By Swami Harshananda
Agnisāra literally means ‘the essence of fire’.
Works on Haṭhayoga like Gheranda Samhitā describes ‘Saṭkarmas’ or six purification techniques for cleansing the body. ‘Dhauti’ the first of these is of four kinds :
Antardhauti, the first of these, is again of four varieties :
- Vāhnisāra or Agnisāra
Agni or vahni represents the ‘fire’ of the digestive system (often called as jāṭharāgni or vaiśvānarāgni), the capacity of digestion and assimilation. The health and strength of the body depends on the proper functioning of the digestive system. Agnisāra-dhauti is prescribed for the removal of functional disorders and even organic defects of this system.
The process consists of ‘pressing the navel knot a hundred times against the spinal cord’ by breathing out and contracting the abdominal muscles. The daily practice of this results in acquiring a divine lustre and vital energy. As in all other Haṭhayogic exercises, this also should be practiced under the direct guidance of a guru.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore