Tratak or Trataka – Steady Gazing

Tratak, steady gazing at a particular point or object without blinking, develops powers of concentration and strengthens the eyes. It is very useful for students of all paths of yoga.

“look without winking the eyelids) at a minute abject with your mind concentrated till the tears come into the eyes. this is called trataka by the gurus. By trataka, all diseases of the eye are removed. So it should be carefully preserved secretly as a golden casket.” – Hatha Yoga Pradipika, chapter 2, vs 31-32


Candle Gazing

Place a candle at eye-level, 3-4 feet from the body. Sit erect with body relaxed. For one minute, gaze at the candle flame without blinking. Then close the eyes, relax the eye muscle and visualise the flame between the eyebrows for a minute. Repeat the practice, gradually increase the period from one to three minutes, spending equal time relaxing the eyes. This exercise stimulates the nerve centres, develops good concentration and strengthens the eyes.

Frontal Gazing

Advanced students start concentrating by directing and turning the half-closed eye towards the space between the eyebrows (Ajna Chakra). By this practice, the olfactory and optic nerves are stimulated. in turn, the autonomic and central nervous systems are awakened. Done slowly without strain, this exercise has a soothing effect on the cranial nerves and enables the mind to become one-pointed. in the beginning, practice only for one or two minutes. caution is advised so that eye muscles are not strained or damaged.

Nasal gaze

Sit in a comfortable position with body relaxed and gaze at the tip of the nose for 1-2 minutes. Avoid too much strain. if pain or tiredness is felt, close and relax the eyes. repeat a few times. This strengthens the eye muscles and increases the power of concentration.


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Dhauti: Upper digestive tract cleansing

“This is called dhauti, and removes asthma, splenetic diseases, leprosy and other diseases brought on by phlegm.” – Hatha Yoga Pradipika, chapter 2, vs. 25

Wind purification: Plavini

Close the epiglottis and, with a push, swallow a column of air into stomach. Repeat the process until the stomach is filled with air. Then slowly, belch the air out along with the foul gases from the stomach.

Water purification: Kunjar Kriya or Vamana Dhauti

Drink four to eight glasses of lukewarm salt water. Press the stomach with the left hand. Put the fingers of the right hand to the back of the throat and vomit the water back. may be done once per week always on an empty stomach.

Fire purification: Agni Sara

Practice uddiyana bandha. Without inhaling, relax the abdominal muscles and draw them in again in quick succession. Do 5-10 pumping in this manner. This is one round. Practice 3-5 rounds daily.

Cloth purification: Vastra Dhauti

take a fine piece of gauze two-three inches wide and fifteen feet long. Dip it into tepid salt water. Place one end of the cloth into the mouth and begin to chew. Begin to swallow the cloth little by little. In order to get the cloth moving, some water can be drunk along with the cloth. On the first day swallow only one foot of the length, retain it for a few minutes, then take it out slowly. Thus, little by little, the whole cloth can be swallowed. retain it in the stomach for two minutes. if you can, practice nauli. Then withdraw the gauze slowly and carefully. When the kriya is over, drink some milk or warm water with honey to lubricate the throat. This kriya can be practiced once a week in the early morning on an empty stomach.



These exercises (with the exception of Agni Sara) should not be practiced if you have, or have ever had, an eating disorder.


Nauli: Abdominal Churning

“With the head bent down, one should turn the intestines of the abdomen to the right and left with the slow motion of a small eddy in the river. This is called nauli by the siddhas. This nauli, the crown of Hatha Yoga practices, drives away the dullness of the gastric fire, increases the digestive power, produces a pleasing sensation and destroys all diseases and disorders of the humours.”

Uddiyana bandha and nauli are the best exercises for strengthening the abdominal muscles that assist in the elimination of waste products. Moreover, the manipulation of these muscles increases circulation.

Preparatory Exercises:

Uddiyana Bandha

Both uddiyana bandha and nauli strengthen the abdominal muscles and remove sluggishness of the stomach, intestines and liver.

In a standing position, place the hands firmly on the thighs, legs apart and bend slightly forward. Forcefully exhale. Draw the navel and intestines upwards, so that the abdomen rests against the back of the body high in the thoracic cavity. Hold the abdomen in the raised position as long as possible, without inhaling. This can be repeated five to eight times with brief intervals to rest. It may be practiced daily.

Agni Sara (Dhauti)

Nauli Practice

Holding uddiyana bandha, contract the left and right sides of the abdomen. This brings the abdominal muscles into a vertical line. After mastering the central nauli, the nextstep is to master the side-to-side churning abdomen.


This should not be practiced by pregnant women – or if a person is having abdominal cramps or pain.



Neti: Nasal Clansing

Neti: Nasal Cleansing

Neti is a technique for cleansing the nose, nasal passages and sinuses. It is important for maintaining freedom of breadth and combating pollution.

To assist nature in cleaning the nasal passage and mucous membrane, string, water and air are used by yogis. These not only remove foreign matter, but prevent catching colds and keep the olfactory nerve in a healthy condition.

Jala Neti: Water Cleansing

Add a teaspoon of sea salt to a glass of lukewarm water and stir well. With the use of a neti pot (lota), pour the water into one nostril, keeping the head back. Then raise the head and blow the excess water out of the nostril. Repeat with the other nostril. The process is repeated 2-3 times with each nostril. It is important not to inhale while pouring the water into nostril. To be practiced daily.

An alternative method is to raise the head and allow salt water to flow down into the throat and out of the mouth. Do not try to inhale the water, as it brings an unpleasant sensation. Just allow it to flow to the mouth naturally, by keeping the head raised, then spit it out. A small quantity of water may remain in the nasal passage, which should be blown out immediately. Jala neti may be practiced daily.  If you feel a head cold coming on, or already have a blocked nose, you may do it two to three times per day.

Sutra Neti: Thread Cleansing

Dip the string or catheter into lukewarm salt water. Insert the catheter into right nostril. When you feel it on the back of the tongue, slowly and carefully draw the catheter out through the mouth using the index finger and thumb. Repeat with left nostril. This can be practiced twice weekly.


Don’t do sutra neti if you have an upper respiratory infection, as it may help to spread it.


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