Nauli for Good Digestion

There are a number of kriyas associated with yoga that may seem freakish at first but are wonderful ways to care for the body.  The kriyas are various cleansing rituals that serve the purpose of keeping the body healthy, clear, and free of disease.  Some have become archaic since we now have more access to clean foods and drinking water but some still have a place in modern society.  One that I like to do every single morning when I wake up and before I consume anything is called nauli.  It is a way to massage the internal organs in the abdomen area, thereby working the abdominal muscles, the intestines, the reproductive organs and the whole digestive system.  One of the things this accomplishes is that it prevents the digestive system from getting too slow.  It relieves constipation and keeps things moving along.  It promotes a feeling of well being for me like I am cleared out and attentive to a key component of my health, superior digestion.  Expect to notice the digestive system in alert mode an hour or two after this exercise.  It’s a bit hard to explain and I won’t dig myself in to a hole by doing a YouTube video that could result in an infamous claim to fame but you can try your luck Googling around.  The way I do it is as follows:

  • Start standing up with your feet a couple of feet apart as you take a big inhale.
  • Exhale everything out through the mouth quickly and forcefully with the lips pursed as you double over (head higher than hips with hands on knees)
  • Begin 10 “pumps” of the stomach while holding the breath.  These pumps can be explained by pulling the stomach creepily far in and then pumping it back out to fully inflated.  You may feel the stomach sort of jiggle on the out since it is done with a pretty intense energy.
  • Inhale back up after you finish the 10 pumps.
  • Exhale through the mouth again as you bend over with your hands on your knees for the second set of 10 pumps.  Do not inhale or exhale as you do this.
  • Inhale back to standing
  • Exhale down and at the bottom with the hand on the knees, pull your stomach in as absolutely far as it can go.  Really suck it in so that you can feel a pressure on your inner organs and hold for as long as you can, or approximately 10 seconds.  Inhale back up and exhale standing to finish.

 I like to perform this every morning.  I usually do it the very first thing when I get out of bed because it must be done on a totally empty stomach.  If I do it within a couple minutes of waking, I know there is no chance of me having drunk any water.  It energizes me to begin my day on a healthy and pure note.  There are more advanced ways of doing nauli which involve rolling the stomach muscles from side to side so that both the ascending and descending colon are deeply massaged but stick with this simple routine until you get more used to it.

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