Is it Nauli Kriya, Nauli Yoga, or is it Alien Yoga?
If you follow yoga trends on social media, you’ll surely have come across the latest stomach contortion craze sweeping the internet.
People across platforms are raving about this new “Alien Yoga.”
The strange name comes from the seemingly out-of-this-world control yogis have over their abdominal muscles. Some of the abdominal contraction we see in people doing nauli kriya is really quite something!
So what is Alien Yoga exactly?
Contrary to its viral name, there’s nothing extra-terrestrial about this classic yoga move.
Classical Hatha Yoga refers to it as Nauli Kriya. It’s a term that can be traced back to the yoga text Hatha Yoga Pradipika from the 15th century.
And one that often illustrates as a rocky boat on a stormy sea – as can be seen in this Nauli Kriya video:
Table of Contents
The Satkarma Kriya system
Nauli is one of the six practices from the Satkarma Kriya system. Also known as the six cleansing techniques for the body.
The Satkarmas are thought of as a way to purify the body for subtler yogic practices such as breathing techniques and meditation.
According to renowned author and yogic scholar James Mallinson, Satkarma translates to ‘the six magical acts’ in tantric tradition.
These acts, or techniques, were considered to be able to cure several diseases of the physical body, as well as being able to clear and control the mind.
The 6 cleansing techniques: Satkarma
- Netī (nasal cleansing using either water or a thin string)
- Dhautī (cleansing of the digestive tract)
- Naulī (movement of the abdominal muscles)
- Basti (enema)
- Kapālabhātī (vigorous breathing)
- Trāṭaka (focusing of the eyes at a singular point)
“These six techniques, which purify the body, should be kept secret. They confer wonderful abilities and are esteemed by the best yogis.” – Hatha Pradipika 2.23
It is mentioned in the yogic texts that reaching higher levels of Tantric Hatha yoga is difficult without the proper practice of the above-mentioned purification techniques.
The benefits of Nauli Kriya
It’s one of the most vigorous exercises from Hatha Yoga.
“It always stokes a sluggish [digestive] fire, fixes the digestion and so on, and brings joy. It removes all imbalances and diseases. This nauli is the crown of hatha techniques.” – Hathapradipika 2.32-35
This yoga practice refers to intestinal cleansing, which creates a robust purification in the abdominal region and organs. And as such is considered to be the best technique for abdominal cleansing.
Let’s take a look at 5 Nauli Kriya Benefits:
- It improves digestion and activates your inner energy and fire, which further burns away negative thoughts from your mind.
- The inner abdominal organs – the spleen, kidneys, pancreas, gall-bladder, and the adrenal glands are all stimulated which restore their proper functioning.
- The use of the abdominal muscles strengthens them, resulting in a flatter and more toned belly.
- The vigorous movement of the abdominal muscles also decreases constipation and bloating! It is pretty common to feel the need to use the bathroom after an intense Nauli session, thus making Nauli a pretty useful tool to turn to when you feel constipated.
- According to the Ayurvedic science of medicine, Nauli balances the three main characters of the body; Vata (wind), Kapha (mucus), and Pitta (bile).
How Wim Hof uses the brain to control the nervous system
Performing Nauli by excreting control over the abdominal muscles also stimulates the nerves in the abdominal region. In turn, this positively affects the nervous system.
This stimulation serves as a bridge between the voluntary and the involuntary nervous system.
That bridging is generally what advanced yogis do to take control of various processes of their being. This is usually considered involuntary.
This control reflects how the Dutch athlete Wim Hof can withstand extreme cold. An aspect he attributes to his yoga-inspired breathing technique.
Wim Hof has proven under multiple scientific tests that he can voluntarily shut down functions of his body, and activate his nervous system on command.
This recent scientific research on Wim Hof is the new proof of what ancient Yogis and Tantrikas of India and Tibet were able to discover thousands of years ago.
Nauli Kriya balances Manipura Chakra
Practice nauli in the morning. Before breakfast and on an empty stomach is best. This is a great way to jump-start your day.
Nauli tends to give you a boost of fire energy. This is because it activates and purifies your navel (solar plexus) chakra – the Manipura, which governs the fire element. Trust me, it’s better than an espresso!
“The technique called nauli [purifies] the Manipura [chakra] in the navel.” – Hatharatnavali 1.63
Once the Manipura chakra is balanced and purified, your emotions associated with this chakra, such as anxiety and stress, will also ease up.
You’ll further find feelings such as vigor and dynamism will have increased.
