Kunjal (Vamana) Kriya - Stomach Washing

Yogi Shakti Das

This practice is used in the cleansing of the oesophagus and stomach.

Technique:

Start by quickly drinking approximately one litre of isotonic salt water, performing nauli kriya (optional), then forcefully evacuating the stomach utilizing a vomiting reflex (apply uddiyana bandha after having taken a big inhalation followed by a complete exhalation and external kumbhaka). If the vomiting reflex is not triggered naturally through this process, use a finger to tickle the upper part of the throat, as far back as is necessary to induce vomiting. To be effective, the vomiting wave action should be very forceful moving from the bottom of the stomach upward so that all the contents including any old solid matter at the bottom of the stomach are pushed up and out. Don't worry if not all the liquid is evacuated, it will pass later naturally through the stool and urine.

Kunjal kriya is best done at dawn or first thing in the morning, after evacuating the bladder and bowels. With a little practice the entire litre will come out in a forceful stream, one or two waves, taking with it any old mucous or debris. However, most of us will require a series of three or more wavelike contractions to eliminate.

Trouble Shooting:

Vomiting is a natural and intelligent reflex toward bad food, water, or foreign objects. It is a life supporting instinct that, for most of us, has been repressed through modern society's anti-nature bias (e.g. telling off a child for vomiting or going to the toilet in the wrong manner etc.). In order to enhance the vital life supporting intelligence of the body we must learn how to let go of our conditioning. The vomiting reflex is a wavelike reverse peristalsis and is thus not meant to be performed wilfully, mechanically, or consciously. Simply try to trigger it and surrender to the body's inner wisdom allowing for this cleanse to happen naturally.

Use pure warm water and non-iodized pure salt if available. The salt is not essential as this wash can be done with plain warm water. Try to finish the entire process from the beginning of drinking the salt water to the final series of evacuation in less than three minutes. Let nature or instinct take care of the evacuation as it can not be done wilfully except that we can set the stage to allow for it to happen. Let the wave start from the bottom (pit) of the belly. Just let it out. If there is undigested food left over from last night's dinner, we gain information as to our digestion and food compatibilities This may be acidic and taste and smell "badly" but remember we are getting it out. Try to get the bottom of the stomach emptied, but do not worry if not all the salt water comes out of the mouth. It will come out the other end and serve as a wash there if need be.

After good eating practices and good digestion have been established, there will be nothing but water and slight mucous evacuated in the morning. It is good to do jala neti after kunjal kriya as this will wash away any stomach acids or fluids from the nose and upper throat.

Kunjal kriya is best done outside in nature, standing on grass in a yoga setting (it's good for plants and crops and helps everyone to overcome any social stigma). At home, it is helpful that the toilet bowl is clean and pleasant or we can use a big wide pan. The point is that we should not worry and hold back. Take some deep breaths before you start in order to keep the mind from worrying that you will need to stop because of lack of breath. The uddiyana bandha should be done with the pelvis retroverted (posterior tilt), the abdomen curved in toward the spine (concave), and the wave should travel first in and then move upward while holding out the breath (complete exhale). Keep the attitude cheerful and light hearted. It's often done in groups so that we can laugh at what in most social settings is considered unacceptable, gross, sick, or "bad".

Beginners are often advised to do it daily, but after it is mastered and there are no diseases of the lungs, udana , or prana , then once a week or less, according to your own constitution and unique circumstances. Do not eat anything for at least half an hour after this kriya and then make food light, easily digestible and devoid of spices or possible irritants. If stomach digestion is weakened by the practice, discontinue it and see a yoga therapist.

Benefits:

Kunjal kriya cleanses and stimulates the stomach, oesophagus, lungs, chest, heart, throat, nose, eyes, ears, and sinus. It balances the vayu (winds) in the body especially the upward moving prana-vayu . It is one of the specific remedies in Ayurvedic medicine for stomach, throat, asthma, and lung affliction. Also, this practice is particularly useful in helping us overcome old conditioning about the natural abilities of our body (that it is dirty etc.) helping us to establish a deeper connection and understanding of ourselves.

Another similar kriya is Vyagra Kriya (tiger kriya) which is varies mainly in that it is done immediately or within two hours after a specially prepared meal. It is especially helpful in removing excess mucous of the lungs and throat as well as normalizing pitta (bile secretions). It will not be detailed here as it can be too easily misunderstood as bulimic activity by outsiders who do not understand its purpose and mechanism.

Contra-indications & Cautions:

Not for hiatal hernia, high blood pressure, raised intercranial pressure, heart disease, stroke, peptic ulcers or diabetics with eye problems. Do not use cold water.