Nauli is more than just a term in advanced yoga practice; it’s a milestone. If you’ve begun incorporating it effortlessly into your routine, your practice has taken an exciting turn. Techniques like Nauli stretch our boundaries and reveal new possibilities.
- Meaning: Nauli means “to churn” or “to rotate” in Sanskrit.
- Technique: It isolates and contracts the rectus abdominis muscle with three parts: Madhyama Nauli, Vama Nauli, and Dakshina Nauli.
- Benefits: Nauli helps in improving digestion by making the stomach and pancreas work better. It also strengthens the core muscles, improves posture, balance, and overall physical performance.
- Scientific Studies: Limited research is available, but a review by Pallav Sengupta in 2012 included Nauli in the study of yoga techniques.
- Misconceptions & Safety: While providing numerous health benefits, it may not be safe for everyone, especially if there are physical limitations, specific medical conditions, or during pregnancy.
- Need for Caution: As an advanced yoga move, understanding its effects needs more research, and its practice requires caution and possibly professional guidance.
What Is Nauli?
Nauli means “to churn” or “to rotate” from its Sanskrit translation. The goal is to isolate and contract the rectus abdominis muscle, which runs vertically down the front of the abdomen.
The practice has three parts: Madhyama Nauli, Vama Nauli, and Dakshina Nauli1.
Doing Nauli helps improve digestion because it makes your stomach and pancreas work better. The pancreas is an important organ that helps break down food and control your sugar levels.
But, Nauli is a pretty advanced yoga move, so only a few scientific studies have been done on it. We need more research to understand exactly how it affects our bodies.
This information comes from a great review of many yoga and breathing exercise studies. The review was done by a researcher named Pallav Sengupta in 2012, and it looked at 37 different studies about yoga techniques2.
So, while yoga experts believe that Nauli and other similar techniques have many health benefits, scientists are still trying to learn more about them2.
How Does Nauli Work?
Nauli works the digestive system and strengthens the core. It isolates the rectus abdominis muscle by creating a vacuum in the abdominal cavity. All the air gets sucket out, to put it crudely.
This vacuum massages the internal organs, including the stomach, liver, and intestines, which improves digestion and relieves constipation.
Moreover, the practice strengthens the core muscles
It also improves your posture, balance, and your overall physical performance.
The Benefits of Nauli
The benefits of nauli are as follows:
- Better Digestion: Yogic cleansing exercises can stimulate the digestive system and relieve constipation. These ancient techniques are not just a fad but are rooted in centuries of tradition.
- Stronger Core Muscles: Engaging in yoga practices that focus on the core, like Kundalini techniques, strengthens muscles, improving posture, balance, and overall physical performance. My yoga teacher always emphasizes the importance of a strong core, and I’ve felt the benefits in my daily life.
- Higher Energy Levels: Techniques like pranayama breathing exercises increase energy levels by improving circulation and oxygenation of the blood. When I first started practicing pranayama, it invigorated my mornings, making me feel more alert and energetic.
- Lower Stress Levels: Mindful breathing and meditation can reduce stress and anxiety by calming the mind and body.
In my own experience, taking even just a few minutes a day to meditate has helped me handle the everyday pressures of being a mother with more grace and calmness.
How to Practice Nauli
As it is an advanced yoga practice, you should not attempt it without the guidance of a qualified yoga teacher. It is important to approach the practice with patience and respect for your body.
Here are some tips to keep in mind to help you along:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your thighs.
- Exhale completely and hold your breath.
- Contract the central portion of your rectus abdominis muscle and pull it up and towards your spine.
- Hold the contraction for a few seconds, then release and inhale.
- Repeat the contraction. This time isolate and contract the left side of the muscle.
- Repeat the contraction. This time, isolate and contract the right side of the muscle.
- Release the contraction and exhale.
Read Next >> Yoga: A Journey Through Movement and Stillness
When To Pratice?
Practice on an empty stomach, preferably in the morning before breakfast.
- Warm up your body with some gentle yoga poses before attempting this technique4.
- Start with Madhyama Nauli and gradually work up to Vama Nauli and Dakshina Nauli.
- Take breaks between each round of abdominal churning to rest and breathe.
- Do not force the contraction or hold it for too long. Listen to your body and stop if you feel any discomfort or pain5.
What are some common misconceptions about Nauli?
- It’s only for advanced yogis: While this technique is an advanced practice, it can be modified for beginners. With consistent practice and guidance from a qualified yoga teacher, anyone can learn to master it.
- The technique is only for the physical body: While primarily a physical practice, it also carries mental and spiritual benefits. Engaging in this method can help calm the mind and reduce stress and anxiety.
- It’s only for digestion: While known for its digestive benefits, this practice also strengthens core muscles, improves posture, and increases energy levels.
- It’s dangerous: This yogic practice is safe when following proper guidelines. Be patient, respect your body, and seek guidance from a qualified yoga teacher.
Is Nauli Safe for Everyone?
- While abdominal churning can benefit the mind, body, and spirit, it may not be safe for everyone 6.
- Physical limitations: Abdominal churning focuses on isolating and contracting the abdominal muscles. This practice may be unsafe if you have any physical limitations or injuries affecting your abdominal muscles.
- Medical conditions: If you have any medical conditions affecting your digestive system, such as ulcers or hernias, abdominal churning may be unsafe. It would help if you saw your doctor before you try this technique.
- Pregnancy: Abdominal churning is not safe for you if you are pregnant.
Is Nauli dangerous?
It’s crucial to approach this exercise with care and under proper supervision. Ensuring that you have the guidance of a specialized and experienced yoga instructor.
Start with the basic exercises, as you did for any other part of your yoga practice. You can build a strong foundation for practicing this technique safely.
What are the spiritual benefits of Nauli Kriya?
It is believed to stimulate the Manipura Chakra, or the solar plexus chakra, associated with personal power, self-esteem, and transformation.
This stimulation can lead to increased feelings of self-confidence and inner strength.
Additionally, it is often considered a cleansing practice that can aid in removing negative energy and blockages, thus supporting overall spiritual growth and development.
What are the limitations of Nauli?
While it is a powerful yogic practice with numerous benefits, it does have limitations.
For instance, it’s an advanced technique that requires significant core strength and control, which means it’s not immediately accessible to everyone.
It’s also not advised for people with certain health conditions, including hernias, ulcers, heart disease, high blood pressure, and during pregnancy.
Finally, it is a technique that must be taught under the supervision of a qualified instructor to ensure correct and safe practice.
What is Nauli associated with?
Nauli is associated with Hatha Yoga and falls under Shatkarma, the six purifying practices in the yogic tradition.
These practices aim to balance the three doshas or constitutional elements within the human body – Vata (air and space), Pitta (fire and water), and Kapha (water and earth).
Nauli specifically targets the Manipura Chakra, aiding in the activation and balance of this energy center. It’s also known for its association with improving digestive health, core strength, and energy levels.