The Shat Kriyas: Pre-Practices for Asana

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Course Overview

If you’ve ever been interested in learning more about ayurveda and trying some of its core practices, you’re sure to enjoy author and ayurveda and yoga therapist Indu Arora’s accessible introduction to the shat kriyas. The shat kriyas are traditional yogic techniques designed to balance the doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha), enhance mental clarity, and aid digestion. They are often practiced before asana and/or pranayama. In this course, you’ll learn about trataka (a yogic focusing practice), nadi shodhana (a practice for mental clarity), kapalabhati (skull shining breath), agni sara (a practice to stoke your digestive fire), nauli (abdominal churning), and sthula basti (a vata-pacifying practice).

After a general overview of the shat kriyas, you’ll receive six short lectures—each one outlines how a specific kriya works, what its essential benefits are, and the optimal time to practice it. Then, you’ll receive six corresponding practices. In each, Indu teaches you how to establish a good seated (or standing) posture for the kriya, elaborates on the way the technique balances the doshas, and offers you questions for reflection as you finish the practice so you’ll be able to connect more deeply to it.

Enjoy this introduction to a group of techniques that blends well with your mat practice and can enrich your daily life!

Certificate of completion

3 CEU’s Upon Completion

Self Paced Learning

Course Outline

2.3hrs to complete

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Section 1
  • Indu introduces you to the program and gives you an overview of the shat kriyas.
  • The Shatkriyas: Worksheet

Section 2
  • Learn the mental and physical benefits of trataka (a yogic focusing practice) and how to do this simple shat kriya.
  • Items needed: small, unscented candle In this guided trataka practice, you’ll begin with a warm-up for your eye muscles before turning your gaze toward a candle flame. Follow Indu’s step-by-step instructions and notice the effect of this kriya on your breath and your state of mind.
Section 3
  • Find out what nadi shodhana (a practice for mental clarity) is, its purpose in meditation, and how to approach the practice so you receive its benefits.
  • Props: blanket or chair In this grounding practice designed to clear the mind, Indu teaches you how to establish a stable seat and how to cultivate smooth, even breathing, and how the practice can balance the doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha). You’ll also learn about a technique that helps you breathe better during nadi shodhana.
Section 4
  • How does kapalabhati (skull shining breath) help us breathe and focus more easily? Learn about the physical and mental benefits of this shat kriya, when you should practice it, and how to listen to your body when doing it.
  • Props: blanket, cushion, or chair In this progressive kapalabhati exploration, you’ll gradually increase the number of repetitions of the practice. You’ll also learn more about the benefits of this shat kriya and how it can help balance the doshas.
Section 5
  • Learn what this core yoga practice is and how it can help balance your digestive system, as well as its benefit to your overall health and the optimal time of day to do it.
  • Props: blanket, cushion, or chair Learn and practice agni sara while seated in baddha konasana (bound angle pose) and then while standing. After each practice, Indu offers you reflective questions to help you observe your body, breath, and mind. She also explains the nuances of the physical movements in agni sara (so you can connect with the practice on a deeper, more sustainable level) and how to combine agni sara with other shat kriyas.
Section 6
  • Learn what nauli (aka “abdominal churning”) is all about—how it works, its mental and physical benefits, and why early morning is the best time to practice it.
  • Learn about and practice nauli while seated in baddha konasana (bound angle pose) and then while standing. After each round, Indu offers you reflective questions so you can observe your body, breath, and mind. She also explains the nuances of the physical movements and how to combine nauli with other yoga practices.
Section 7
  • Sthula basti is a shat kriya for vata dosha imbalance. (Vata is the dosha—or ayurvedic constitution—that governs all movement in the mind and body and controls the elimination of wastes.) Learn what the steps are for this kriya, how it aids digestion, and how it can pacify vata.
  • Learn more about the vata-pacifying practice shtula basti and explore it in asana. You’ll do three variations—one in dandasana (staff pose), one in a seated hip opener on the right side, and one in the same seated hip opener on the left side. After you practice, you’ll pause and reflect on how you are feeling in body, breath, and mind.
Section 8
  • Indu thanks you for joining her and offers some further questions for reflection about the effect of the shat kriyas on your daily life. She also gives you suggestions for reading about these practices and closes with inspirational words for your yoga journey.
  • The Shat kriyas: Slides PDF

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Meet Your Teacher

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Indu Arora
Indu considers herself a student for lifetime. Acknowledged as a strong, clear and authentic voice in... Read more

Frequently Asked Questions

Absolutely, you can include this course in your Yoga Alliance training hours, with each hour equivalent to one continuing education credit.
This course is entirely self- paced, allowing you to learn at your convenience.There are no imposed deadlines or time constraints for Course completion.
No prerequisites are required; this course is open to anyone interested in deepening their knowledge and practice.
No, the course is accessible to all individuals interested in enriching their understanding and practice of yoga.Yoga teaching certification is not a prerequisite.

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