Yoga Kriya is an activity that involves cleanliness as part of the second of Patanjali’s eight limb of yoga path, Niyama. Kriya activity is carried out with the intention of purify and clean the body as part of devotion to the highest.
There are three popular types of Kriya. They are Neti, Trataka and Kapalabhati, all of which should only be practiced with assistance from an expert yoga practitioner.
Neti is a type of nasal irrigation. It is practiced using a special Neti pot with a narrow spout filled with salty tepid water. Use one teaspoon of salt for a pint of water. To perform Neti the head is tilted to one side, so that one nostril is direct above the other, with an ear facing downwards. Then, the spout is inserted into the upper nostril, so that the water drips through the upper nostril into the lower nostril and then out of the nose. A gentle inhalation may be needed to start the process, let the water flow out the lower nostril for about 15 seconds, remove the spout and turn the head the other way, repeating it onto the other nostril. Neti can help to control hay fever, rhinitis, catarrh, throat infection.
Trataka is a form of eye cleanness through irrigation, it involves staring at a candle, or other fixed object about three feet in front of the eyes without blinking in order to encourage lacrimation. It causes the eyes to water removing any dust from the eyes. Do not practice Trataka if you have any condition such as epilepsy, seizures etc.
Kapalabhati means shining skull, it can be performed in a comfortable sitting position. Relax the abdomen and keep the back upright. Exhale strongly and inhale half a breath. Exhale with a quick and inward jerk of the abdomen. The abdominal wall will rebound, leading to a spontaneous inhalation. Start with one or two breaths per seconds and one round of about ten breaths. Kapalabhati can help to clear the head and nasal problems. Do not perform Kapalabhati with a full stomach, or if you are pregnant or suffer from abdominal problems.
Do not perform any Kriya unsupervised, nor without an experienced yoga practitioner.
Marcia has been practising yoga for over 20 years and has specialised in the Hatha and Ashtanga schools of yoga, although has also enjoyed learning other branches such as Iyengar. As well as yoga she practices meditation, and plays a wide range of sports, including badminton, cricket, cycling, and walking.