Himalayan Yoga Academy

Education & research Foundation

Basti (Enema )

1 Dec 2019 HYN Himalayan Yoga Academy

Basti ( Therapeutic Enema )


Basti involves the introduction of certain oils, and herbal decoctions, into the colon through the rectum, for removing toxins accumulated in the intestines and colon.

Basti puts the body into a state of balance by nourishing the colonic flora. A localized and symptomatic treatment, Basti has multiple effects for treating various illnesses such as chronic constipation, low back pain, sciatica, rheumatism, gout, arthritis, and neuromuscular disorders. It is considered one of the best remedies for numerous psycho-somatic diseases.

Contraindications: The treatment should be avoided during pregnancy and menstruation and among those suffering from diarrhea, inflammation of the anus, and bleeding from the rectum.

Steps of Basti

  • The best times for basti are in the early morning or evening (vata times).
  • The stomach should be empty; wait at least three hours after eating.
  • Make sure the environment is warm, comfortable, and clean. An area where you can lie down near a toilet is best.
  • Materials needed include an enema bag or syringe, measuring cup, hotplate or stove, oil and/or herbal substance, and towels.

Basti is often administered in two stages: an oil stage and a decoction stage. In the first stage, five ounces of warm sesame oil is introduced into the rectum and retained for ten minutes. Then, without expelling the oil, an emulsion of oil and an herbal tea is introduced and retained for thirty minutes. This mixture consists of five ounces of sesame oil together with sixteen ounces of tea made from herbs steeped in hot water and then strained and cooled to body temperature or slightly warmer.

The enema bag may be suspended three feet above your position. After filling the bag with the appropriate fluid, allow all the air to be expelled from the tube. Lie on the left side, left leg extended and right knee flexed. Lubricate the tip of the syringe with oil or ghee. Clean and lubricate the anal orifice with oil and check that there are no hemorrhoids, fissures, or fistulas. Carefully and slowly insert the tip into the rectum and release the clip allowing all the fluid to enter, then remove the tip. Assume a hands and knees position and elevate the buttocks, thus relaxing the colon. Firstly tap the colon area from the sigmoid, through the transverse colon, to the ascending colon and caecum. Then periodically massage the colon in this counterclockwise motion.

When fluid has been retained for the appropriate length of time, sit on the toilet to allow the passage of the fluid and fecal matter. You may wish to wear a sanitary pad for a few hours following basti in case there is some seepage of residual oil. It can be good to eat an hour or so after a basti, but only when hungry.

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