basti

( ‘[cleansing the] pelvic region’)

The aim of human life is to get spiri-tual illumination. This can be achieved only by strenuous sādhanā or spiritual discipline. The body is an invaluable instrument in this process of sādhanā. This body may wear out before time due to impurities in the internal systems. The science of Haṭhayoga has devised several simple methods for correcting the internal disorders through cleansing processes. They are six in number and are called ‘ṣaṭkarmas’ (ṣat = six). The second of these six is ‘basti.’

Basti is the process of cleansing the intestines. It is of two types: jalabasti and sthala or śuṣka-basti. The first is practised in water and the second on land.

Jalabasti is yogic enema, practised in navel deep water, by sitting in utkaṭāsana and alternately contracting and expanding the anus muscle (the sphincter).

When the same is practised on land, it becomes sthalabasti (sthala = land, ground) or śuṣka-basti (śuṣka = dry). However, paścimottānāsana is recommended for this basti.

Gastric troubles, wind troubles, constipation, cough and bile complaints are said to be cured by these two bastis.

It is advisable to practise them under the care and guidance of an expert.

See also ĀSANA, PAŚCIMOTTĀNA ĀSANA, ṢAṬKARMAS and UTKAṬĀSANA.