How to perform the Nauli Kriya
It’s an advanced yogic practice that involves mastering several techniques and then merging them together into one wave-like movement:
- Breath retention called bahya kumbhaka,
- The abdominal lock called uddiyana bandha,
- The isolation of three different muscle groups of the abdominis – the central pillar, left pillar, and right pillar of the abdomen.
“With the shoulders rounded, the yogi should, with a fast and forceful rotation, revolve the belly left and right. The adepts call this nauli.” – Hathapradipika 2.32-35
How to do Nauli Kriya in 9 steps:
1. Begin by entering the starting position:
- Stand with legs shoulder-width apart and toes slightly pointed outwards.
- Hinge forward at the hips, placing hands on the thighs above slightly bent knees.
- Fingers must point inwards and towards each other, placed just above, but not resting on the knees.
- The spine must remain straight in alignment – neither curved nor arched.
2. Take three preparatory deep breaths, to warm-up your lungs.
3. With a strong exhalation through the mouth, crouch down into a squatting position to expel all air from the lungs.
- Hold your breath without inhaling. One void retention equals one performance of Nauli. This is the “nauli breathing pattern.”
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4. Rise back up to the starting position again, this time without air in the lungs.
- In the beginning, it is helpful to look down at your bare abdomen to see what is going on.
5. Perform ‘uddiyana bandha’ - the abdominal lock.
- Pull the belly in and upwards, pulling it close to the spine to create a concave underneath the rib cage.
- When done correctly, your chest and shoulders will naturally lift up towards your head.
6. Isolate the muscles of the middle abdominal area, creating a pillar coming out. That stretches from the base of the pelvic floor up until the rib cage. This step is called Madhyama-nauli.
- It can be difficult to learn how to control muscles that you’ve never used before so have patience.
- Placing a mirror on the floor under you can help you to learn to control the abdominal muscles. With the visual aspect added, things become easier.
- For beginners, it can help to practice ‘pumping’ the stomach while holding the breath. This entails rapidly performing uddiyana bandha (step 5) and releasing it, several times during one breath retention.
7. Balance your body weight towards the left side by leaning onto your left arm. Move the middle pillar of your abdominal muscles to the left side. This is called the Vama-nauli.
- Repeat with the right side which is called the Daksina-nauli, as demonstrated in the above image.
- After mastering Nauli Kriya, leaning your body to one arm will not be necessary any longer. It’s mainly to help you find and isolate the side muscles.
8. Combine the three pillars into one churning wave movement.
- Once you begin to gain control over all three pillars, it will be quite easy to combine them to create the wave-like movement.
- It’s important to perform equal amounts of the wave movement on both sides to equalize the polarity of the energy. So, for instance, if you do 7 waves to the left, also do 7 waves to the right.
9. At the end of the equalized wave movement, you can add a few rounds - usually three - of the middle pillar 'pump' movement before releasing the practice.
- You do this by performing the middle pillar and releasing the middle pillar.
- It’s almost the same as ‘pumping’ the stomach as we did with the uddiyana bandha. This time only with the muscles of the middle pillar. The stomach remains actively engaged at all times (see image 1), which differs from a flabby stomach from releasing the muscular tension.
- If you really want to feel a strong sensation of the energy shooting up your spine, hold the last performance of the middle pillar. Push it out at the end for as long as you possibly can. Go beyond your comfort zone by holding it a second or two longer than you are normally able to.
Keep in mind that mastering Nauli Kriya takes time and effort. If you expect to master it on your first attempt, you will be disappointed. On average, most people find that it takes about a month of steady practice to accomplish
How long should I perform Nauli Kriya?
- For beginners, to see the beneficial effects, it is recommended to start with 3 minutes per day.
- Advanced yogis may perform it for 15-30 min per day.
- Perform each set for as long as you can hold it.
- You are welcome to strive towards 21 (the yogic number) rounds in each direction – clockwise and anticlockwise – which makes 42 rounds in total.
When NOT to practice Nauli Kriya
- Women who are pregnant and children under 12 years of age should avoid this practice.
- People with severe abdominal issues such as an abdominal tumor should seek the advice of a medical practitioner and an advanced yoga teacher before attempting this exercise.
- Practice on an empty stomach only. And so is best done in the morning. But it can also be done 4 hours after a meal, or 1.5 hours after a beverage or a cigarette, and at least 8 hours after consuming alcohol.
- Water is not considered breaking a fast.
Transmuting sexual energy with Nauli Kriya
Is your sexual energy feeling suppressed lately? Or is there simply an air of heaviness around you when it comes to performance? If so, practicing nauli for just 10 minutes a day can bring a much lighter, more charged feeling. Even better is to combine nauli kriya with regular practices of kegels for men. You can read all about the benefits of kegels in this article I have written on the subject via the above link.
