Nauli is an ancient cleansing breathing exercise that has taken social media by storm. We’re all about finding new techniques to include in our yoga practice and this yoga exercise caught our eye because of its uniqueness. Now this exercise is advanced and a bit weird, but give it a try (or check out aubrymarie on Instagram) and you’ll see how mesmerizing it can be. Admittedly, nauli yoga stomach exercises can be a little hard to master, so let us give you the lowdown and you can decide whether or not you are up to giving them a go.
What Is Nauli?
Nauli breathing is a style of breathing that is thought to cleanse the lower abdomen and small intestines. It will also engage your core through the side to side rolling motion of the abdominal muscles.
“The Hatha Yoga Pradipika states that nauli stimulates the digestive fire, thereby removing toxins, indigestion and constipation. It is considered a shat karma, which is an internal cleansing to aid with excess phlegm, mucus or fat. It also claims that it destroys all diseases and increases the bodily fire, in addition, nauli tones the abdominal muscles and massages the internal organs.” www.yogajournal.com
Nowadays, nauli isn’t widely taught in Western yoga classes, but in some classical yoga traditions it was one of the first exercises to be taught to new students, even before they learnt any asana. The yoga student could then use uddiyana bandha and nauli movements within their asana practice and this would bring greater awareness and energy to the asanas.
Fast forward to the modern day and the Instagram trend started by 29 year old yogi, Aubry Marie, which has taken on a life of its own. Aubry has more than 250,000 followers on Instagram and her videos have brought the technique to the attention of the social media generation. She’s just released a video in collaboration with Alo Yoga, the luxury yoga brand based in LA, to showcase nauli, and you can check out her introduction to the technique below.
Aubry talks about how she uses the ancient yoga breathing exercise to wake up her core and prepare the body for inversions, and if her Instagram feed is anything to go by, she’s doing something right. As you can tell, this exercise is best practiced by those with a little experience but it can be learned with perseverance and patience. Read on to find out the steps you should take in order to master it.
How Can I Practice Nauli?
Nauli can be taught to people of any age but it is a powerful action that can sometimes cause discomfort. It is recommended that you learn it from an experienced yoga teacher.
The muscular actions necessary to accomplish nauli require four movements. You must achieve uddiyana bandha before nauli can begin.
- Uddiyana bandha: An abdominal lock which is accomplished by emptying your lungs and pulling the abdomen in and up under the rib cage.
- Madhyana nauli (central nauli): The isolated contraction of the central abdominal muscles.
- Vama nauli (left side nauli): The isolated contraction of the left side of the abdominal muscles.
- Daksina nauli (right side nauli): The isolated contraction of the right side of the abdominal muscles.