Varisara Dhauti

Intestinal Cleansing

More commonly known as, Shanka Praksalana

Virisara Dhauti is a strong and deep purification action for the entire intestinal tract. The recommendations vary from two-four times per year, or with the change of seasons. Certainly it is not to be practiced more than once per month. The practice is very demanding for the body, therefore it is necessary to plan sufficient time for rest and recovery. One whole day needs to be dedicated to the practice; and the following day should also allow time for rest. It is recommended to practice in a moderate climate, neither too cold nor too hot. The body may get sensitive to the cold as a consequence of the exhaustion, or one may experience excessive heat due to the salt intake involved in the practice. The preferred time for the purification action is early morning, after the body has been prepared with a light or without dinner the night before.


  • One needs to be prepared with plenty of purified water (four to five litres) which is at body temperature, and with natural salt (one tablespoon of salt per litre of water).
  • A toilet needs to be available during the entire time of the practice.
  • Food for the day consisting of white rice softly cooked with peeled mungdal and/or lentils mixed up with a good portion of butter/oil (Khicheri), enough to fill the stomach entirely twice, (coconut oil is okay too)!

It is advised to be very specific about the salt water solution which is used (one tablespoon of salt per litre of water). Slight variations can cause the technique to fail. Too little salt makes the body expel the water through urinary system and too much salt causes nausea and vomiting.


  • Start the technique by drinking two glasses of salty water. The water needs to be drunk at a correct pace, neither too fast (as this may produce vomiting) nor too slow (as the slow drinking of the salt water may lead to so much disgust that one may discontinue the process.
  • After the water is drunk, four dynamic movements are performed, 8 repetitions each.
  • Then another two glasses of water are drunk, followed by the movements, and so on.
  • The practiced is continued this way, until the first  bowel movement occurs. One interrupts the practice, evacuates, and then resumes the drinking and moving until the next bowel movement occurs.
  • In case too much nausea, dizziness and/or a vomiting reflex occurs, break the practice for a moment while keeping the spine upright. Walk a few steps, rest for a bit in sitting, and continue once you feel recovered. It is very important to entirely avoid drinking pure, non-salty water during the practice, as it will dilute the salty water, thus causing the practice to fail.
  • With time the solid excretions change to a watery/fluid like consistency, until only plain, slightly cloudy water is expelled. This is time to stop the purification practice. If the drinking is continued the water turns intensely yellow which is coming from bile release.
  • The practice is stopped by laying the body to rest in Shavasana (corpse pose) for 30-45 minutes. Care should be taken that one does not fall asleep as it might cause strong headache and fatigue. It is important to keep warm during this resting period. 
  • Not less than 30 minutes, and no more than 45 minutes the first Khicheri meal needs to be taken to fill the stomach once entirely, even if there is no perception of hunger. The meal is salt less. After the meal rest for another two hours, after which one is allowed to start drinking plain water. A second meal in the evening needs to be taken to fill the stomach once more. It is necessary to follow this meal plan and the dietary restrictions as described below for the following days. To deepen the effects of the purification action it is recommended to practice Mauna (silence).


  • Stand with feet 30cm apart, fingers interlocked, palms upward, back straight avoid any twisting of the trunk. Lean to the left and to the right side.
  • These movements open the stomach and after each bend, a certain amount of water leaves the stomach toward the intestines.


  • Standing with the feet 30cm apart, stretch the right arm laterally while bending the left arm, so that the thumb and index touch the right collar bone. The left elbow is at the high of the shoulder, twist the trunk toward the right, pointing the out stretched arm backward, as far as possible. The gaze follows the tips of the fingers, do not stop at the end of the movement, but swiftly return to the starting position, repeating the movement on the opposite side.
  • This movement pushes the water forward in the intestine.


  • Perform a variation of the cobra pose, the toes and the fingers touch the ground, the feet about 30cm apart. Twist the shoulders and the head to look over the shoulder until you can gaze at your opposite heel. Without interruption, swiftly return and continue to the opposite side.
  • This movement pushes the water further through the intestine.


  • Crouch with your feet 30cm apart. Place the hands on the knees, which are 50cm apart. Twisting the trunk toward the right, so as to place the left knee on the ground besides the right foot. The hands push the right thigh toward the left, and the left thigh towards the right, also spin the head in the same direction so that you gaze backward, without stopping, return and continue on the opposite side.
  • Of all four movements, this is the only one in which the side with which one begins is important. Due to this last movement the water will be conducted through the large intestine until the end.


  • Energy levels are raised.
  • Through the practice, digestive problems such as indigestion, gas, acidity and constipation are alleviated.
  • It generally tones the liver, digestive organs and glands.
  • Strengthens immune system, lessens allergies.
  • Purifies the blood and reduces skin problems such as pimples, boils and eczema.


  • People suffering from any medical condition should seek guidance from a qualified yoga teacher before attempting the practice, especially those taking medication.
  • This practice should also be avoided during pregnancy.


After the deep cleanse the digestive system is very vulnerable and extra care should be taken to protect the body. For at least one week or better, one month after the practice, all chemically processed, synthetic, pungent, spicy, acidic, rich and non-vegetarian foods must be strictly avoided. The diet should be as pure, simple and as neutral as possible. It may include foods such as rice, wheat, bread, vegetables with low acidic content, nuts, lentils, soya beans and other pulses.


I drank nearly 4 litres of salt water until I saw my bile release. I then stopped immediately and went into shavasana for 30minutes. Afterwards I felt quite depleted but once I consumed a meal of Kicheri my energy levels were raised. For the rest of the day I did feel lethargic, so I suggest try stick to the method above and put yourself in a relaxing environment for the entire day.

  • If you chose to do it with a partner or friend, I recommend different starting times, (30min) before each other so as not to argue over who needs the toilet first!
  • It is good to watch a movie or tend to emails to make the time pass faster during the process.
  • Mark with a pen each 2 glasses of salt water you drink so you know when to do the 4 exercises… It can get confusing on which glass you are on, if you wish to keep track on how much salt water is consumed.
  • I drank the first bottle rather quickly, but the remaining bottles I believe had more salt so I had to drink slowly and mentally push the liquid down my throat so as not to vomit. If you feel you will vomit, slow your pace and if you must, dilute your water slightly. 
  • Read the instructions above, carefully.
  • When finished and laying in Shavasana make sure NOT to fall asleep. It helps if you lay with your arms by your side, one arm bending at the elbow, hand pointed to the sky. If you start to doze off, your hand will start to fall which will alert you into staying conscious.
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