Hatha Yoga – Does Nadishodhan precedes Shatkarmas?

|| Yoga works deeper than your body ||
|| Yoga works deeper than your body ||


Respected Master,
Many teachers, books quote Kapalbhati a process of purification in itself i.e. last of six shatkarma. Which is performed before proceeding towards pranayama. But, I learned reading your article that it is an advanced step which should be done after practicing asanas and nadi-shodhana for a sufficient time. Kindly throw some light.

- Udit





Beloved Udit,

Great question but it just seems you have neither found a true yoga master nor taken pains to read the hatha-yoga pradeepika attentively. If you would have studied it (not just read it) and applied yourself in perspective or sat at the lotus feet of a Yogi you would have understood it differently and also the true essence of what Yoga is all about.

May be you have gone through the book and just ignored how much it stresses/talks about Nadis, Purification of Nadis even in the chapters it is discussing asanas. It also says clearly that practicing pranayama is a futile (may also be dangerous if you understand it in detail) exercise if nadis have not been cleaned.

I have written enough about Pranayama and Yoga. In all the posts I have tried to dssociate Yoga from being branded or tought as a Health and Fitness course which it is not! I hoped my words would suffice but unfortunately every other day I find people coming and asking “How to recover from the problems caused by this pranayamam… that pranayama…”. People just don’t care to study before they try to pick up Yoga or Pranayama. They are the same people who read 20 reviews about the recently released Movie, talk to 20 parents before selecting a school for their kids but the same people dont care even little to assess and review the practices they are choosing for themselves.

Anyways.. I don’t claim to be only True Yoga Master around on the planet however I have faith and deep reverence towards my Yoga teachers.  My first Guru of Yoga was my father Pandit Shri Murli Dhar Mishr ji who taught me the subject during my early years and the other is my Yoga Guru revered Yogiraj Shri Balenduji Giri Maharaj who introduced deeper and finer aspects of this discipline. Frankly, I am not concerned what others say.. what others teach.. I propagate the teachings of my Masters. Beyond doubts their words are final for me!

In case you have not got satisfactory answer to your question so far  btw sincerely I haven’t tried that as well knowingly.. (Laughs) you can refer to some decent books from authentic Masters on the subject. One of my disciple, in order to relieve me of this repetitive job of making the Modern defaulting Yogis understand the true spirit of Yoga, (He suggested for the reasons I understand, It was primarily because owing to repeated questions of pranayama victims I was finding it difficult to give time and attention on the subject of Tantra and Tattva Shakti Vigyaan which we primarily propagate!)  requested me to direct people to the books first and then ask questions. He is an avid net-surfer and suggested many relevant online resources. I think for your question this link it apt.

A Commentary on Hatha Yoga Pradeepika

Like many other scriptures Hatha Yoga was transmitted from Shiva to Parvati face to face. Someone heard it (that someone was a fish) and Shiva graced that fish to become the first Siddha of Hatha Yoga, Shri Mastyendra Nath ji. And then on this tradition has continued. BKS Ayengar was also the initiate of Hatha Yoga tradition and when he writes a foreword to this book, he would have seen what authors have presented there. He has appreciated the authors for their nice work and his words should be trusted and taken seriously. Read my earlier posts and you will understand the message from the lineage of Masters is always the same.

Nadishodhan is sufficient in itself to give you all the health benefits. Take time and learn it from a seasoned Yogi First complete Nadi-Shodhan then anything else. TO your surprise no path – Gyan, Bhakti and Karma can be perfected without Nadishodhan. This is not an overstatement – I am ready with answers if someone questions it (smiles)

Finally, I should tell you one less known thing. In eight limbs of Yoga you can actively work only on 4 (Yamam Niyama, Asana and Pranayama..) rest happen by their own.. automatically (when practitioner perfects). And there is no way you can ensure that the day you are doing pranayama.. you slide to pratyahara, then over to dharana.. leading to dhyan and samadhi. Shatkarmas are about cleansing all the inner organs so that your passages are clean and obstruction free because when you enter in Samadhi you are suspended between life and death. (Not to be taken negatively… it means you, your consciousness or soul is very loosely bound with your body) And if your physical body (especially the nasal cavity and air passage) is not clean and obstruction free then you run the risk of being suffocated. As such in general in such a rapid samadhi no one can predict when will it break or how long it will sustain. So even before attempting pranayama this (kapalbhati) is recommended. And after Shatkarmas what are we doing.. we are doing the last ‘doable step’.. pranayama which will / may lead to samadhi. So  nadishodhan runs parallel to asanas, attitude of sadhaka and precedes everything else, even shatkarmas.

First complete Nadi-Shodhan then anything else.

– Acharya Agyaatadarshan

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