Purification by Air
Yogic breathing is the best-known air purifying method. The hatha system is a useful method to fill and empty the lungs with a count of 1-4-2. The breath should be inhaled and exhaled gently so that even a piece of cotton held one inch from the nostrils does not move. Many practitioners suggest that the breath that is taken and released should not be audible. When a person begins these deep breathing exercises he feels like hyperventilating, i.e. getting too much oxygen into the blood. Thus air purification is a necessity and must be practiced for the purification of the bowels, nose and lungs.
Purification by Water
Purification by water is external. Every body part is washed with soap and hot water and then re-washed in cool clean water. This forms a part daily washing. It is often followed by complete immersion of the body from the head in water. The popular hot tubs are ideally suited to this type of immersion and soaking. While cleaning the hands, the nails are carefully cleansed and are kept quite short. The hands are always washed last, after the very careful washing of the genitalia.
Purification by Fire
Tantrists are sun worshippers by nature. Every day they bathe under the fiery rays of the sun. It is considered that the hands and face receive sufficient sunlight from normal everyday activities. The area of concentration is the back and front of the torso, including the stomach and the lingam. Other parts of the body also needs to be purifies by fire.
Purification by Earth
The earth purifications are practiced to bring back to the realization of our dependence on the products of the earth. Tantrists regard them as balancing elements in life. Earth purification gets us back in touch with the source of our life and its pleasures. When someone is completely adrift in the spiritual world, the mundane is brought back with earth purifications. Without this, the practitioner loses spiritual balance and becomes less well directed.
Purification by Exteriorization
Purification by Exteriorization is also an essential part of Tantrism that needs to be practiced for the smooth functioning of the body.