Kapal randhra is the upper hollowed region of the head, which can be clearly seen on a newly born baby. Therefore, this practice is concerned with washing the upper part of the head. It is a very simple process and requires little description. One must merely wash the head vigorously and thoroughly with cold water. This brings about a soothing influence in the whole brain. It is very useful when you feel tired or sluggish, as it instantly brings wakefulness and vitality.
A further variation of kapal randhra is kapal dhauti. One merely presses the temples on each side of the forehead with two thumbs, making small circling movements. Do this for a minute or so and then repeat the same movement rotating the thumbs in the opposite direction. This again brings relaxation to the brain and is especially useful if you have a headache.
The word karna means ‘ear’, and this practice is concerned with cleaning the ears.
The outer portion of the ear consists of a short tube or canal about four centimetres in length, running from the outside to the inside of the head. Inside the tube there are a few hairs which prevent insects and other foreign bodies from entering the inner regions of the head and the eardrum at the end of the canal. This outer canal also contains various glands, which secrete wax to protect the deeper structures of the ear. For perfect hearing, this outer canal must be unimpeded so that the sound vibrations in the air can cause the ear to vibrate. Sometimes the glands produce too much wax which blocks the canal; or sometimes wax accumulates, even though it is produced in correct amounts, and is not removed in the way that it should be. This can easily reduce one’s hearing capabilities.
A varied assortment of methods and utensils are used to clean the ears. Some people even use toothpicks or matchsticks. These devices are not advised for they can easily damage the eardrums. The best method is to gently place the small finger in the ear canal and rotate the finger cyclically a number of times. A slight pressure should be applied against the ear walls to dislodge any unnecessary wax. Remove the finger and direct the head and ear canal downwards to allow any dry wax to drop out. Repeat the same procedure but using the index finger. There should be a layer of wax on your fingers after completing the practice. Repeat with the other ear.
Perform this practice every week or so, but make sure that your fingernails are short and clean.
Many ear ailments are caused by blockage of the eustachian tubes. The ear is divided into three chambers: the outer, middle and inner sections. Sound vibrations are transmitted from the environment through the outer ear and into the middle ear via the eardrum, which also separates the outer ear from the middle ear. There is no direct connection between the two chambers. For perfect hearing the pressure of air in the middle ear must be the same as that outside the body – atmospheric. This is brought about by means of the two eustachian tubes, which connect each ear to the back of the throat. These tubes are about the same diameter as a pencil lead and easily become blocked with mucus deposits. The best way to remove this type of problem is by practising jala neti, as this will help to draw out any blockages from these tubes’.
This practice involves washing the eyes with clean, lukewarm water whenever time permits. This can be done when taking a wash or bath, making sure that no soap enters the eyes.
EYE TONING TECHNIQUES
In this topic we are concerned with practices, which bring about the best possible health of the head region and associated organs. Though not part of danta dhauti, there are various other simple techniques to help bring the eyes into optimum condition. We will briefly discuss these techniques.
One should remember that there are two distinct causes of eye ailments. Defective vision such as short sightedness (myopia), long sightedness (hypermetropia) etc. are generally caused by mental strain or excessive use of the eyes, such as during extensive book study. Eye diseases, on the other hand, are caused by pathological changes in the structure of the eye due to disturbances within the eye itself or in the body as a whole. This may be due to a build-up of toxins in the body or an inadequate diet.
Yoga practices can help eliminate and prevent either of the two types of eye ailments. In a general sense, regular practice of asanas and pranayama are wonderful methods of counteracting eye ailments for they eliminate toxins from the body. Further, the mental relaxation that one can obtain through all yoga practices counteracts eyestrain, even while reading a book or doing work which involves deep concentration. In this way functional defects are less likely to occur.
Jala neti has definite beneficial influences on the eyes. It stimulates the nerves of the eyes which in turn activates and tones the associated muscles and organs. The blood flow to the eyes is also increased for a short duration which helps to flush out impurities and toxins.
Sit comfortably, close the eyes and face the sun. Feel the heat of the sun warming the eyes. Keep the eyes closed and vigorously rub the palms of both hands together until they are hot. Place the palms over the closed eyes. Feel the warmth and energy entering the eyes. Do this for a minute or so. Repeat 2 or 3 times. This practice helps to revitalize and relax the eyes.
2. Distant and near viewing
Sit so that you can see the horizon or so that you can see far into the distance. Focus your eyes on the nose tip. Then focus on an object in the far distance. Focus on the nose tip again. Repeat this as many times as possible, then close the eyes. This practice is very useful for exercising the eye muscles, which brings about changes in the focal length of the lenses of the eyes.