Basti is the process of cleansing the colon in Yoga. In simple words, it is Yogic Enema. Moreover, it is a purification process that drives away many diseases in Ayurveda. In Yoga, it is one of the Shatkriya.
Medieval Yoga texts like Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Hatha Ratnavali, and Hatha Tattva Kaumudi describe this yogic cleansing process.
Similarly, in Ayurveda, it is the most powerful detoxification and rejuvenation technique that involves the introduction of herbal medicines and oils into the colon. Niruha and Auvasana Bastis are given to patients as a part of Pancha Karma treatment or as a standalone treatment. Moreover, Yoga Basti is an effective treatment for many diseases in Ayurveda.
In this article, we discuss its meaning, various classifications, steps, and benefits in the context of Yoga..
बस्ति (Basti) in Sanskrit means bladder, the pubic region, the lower belly, or pelvis. Also, it is called Vasti or Wasti. Hence, it refers to a process that involves the cleansing of the lower belly. It simply means clyster. In Yoga, it means the process of cleansing the colon. Similarly, In Ayurveda is the technique of cleaning the lower belly by introducing herbal medicines or oils.
Basti Definition by Hatha Yoga Pradipika
Squatting in navel deep water, and introducing a smooth pipe of six inches long and a half-inch in diameter which is open in two ends, the water should be drawn up and expelled by contraction and release of the the rear-end. This gets the name Basti Karma.Hatha Yoga Pradipika 1.27
Classification of Basti
According to Gheranda Samhita, it is of two kinds namely Jalabasti and Sthalabasti. Hatha Ratnavali classifies it into Jalabasti and Vayubasti. Sthalabasti and Vayubasti are one and the same.
Jala in Sanskrit means water. Hence, this process of cleansing involves water. The steps for performing Jalabasti are given below.
- Stand in navel-deep water.
- Then, lean forward and place the hands on the knees.
- Perform Uddiyana Bandha and Nauli by expanding the Anal sphincter muscle and draw the water into the bowels.
- Hold the water for some time and finally expel the water through the rear end.
Benefits of Jala Basti
The following are the benefits of Jalabasti
- It expels the Old stools.
- Also, it cures the gas trouble.
- Besides, it cleans and purifies the colon
- Advanced Yogi face abdominal while practicing for long hours of Asana and Pranayama. Hence they feel the heat in the pelvic region. Also, while performing Kundalini Yoga, the yogi feels abnormal heat in the lower spine. This practice is a good remedy for them.
- Moreover, it purifies all the Chakras.
Sthala Basti or Vayu Basti
Sthalabasti means the dry process of cleaning the colon. Similarly, Vayubasti means the cleansing is the process that involves the air. The following are the steps.
- First, assume Paschimottanasana
- Then perform Ashwini Mudra 25 times. While doing so, suck the air into the bowels.
- Hold it for some time and finally expel the air.
It removes the gas troubles.
Basti in Hatha Ratnavali
According to the author of Hatha Ratnavali, there are two traditions in Basti. One is käpälika tradition and another one is carpata tradition. In the former tradition, a wooden tube is used for the process. The latter resorts to Chakri Karma. Also, the author recommends that one should stay in a place devoid of draught and should not consume food for at least an hour after completing this Kriya.
Chakri Karma is similar to Moola Shodhana. It is the process of inserting a turmeric root of half-finger length in the rear end by opening it and moving it around until the anal sphincters are fully relaxed. Instead of turmeric root, one may use his own finger. According to the author, it removes the piles, enlargement of the spleen, and abdominal disorders. Of all the yogic cleansing processes, Hatha Ratnavali emphasizes the practice of Chakri Karma.