice colon cleansing, you need to first master madhyama nauli (central abdominal contraction) and uddiyana banda. This is necessary in order to suck water or air into the colon.

Jala basti (Yogic enema with water)

Yogic enema with water (jala basti) is the practice where one sucks water into the anus, thus cleaning the colon with water. Ideally, you must practise it in a river. But as this is not possible nowadays, the best option is to sit over a bucket of water or in a bath tub.


  • Beginners will have to start by inserting an 8 mm catheter into the rectum. The catheter should be at least 15 cm long, perfectly smooth and hollow. Wipe it with beeswax or non-irritating oil such as vaseline or ghee for lubrication. Insert 4 cm of the tube into the anal passage.
  • Then, squat in the tub (or over a bucket) in utkatasana (chair pose).
  • Exhale and perform uddiyana bandha (abdominal lock).
  • Do madhyama nauli and hold. This allows water to suck up through the tube into the bowel. If the water is still not sucked up, do vama or dakshina nauli. When you can no longer hold your breath, remove the catheter or tube, without exhaling.
  • Then stand up and exhale slowly through the nose. When you expel the water it is best to squat over the toilet because stool in the lower intestine will also come out.
  • Remove the catheter before exhaling. Otherwise, the water will pass out and the tube will get blocked by pieces of stool.
  • Then lie in shavasana (corpse pose) on a blanket. Slowly assume pashinee mudra (folded mudra), placing the knees beside the ears and balancing on the backs of the shoulders, hands clasped together behind the back of the knees. This releases air from the bowel and induces a bowel action if there is any water remaining.
  • Come out of the position slowly and lie in shavasana again. Then fold the knees to the chest, hold them and slowly rock from side to side, or rock with the arms stretched out to the sides at shoulder height.
  • Lie in shavasana again and when you are ready, perform bhujangasana (cobra pose) slowly 3 to 5 times. This exerts pressure on the lower intestine and releases any remaining water or air. You can also perform mayurasana (peacock pose) colon cleansing method (basti), but it is not essential.

Important tips

It is very important to use clean water for colon cleansing. Also, the water must be neither hot nor too cold. However, in cold weather, you can use lukewarm water. It is not necessary to add salt to the water. But most important, you must sterilize the catheter before and after use.

You can practise colon cleansing both in warm or hot weather, especially if you are also doing intense breath control (pranayama) and bandhas. This enema practice generates energy but also removes heat from the body. However, do not practise during cloudy, rainy, windy or stormy weather.

Sthala basti (Dry yogic enema)

Sthala basti (dry yogic enema) is a practice where one sucks air into the anus. You must practise it while lying on your back. Before proceeding with such a practice, you must first perfect jala basti technique(yogic enema with water).


  • Assume vipareeta karani mudra (inverted pose), but position the back at a 60 degree angle to the floor.
  • Then bring the knees down to the chest. Push the sphincter muscles out and in. This movement sucks air into the bowel.

Sthala basti can also be practiced in pashinee mudra (folded mudra) or paschimottanasana (forward bend pose), performing ashwini mudra. In the beginning uddiyana may also be required. It is not easy to suck in air while in paschimottanasana as there is pressure on the anus, so it is best to start in an inverted pose.


Yogic enema completely washes the bowel and removes excess bacteria, old stool, threadworms and heat from the lower intestines. Most importantly, it pushes apana vayu (downward-flowing energy) upward. When the apana rises it can be felt in the navel region and as a great pressure on the stomach.

Also, yogic enema cures digestive disorders and is particularly useful for removing constipation, stimulating sluggish digestion, controlling nervous diarrhea and strengthening the solar plexus.

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