Dhouti is a word made up of Sanskrit verb "Dhoo" which means to wash. The process of such cleaning is Dhouti Kriya. However, even if this kriya is termed as Dhouti kriya, there is no actual process of washing involved. In this process, swift movements of the stomach are expected. The word Agni used here refers to the fire in the form of internal digestive juices.
Pre-position- Standing Pose
- Stand erect with a distance of 1 to 1.5 ft in between both the feet. Inhale
- Bend the legs at the knee in forward direction, place both the hands on the knee and exhale.
- The pressure of the shoulders should come onto the knees through both the hands. The legs below the knees and the hands starting from the shoulders should be in one line, diagonal to the ground.
- After exhaling completely, contract the stomach fully and immediately bring it back to the previous position. Continue this contraction and expansion exercise in rapid manner. This exercise is to be done while being in the state after complete exhalation. When the movement of the stomach is going on, there should not be any inhalation or exhalation i e Pooraka and Rechaka should be completely stopped. Try to perform the process a number of times as possible and in a firm position. Then gradually inhale, stand straight and come back into the pre-position.
The movement of the stomach should not be jerky but should be done rythmatically.
Since the process is to be performed after exhaling, a definite duration cannot be specified. It is expected to carry on the process till the time the bahya ( outer ) kumbhaka can be easily maintained. The duration of the bahya kumbhaka ( the state after complete exhalation before inhalation ) will determine the duration of the process. The duration will change as per the study of each sadhaka. Even if the duration of the bahya kumbhaka is less, the process can be studied in versions as the asanas were studied. The process can be practiced for 3 to 4 times at a stretch. However, it is not advisable to practise it further.
In this process, when the stomach moves in outward direction, the pressure reduces. When the process is performed efficiently, the pressure reduces to the extent of -110 to -120 mm. The pressure stays for a second and then increases to -50 to -60 mm when the muscles are relaxed, the pressure returns to the normal and when the stomach is contracted, it increases to +10 to +20 mm ( Ref : Yogamimansa volume 7, No 3. December, 1957 )
These positive and negative pressures in the stomach change with the swift movements made during the process. Thus, they act rapidly on the internal organs of the stomach. To understand their implication, one must have knowledge of the blood circulation process.
The blood vessels which carry the purified blood are termed as arteries ( Rohini ). They are quite tenacious. The excess or too low a pressure does not affect them much. The vessels carrying impure blood are known as veins ( Neela ). Compared to arteries, these are soft and weak. The low or excess pressure affects them immediately. When in the agnisar process, the pressure becomes negative, the vessels suck blood inside. When the pressure is negative, the blood gets sucked to that area, when the pressure is positive, the blood gets pushed forward. Thus, in the process of agnisar, the rapid movement of the stomach causes negative and positive pressure, the impure blood is sucked into the veins at the same rate and pushed forward. The pressure causes the blood to push forward. These vessels contain flaps so that the blood flows in one direction. This causes the circulation of the blood in the stomach to be rapid and effective, thus improving it considerably.
The abdominal cavity contains important organs such as stomach, small intestines, liver, spleen, pancreas, kidney etc. The blood circulation improves, also these organs get supply of pure blood, oxygen and the necessary food elements, the impurities and poisonous substances generated are effectively thrown out, which increases the efficiency of all these organs.
There is another important effect of the process. The muscles of the stomach are made up of involuntary muscles. These muscles cannot be moved as per one's wish. They are regulated by involuntary nervous system. Hence, one cannot make the stomach exercise at one's will. The efficiency of other muscles can be increased with the willful movement of the muscles. However, the muscles of the stomach cannot be exercised as such. In the process of Agnisar, since there is positive and negative pressure on these organs, they get massaged to an extent and moved too. This increases their efficiency and also generates more digestive juices. This improves digestion process. The description in the yoga texts that the agni in the stomach is ignited, can thus be experienced. Also, the bile produced by the liver is an important aspect of the digestion process. Since the process increases its production, the food is digested and assimilated well and more efficiently.
The other important gland in the abdomen is Pancreas. Pancreas produce Insulin. Insulin helps to digest the sugar in the food items. If enough insulin is not secreted, the sugar in the blood and urine increases and the cells are deprived of it. That means one suffers from diabetes. Due to the positive and negative pressures generated in the process, the efficiency of the glands increases, more insulin is produced and the sugar is digested properly.
It is evident from this description that this process is useful for the ailments such as complaints regarding digestion, indigestion, constipation, diabetes etc. However, one should study and practice it under expert guidance.
No one who suffers from stomach ailments should practise the process without expert guidance. Those who have undergone any operation of the stomach should not try to perform the process for a period of three years from the date of operation. Afterwards too, an attempt should be made under the expert directions. Those who suffer from the loss of tone of the stomach or swellings of the intestines or ailments of the liver should not practise unless advised by the experts. Also, at one point of time, the process should not be repeated more than 3 / 4 times.
References in the ancient texts
Gherand Samhita mentions the process in its first chapter Shatkarmsadhan as under :
Nabhigranthim meruprushte shatwaram cha karayet |
Udarymamayam twaktwa jatharagnim vivardhayeta || G S 1.19
Vanhisarmiyam dhoutiryoginam yogsiddhida |
Esha dhoutihi para gopya devanamapi durlabha || G S 1.20
Try touching the navel hundred times to the spinal cord. This process is known as agnisar dhouti. The process ensures siddhis for Yogis. This process eliminates diseases in the stomach and ignites the fire in the stomach. It is a secret process which is hard to achieve even for the Gods.