Basti is one of the six techniques that
comprise shatkarma (also called shatkriya), the yogic
body cleansing system. It is used in the traditional Indian medicine
practice of Ayurveda. Jala basti is believed to remove toxins and
cool the body by cleaning the bowel and removing old stool, excess
bacteria, and thread worms from the lower intestines.
To successfully practice jala basti, a
yogi must first master uddiyana bandha (the abdominal lock),
nauli (internal massage of the abdominal region) and ashwini
mudra (a rhythmic contraction of the anal sphincter).
Jala basti is thought to have the
following additional health benefits:
- Improves abdominal muscle tone
- Treats digestive disorders such as
constipation and nervous diarrhea
- Strengthens the solar plexus
- Purifies the blood
Yogis who have high blood pressure, a
hernia or a serious digestive disorder should not practice jala
basti. Those who suffer from colitis or dysentery may benefit from
jala basti, but should seek a doctor's approval first.