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Description of the Six Acts

(2) The Washing of the Bowels (Vasti)

The washing of the bowels is called Vasti, because Vasti is a center, red in color, in the lower abdomen near the Root Center.

The practice, which cleanses the bowels, is of two kinds: cleansing by air and cleansing by water.

Air-cleansing consists in drawing air upwards into the intestines, by the shaking of the belly, and then, assuming the Peacock posture, letting the air go.

Water-cleansing consists in immersing the body in water and drawing in some of the water by shaking the belly. When the air cleansing has been completely successful, water-cleansing is easy because the air helps to draw in the water.

"Vasti practice consists in sitting in the Raised Lotus posture in water up to the navel with a tube in the anus and then to wash out the inner belly by drawing in water." (Hatha Yoga Pradipika; 2, 26.)

The tube should preferably be of bamboo, six finger-breadths in length, well smeared with oil or ghee; its hole should be large enough for the small finger to enter. Two-thirds of this tube should be introduced into the rectum, then, pressing both heels hard together squat on the balls of the feet and contract the anus to draw in water. Having swilled this water inside by the shaking of the belly, it should be evacuated. This removes all inner residues, toxins, parasites, etc. and leaves the intestines thoroughly clean. Do the cleansing before taking food and take some light food immediately after it.

Some people, training themselves in air cleansing, do water cleansing standing in the water without the use of a tube, but this can have ill-effects.

When doing bowel cleansing in a river, there is always the risk of animalculae entering the intestines and doing harm there; a piece of fine cloth, therefore, should be stretched over the mouth of the tube.

To let out the water, the Drawing-back posture should be used. Cool, but never cold water should be used for the cleansing of the bowels.

"By cleansing the bowels, all diseases of the spleen, liver and intestines, and disorders of wind, bile and Iymph, single or combined, are eliminated." (Hatha Yoga Pradipika, 2, 27.)

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