As most of the diseases arising out of the stomach, nauli kriya is a great way to strengthen and be disease-free from the inside out.
Nauli is one of the six Shatkarmas, purifications used in traditional hatha yoga.
1. Kapalabhati [breathe rapidly]
2. Tratak [gaze at point until eyes water]
3. Neti [run oiled thread in nostril, out of mouth]
4. Dhauti [swallow long cloth, remove]
5. Nauli [rotate belly muscles left and right]
6. Basti [Squat in water, pipe in rectum, pulse muscles, to draw water into gut]
Nauli exercise is claimed to serve the cleaning of the abdominal region (digestive organs, small intestine) and is based on a massage of the internal belly organs by a circular movement of the abdominal muscles. It is performed standing with the feet apart and the knees bent.
The 15th century Hatha Yoga Pradipika claims that Nauli (magically) removes all diseases.
Nauli is an exercise of classical hatha yoga; it is not often taught in yoga as exercise. There are four steps, which are learned one after another:
1. the abdominal lock, uddiyana bandha: the lungs are emptied, and the abdomen is pulled inwards and upwards under the lower edge of the ribcage
2. madhyana nauli: only the central muscles of the abdomen are contracted
3. vama nauli: only the left muscles of the abdomen are contracted
4. daksina nauli: only the right muscles of the abdomen are contracted.
Time to Practice & Duration of Nauli
Nauli should be practiced only when the stomach is completely empty, at least 5 to 6 hours after the meals if empty stomach practice is not possible.
The best time to practice is early in the morning before any food or drink is taken.
A beginner should start with Vama and Dakshina nauli one after another. In the beginning, 3 rounds on each side.
After 2 weeks of practice of Vama & Dakshina nauli, a beginner can start with five rounds of Madhya Nauli and work up to 10 rounds within a week.
Then one can start the abdominal churning or rotation with 5–10 rounds and slowly increase up to 25 rotations over a period of months.
As you are advised to avoid straining, it is better to increase rounds slowly with practice as more control is gained over the muscles with time.
Benefits of Nauli
Nauli kriya massages and tones the entire abdominal area, including the muscles, nerves, intestines, reproductive, urinary and excretory organs.
It is an exercise of the internal organs such as the stomach, liver, spleen, urinary bladder, pancreas, gall bladder, and large and small intestine.
It helps the body to increase gastric fire and eliminate toxic materials from the digestive tract.
This kriya generates heat in the body and stimulates appetite, digestion, assimilation, absorption, and excretion. Nauli also considered panacea practice to lose the belly fat or weight loss as it directly works on the extra fat present in abdominal muscles.
Nauli builds the core strength as it focuses on the “rectus abdominis” muscle which is responsible for the six-packs.
It activates the Manipura chakra, “the storehouse of prana” and improves mental efficiency.
Nauli kriya is also helpful in strengthening the immune system.
Nauli Kriya gives you power and vigour by harmonizing the flow of energy in the body.
A study 2 reported that the yogic kriyas such as nauli kriya or agnisara kriya are helpful in the treatment of Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
Nauli Kriya is a sensitive technique and should only be performed under a proper guide or teacher.
If you feel any pain or discomfort in the abdomen during nauli kriya, you should immediately stop the kriya. With more awareness and less and controlled force try again the next day.
Nauli Kriya should not be attempted by people suffering from heart disease, hypertension, hernia, high blood pressure, abdominal pain, gallstones, acute peptic ulcer, constipation.
Nauli Kriya should be avoided post-surgery, especially after abdominal surgery.
The pregnant woman should not practice or try to do nauli kriya.