Nauli as a Principal Shuddhikriya

Introduction: -

Ayurveda and Yoga cure the individual on the basic principles of natural observations. There seems close relationship between Yoga & Ayurveda. Ayurveda emphasizes on Shodhana Karmas for being healthy and for get rid of various diseases. Like Panchakarmas, In Yoga there are Shad-Shuddhi Kriyas which eliminate the Malas from our body. These are -Dhauti, Basti, Neti, Nauli, Trataka and Kapalbhati. The Nauli has got the main role of eliminating Malas or Doshas from our body. Hence it is the principal procedure among other Shuddhikriyas.

Nauli - Abdominal Massage

Definitions: -

  1. Ref. Gherand Samhita 1/52

i. e. With great force move the stomach and intestines from one side to another side. This is called Lauliki Yoga.

  1. Ref. Hatha Yoga Pradipika 2/33

i. e. With shoulders bent forward one should rotate the abdomen right and left with the speed of a fast rotating whirl pool. This is called Nauli by accomplished yogis.

Lean forward, protrude the abdomen and (the muscles) from right to left with speed, this is called Nauli by the Siddhas.("Hatha Yoga Pradipika", 2:33)

The Sanskrit nauli comes from the root word 'nala' or 'nali', which means a tubular vessel, vein or nerve of the body; a reed or hollow stalk. The word 'nala' is also the Sanskrit for the rectus abdomini, (in the Monier Williams Sanskrit dictionary it is literally defined as the 'navel string'). It is also interesting to note that the Sanskrit word 'nau' means 'ship', for when nauli is perfected then the abdominal muscles seems to flow like the rolling waves of the ocean. The muscles create the same wavelike motion produced by a ship. Nauli is the practice of contracting and isolating the rectus abdominii muscles.

In the "Gherand Samhita" it is known as 'Laulika'. Laulika comes from the word 'lola' which means 'to roll or 'agitate'.

Types: -

1. Dakshina Nauli: - When the rectus abdominii muscles are rotated from left to right (anticlockwise), it is called 'Dakshina Nauli.'
2. Vama Nauli: - When they are rotated from right to left (clockwise), it is 'Vama Nauli'.
3. Madhyama Nauli: - When the muscles are pulled together and the middle group of muscles protrude, it is 'Madhyama Nauli'.

Note: - Before attempting Nauli you must be able to perform Aganisara Kriya, Jalandhara Bandha & Uddiyana Bandha properly.

Action Of Nauli: -
The Rectus Abdominii are the two long vertical muscles situated in front of the abdomen, which run under the centre of the ribcage near the diaphragm to the pubic bone. Though these are the muscles you are manipulating in Nauli, the External Oblique and Transverse Abdominii are also utilized. At first Nauli is practiced with the hands just above the knees and the body bent forward. Once this is perfected you can practice in a more erect position, with the hands placed on the upper thighs. This action helps to make exercise of all Visceral organs situated in the Abdomen.  As this action  involves area of Samana and Apana Vayu it ignites the dijestive fire by increasing the functions of Samana Vayu i.e. Agni Sandhukshana and  Apana Anulomana. Both these result as Agni Vriddhi which is mostly the ultimate aim of Ayurvediya Chikitsa.
Technique 1

Stage 1
Stand with the feet 1½ to 2 feet apart - bend the knees and rest the palms of the hands just above the knees, thumbs on the insides of the thighs and finders touching the outsides, or keep the head up and the eyes open - breathe in deeply through the nose and exhale quickly through the mouth, slightly pursing the lips - perform Jalandhara Bandha while maintaining Bahiranga, (External) Kumbhaka - suck the abdomen and stomach in by performing Uddiyana Bandha - lift the right hand slightly off the knee, keeping all the pressure on the left hand and knee, but do not lean to the left side - this will automatically isolate the rectus abdominii muscles on the left - release Uddiyana Bandha - raise the head slowly - stand up and inhale slowly - this is Vama Nauli - practice in the same way on the right side - keep the right hand resting above the knee and slightly lift the left hand to isolate the rectus abdominii muscles on the right - this is Dakshina Nauli.

In between each round of Nauli, release Uddiyana first, then Jalandhara - raise the head - stand erect and breathe in very slowly through the nose - take a few normal breathes before practicing the next round.

Stage 2
Practice Vama or Dakshina nauli as in stage 1 - start to roll the muscles to the other side, but before they reach the opposite side, hold them in the middle - in order to roll the muscles, slowly bring the weight back onto the hand which was lifted from the knees - this is Madhyama Nauli.

