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Nauli - Abdominal Massaging In Shatkarma, How to do Nauli - Abdominal Massaging In Shatkarma, Benefits of Nauli - Abdominal Massaging In Shatkarma, Precautions, & a note for yoga practitioners

Nauli (Abdominal Massaging)

Nauli (abdominal massaging) is a cleansing practice that focuses on toning the entire abdominal area, including the muscles, nerves, intestines, reproductive, urinary and excretory organs.

How To Do Nauli – Abdominal Massaging

Stage I: Madhyama Nauli (central abdominal contraction)

  • Stand with the feet about a metre apart.
  • Take a deep breath in through the nose and then exhale through the mouth, emptying the lungs as much as possible. Bend the knees slightly and lean forward, placing the palms of the hands on the thighs just above the knees. The fingers may point either inward or outward. The weight of the upper body should rest comfortably on this area above the knees. The arms should remain straight.
  • Perform jalandhara bandha while maintaining bahir kumbhaka, external breath retention. Keep the eyes open and watch the abdomen.
  • Suck in the lower abdomen
  • Contract the rectus abdominal muscles, so that they form a central arch, running vertically in front of the abdomen. Contract the muscles as much as possible, without straining. Hold the contraction for as long as it is comfortable to hold the breath.
  • Release the contraction, raise the head and return to the upright position.
  • Inhale slowly and deeply, allowing the abdomen to expand.
  • This is one round.
  • Relax the whole body in the standing position until the heartbeat returns to normal.
  • Repeat the practice.

Stage 2: Varna Nauli (left isolation)

  • Follow the instructions for madhyama nauli as described above to the point where the lower abdomen is contracted and the rectus abdominis muscles form a central, vertical arch down the abdomen.
  • Isolate the rectus abdominis muscles at the left side.
  • Contract the muscles to the left side as strongly as possible, without straining.
  • Return to madhyama nauli.
  • Release the abdominal contraction, raise the head and return to the upright position.
  • Inhale slowly and deeply, allowing the abdomen to expand.
  • This is one round.
  • Relax while standing until the heartbeat returns to normal.
  • Proceed to stage 3.

Stage 3: Dakshina Nauli (right isolation)

  • After completing varna nauli, practise the same way but on the right side.
  • After completing one round, relax in the upright position until the heartbeat returns to normal.

Stage 4: Abdominal rotation or churning

  • This practice should not be attempted until the previous three stages have been mastered.
  • Practise varna nauli on the left side, then rotate the muscles to the right, practising dakshina nauli, and back to the left, varna nauli.
  • Continue rotating the muscles from side to side. This process is known as churning.
  • Start by practising 3 consecutive rotations, then release the abdominal contraction.
  • Next start with dakshina nauli first, this time rotating the muscles from right to left, then left to right, 3 times consecutively.
  • Finally, perform madhyama nauli, isolating the muscles at the centre.
  • Raise the head and return to the upright position.
  • Inhale slowly and deeply, allowing the abdomen to expand.
  • This is one round.
  • Relax in the upright position until the heartbeat returns to normal.
  • Time of practice: Nauli should be practised only when the stomach is completely empty, at least 5 to 6 hours after meals. The best time to practise is early in the morning before any food or drink is taken.

Precautions while doing Nauli – Abdominal Massaging 

  • Nauli should only be practised under the guidance of a competent teacher. If any pain is felt in the abdomen during nauli, stop the practice immediately. Try again the following day with more awareness and less force.

Precautions while doing Nauli – Abdominal Massaging 

  • N auli should not be attempted by people suffering from heart disease, hypertension, hernia, high blood pressure, abdominal pain, gallstones, acute peptic ulcer, constipation, or those who are recovering from surgery, especially abdominal surgery.
  • Pregnant women should not practise nauli. However, six months after normal childbirth the practice can help strengthen the abdominal and pelvic muscles.

Benefits of doing Nauli – Abdominal Massaging 

  • Nauli massages and tones the entire abdominal area, including the muscles, nerves, intestines, reproductive, urinary and excretory organs. It generates heat in the body and stimulates appetite, digestion, assimilation, absorption and excretion. It helps to balance the adrenal component of the endocrine system.
  • Nauli stimulates and purifies manipura chakra, the store­ house of prana. It helps to increase mental clarity and power by harmonizing the energy flows in the body.

Practice note while doing Nauli – Abdominal Massaging 

  • Madhyama nauli should be perfected before proceeding to varna or dakshina nauli.
  • Before attempting, nauli the practices of agnisara kriya and uddiyana bandha should be mastered.
  • When nauli has been perfected in the standing position, it may be practised in siddha/siddha yoni asana.

Note: 

  • The word nauli comes from the root nala or nali, which means a ‘reed’ or ‘hollow stalk’ and refers to a tubular vessel, vein or nerve of the body. The word nala is the Sanskrit term for the rectus abdominal muscles. Nauli is also known as lauliki karma.
  • The word lauliki is derived from the root lola, meaning ‘to move hither and thither’ or ‘rolling and agitation’, which is exactly what this technique does. It rolls, rotates and agitates the abdomen and the associated muscles and nerves.

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