“Lower the shoulders. Revolve the stomach left and right with the speed of a strong whirlpool. This is called Nauli by the masters. This Nauli is the crown of Hatha practices. It kindles a weak gastric fire, restores the digestion, always brings happiness, and dries up all defects and diseases.”
— The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, translation by Brian Dana Akers
Nauli is a cleansing yogic practice which stimulates the internal organs, facilitating digestion, and practices breathing technique. It provides a massaging motion to the abdomen and flexes and tones the abdominal muscles. Nauli relies on the isolation of the abdominal muscles for selected contraction which provides the effects it exhibits. It also enables awareness of the muscles used for breathing and thereby insight into the practice of pranayama, or yogic breathing.
I started working on nauli just a few months ago and have felt the beneficial effects on my abdomen. It is a humbling journey as it is not something you can just do – learning the practice requires training and time and perseverance. I am finally just now beginning to incorporate the rolling motion of the technique and the specific isolation of regions of the abdomen! Additionally, my ashtanga flows and breathing have strengthened with the incorporation of this practice into my routine.
For more information on the specifics of nauli, check out this link.
Check out this “how to” on youtube to see how it’s done!
Note: Nauli should not be attempted by beginner yogis or without education on proper technique. Consult your doctor before practicing if you have any GI complications or other, general health conditions. Nauli should not be practiced while menstruating and should only be done on an empty stomach.