This positive feeling occurs because it transmutes the frequency of your energy into a different vibration. Energy that vibrates at a different frequency, making you feel energized and refreshed.
The power of your focus will direct this energy. Of course, the direction also depends upon your intention, along with what you want to increase in your life.
For example, let’s say you need to study for a test, but you’re not quite feeling up to it. Maybe you feel lazy and lethargic.
You could take that gross, heavy energy and turn it into refined mental energy. Refined mental energy is full of clarity and focus.
Once you have transmuted it, you can focus on your studies. This new focus comes without feeling distracted by procrastination energies.
A similar transmutation happens with your erotic sexual impulse. Channeling your inner sexual energy and directing it towards a non-sexual purpose. With kriyas and pranayama, we can achieve things like abundance, health, increased digestive fire, and spiritual evolution.
This transmutation of life-force energy to the desired outcome is one of the results that I help men achieve through The Tantric Man Experience.
If you are interested in mastering special techniques for transmuting your sexual energy, watch my free training video for men!
Do you need tips and tricks for your practice of Nauli Kriya?
Post your question or feedback in the comments below and I will be happy to help!
What is nauli kriya procedure?
- Stand with your hands just above your knees, supporting your upper body weight. Face the floor
- Inhale deeply three times in preparation
- Exhale forcefully and at the same time, squat down
- Retain the exhale and rise to the starting position
- Activate uddiyana bandha
- Isolate middle abdominal muscle and create a wave-like movement within the abdomen area
What is nauli and dhauti?
Nauli is basically defined as abdominal muscle movement. Essentially performing an abdominal massage on yourself using your abs muscles. Dhauti is cleansing of the digestive tract and can be performed using various methods.
What exactly is nauli kriya?
Using a certain muscular motion, nauli kriya (madhya nauli) manipulates the abdominal wall and abdominal cavity to move in a certain way. By doing so, we improve the health of our intestines. The spleen, pancreas, gall bladder and adrenal glands all benefit from nauli kriya.
What are vama and dakshina nauli?
Vama nauli is performed with contraction of the left rectus muscle. Dakshina nauli is right. If you perform too much dakshina nauli and not enough vama nauli, you will get an imbalance. The reverse is also true.
What are the benefits of nauli kriya?
Nauli kriya strengthens rectus abdomini – the abdominis muscles. This special, isolated use of the rectus abdominal muscles tones them. It can give a lean, flat stomach. Nauli also strengthens the digestive fire, heals internal organs (abdominal viscera) and sublimates strong emotions. The massage provided by nauli is also good for any urinary bladder problems.
In which position is nauli performed?
Feet hips width apart. One hand slightly above each knee. This is the starting position in which you inhale through each nostril at the same time, three times. After this, you squat down much lower to the ground during the exhale.
How do you master nauli kriya?
As with anything, mastery of nauli kriya takes time and practice. The isolated use of the rectus abdominis muscle is not natural or instinctive. It takes time to learn how to properly isolate and control.
How is basti kriya done?
Basti kriya is performed as an enema – introducing water to the colon to clean the lower intestinal tract.
When should I practice nauli?
Nauli is best practiced first thing in the morning. It will give an energy boost and some extra toning to your stomach muscle before you’ve even had breakfast.
When to do pre nauli?
Right before you practice nauli itself.
What are the 6 kriyas?
The 6 kriyas are neti kriya, dhauti kriya, nauli kriya, bhasti kriya, kapalabhati kriya and trataka kriya.
What is a yogic kriya?
A yogic kriya is a cleansing technique. Alongside asana and pranayama, kriyas are an important feature of a yogic lifestyle.
Which chakra does nauli kriya work on?
Nauli kriya cleanses, purifies and stimulates Manipura chakra – located at the solar plexus.
How long should I perform nauli kriya?
Beginners should perform nauli for 3 minutes per day. Advanced yogis can do so for 15-20 minutes.
How long does it take to learn nauli kriya?
With daily practice, you can go from a complete beginner to proficient in a few months. It takes time and persistence to develop this kind of muscle control. But it is a very worthwhile pursuit!
Do you breathe during the stomach vacuum?
No. During the stomach vacuum, you hold the breath retention. This means your lungs have no air inside of them whilst you perform nauli.
Do stomach vacuums reduce waist size?
Yes, creating this kind of stomach vacuum requires abdominal muscle usage. When practiced regularly, this can contribute to fat loss and/or muscle increase. A healthy diet and exercise are of course also important to maximize this effect!
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