Stage 3
Practice in the same way as for stages 1 and 2 but learn, to control the contraction of the muscles and to isolate the muscle groups without lifting the hands from the legs - first try by just releasing the pressure off the hand without moving it from the leg - gradually begin to control the practice so that the hands remain fixed on the legs - practice with the hands on the thighs.
Technique 2

Stand in the same position as in technique 1 - keep the hands on the legs above the knees throughout the whole practice - practice Vama Nauli and then roll the muscles to the right and back to the left - continue rotating the muscles in a clockwise direction - this is known as 'Churning' - start by practicing 3 times consecutively -then release - practice Dakshina Nauli in the same way, rotating the muscles anticlockwise - when this churning is perfected, practice it 3 times with Vama Nauli, then 3 times with Dakshina Nauli and release - when this is perfected you can increase to 10 and 90 rounds.

Technique 3

Practice techniques 1 and 2 in Siddhasana or Siddha Yoni Asana, with the buttocks raised slightly by a cushion - initially it will be difficult to control the muscles in the sitting position, so it is better to first perfect the practice of Nauli in the standing position

Sequence Of Kriyas While Performing Nauli: - Position ( either Standing / Sitting i.e. Padmasana )

  1. Deergha Swasana
  2. Bahi Kumbhaka
  3. Agnisara Kriya
  4. Puraka
  5. Antah Kumbhaka
  6. Rechaka
  7. Bahi Kumbhaka
  8. Jalandhara Bandha
  9. Uddiyana Bandha
  10. Madhya – Vama – Dakshina Nauli
  11. Nauli Chalana ( i. e. Tunda Sanchalana )
  12. Release Uddiyana Bandha
  13. Release Jalandhara Bandha
  14. Puraka
  15. Deergha Swasana

Interpretation Of Nauli From The Spectacle Of Ayurveda:

Vikrut Dosha Gati : - Ref. Vagbhat Samhita Sutrasthana 13/17
Prakrut Dosha Gati: - Ref. Vagbhat Samhita Sutrasthana 13/18

The term “Vayoscha Nigrahat in Prakrut Dosha Gati = Nauli in Shad-Shuddhi Kriyas”.

Remember: -

  1. Nauli is achieved automatically by practice.
  2. Teacher only can make you understand.
  3. Do not expect it soon.
  4. The waist should not much bended while bending forward.
  5. The chest should be expanded, shoulders bent little.
  6. The legs should not be bent more at the knees.
  7. Do not keep the abdomen tight. Let it relax. Exhale completely.
  8. If you can perform Uddiyana Bandha nicely and maintain it, the achievement of Nauli will also be equally easy.
  9. Nauli is the pre-requisite for some cleansing processes like Basti and others hence learn to practice it efficiently.
  10. Nauli should only be practiced when the stomach is empty, i.e., at least 5 to 6 hours after meals.
  11. It can be practiced sitting in position (in Padmasana also).

Time: -
The best time to practice is Early in the morning Before Breakfast.

Note: -

  1. If you feel any pain in the abdomen during nauli you should immediately stop the practice. Try the following day or when the pain subsides, but if it persists you should consult your teacher or doctor.
  2. Do not practice it if there is a complaint of headache.

Not Recommended In: -

  1. Nauli should not be performed by those suffering from Heart Disease,   Gall Stones, Hernia, Peptic & Duodenal ulcers.
  2. Pregnant women should not practice (especially in the first trimester).

Recommended In: -

However, after childbirth it is highly recommended in order to strengthen the abdominal and pelvic muscles and readjust the position of the visceral organs. In cases of Hypertension, practice it very slowly without giving much pressure.     

Age Criteria: - (Swami Niranjana says that) As a standard rule, children are taught the limited practices of yoga from the age of" 8th year onwards, in the form of Pranayama, Surya Namaskara and Mantra Japa, and as they gradually progress in age, (keeping in view their physical, hormonal and glandular growth), other practices of yoga are included. Of course, in certain cases, some other practices of yoga are taught to children at a different age. After the age of fourteen, Practices such as the different forms of Neti, Nauli, Trataka and Kapalbhati Pranayama can be taught then. However, the advanced techniques of Dhauti and Basti are generally taught after the age of twenty.

Benefits of Nauli: -

  1. Ref. Gherand Samhita 1/52
  2. Ref. Hatha Yoga Pradipika 2/34
  3. "Nauli improves the Digestive Fire by pressurizing the Navel Plexus thereby removing Indigestion, Sluggish digestion and all disorders of the doshas".
  4. Nauli quickly tones the abdominal muscles, nerves, intestines, reproductive, excretory and urinary organs.
  5. Every part of the internal system is stimulated by this practice.
  6. It balances the endocrine system and helps to control the production of sex hormones.
  7. Nauli, is especially useful for alleviating Constipation, Indigestion, Nervous Diarrhoea, Acidity, Flatulence, Depression, Hormonal imbalances, Sexual and Urinary Disorders, Laziness, Dullness, Lack of energy and Emotional disturbances.
  8. Through its practice one can control Sensual Desires and strengthen one's Willpower.


More by :  Dr. Vishwanath Kakde

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