Jala Basti

Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Jala Basti Mean?

Jala basti is a Hatha yoga technique in which water is sucked into the anus with or without the use of a catheter tube for the purpose of cleansing the colon. The term is derived from the Sanskrit, jala, meaning “water,” and basti, which refers to the abdominal region.

One of two types of basti, jala basti is a difficult technique that involves pulling the abdomen in and up. The other type of basti, sthala basti, involves cleansing the colon by sucking air into the body without a tube, but still using a technique similar to jala basti.

Jala basti is often referred to in English as a yoga water enema.


Yogapedia Explains Jala Basti

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.

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