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Gaja Karani – Benefits of Gaja Karani Kriya in Hatha Yoga

Gaja Karani is a yogic technique of throwing out the contents of the stomach. Gaja means elephant and karni means action. An elephant sucks water and then, raising the trunk, throws the water out like a jet. In a similar fashion, a student of Hatha Yoga can pass water out through the mouth in spurts, which appears like the act of the elephant and therefore the name Gaja Karani Kriya.

Benefits of Gaja Karani

  • It is kind of a stomach wash.
  • It has therapeutic value.
  • It helps in remove all kinds of unwanted food items especially those stuck on the walls of the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine.
  • It is a cleaning procedure.

Gaja Karani  is described in Hatha Yoga Pradipika in the following words:
It is an act of vomiting out the contents of the stomach, brought about by drawing up the apana to the throat. With practice, the nadichakras – the centers of the channels – are brought under control and then one can do the act like an elephant (II.38)
Thus, Gaja Karani may be called a technique of controlled vomiting. It involves a control of the vomiting reflex. Usually that reflex causes an act of vomiting, which is sudden and rather vigorous.
The stomach is emptied by a sudden contraction of its wall under an impulse which starts in the throat.

In Gaja Karani Yoga, this impulse is generated willfully after drinking three or four glasses of water. The water comes out in a controlled manner like a jet. With practice, the student can perform the act very naturally, which has a considerable therapeutic value as a stomach wash.

Although the author of Hatha Yoga Pradipika has not included this technique among the cleaning procedures (Suddhi Kriyas), he has described it just after describing them. It could very well be called a variety of dhauti (cleansing); more specifically Vamana dhauti – Vamana means vomiting.