“You have to have a cold shower whether you like it or you hate it, doesn't matter. There is no medical human system that can open up your capillaries other than a cold shower.”

© The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan, September 16, 1993


A traditional part of yogic lifestyle, Ishnaan, or cold showers, helps to flush and move the blood. This clears toxins by rapidly moving the blood through the body. It also sends fresh oxygen and biochemical information to every cell.

How to Do Ishnaan

1) Massage the body with almond oil.

2) Turn the cold water on in the shower.

3) Put an arm in. Put a leg in. Put the whole body in.

4) Go in and out a few times.

While moving in and out of the water, massage the body and chant a mantra to help keep up with the cleansing process. If you wish, tap the thyroid and thymus and for women, tap at the location of the ovaries. Pay special attention to massaging the armpits and breast areas. It is recommended to leave shorts on. The thighbone is the largest and most dense bone and mineral reservoir in the body. It deserves to be buffered from the shock of direct cold water. Do not put the cold water stream directly on the third-eye point, and do not wash the hair in cold water. No cold showers for women on the heavy part of the moon cycle or who are pregnant. This is not a shower for bathing; it is a hydrotherapy experience (Yogiji, 2006).

How Do Cold Showers Work?

Normally blood is found at all levels of the body from the skin to the depth of the organs. Jumping into cold water sends the body into a protective response. To keep the vital organs warm all of the blood rushes into the internal organs. Once out of the water the blood rushes back to the skin level. That’s why you feel such a rush of being tingly and alive after a cold shower.

Cold water is the best way to open up and invigorate the capillary system. The subtle stress on the body during a cold shower is strengthening for all of the internal organs and increases circulation.

© Enlightened Bodies 2015. Nirmal Lumpkin and Japa Khalsa. Reprinted with permission.


Yogiji, Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa. (2006). The science of hydrotherapy. In Yogi Bhajan, Kundalini Yoga for youth and joy (pp. 8–9). Santa Cruz, NM: Kundalini Research Institute. Available at http://www.sikhdharma.org/pages/ishnaan-science-hydrotherapy

Khalsa, Y. (2011) The Ancient Art of Self Healing, Second Edition. Available as an eBook at:kundaliniresearchinstitute.directfrompublisher.com