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Note: For the complete lessons,
with additions, see the AYP
Easy Lessons for Ecstatic Living Books.
Lesson 129 - Nauli Raising kundalini with your abdominal muscles
Date: Sun Feb 29, 2004 4:53pm
New Members: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the web archive, as previous
lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why
In the lesson on yoni mudra kumbhaka, we introduced a maneuver called uddiyana, which is
lifting the abdomen using the diaphragm. Sometimes uddiyana is called the "abdominal
lift." You will recall that uddiyana means, "to fly up." Uddiyana is a bit
tricky while we are doing breath retention inside, because the diaphragm does not go up as
far when our lungs are full of air. So it was suggested that we also practice uddiyana
outside yoni mudra kumbhaka. We do this by standing with our feet spread a bit more than
shoulder width apart with knees a bit bent, and leaning forward enough to rest our hands
on our knees. In this position, we look like a shortstop in baseball, leaning forward with
his hands on his spread knees, intently waiting for the batter to hit the ball. Maybe
sometimes in cricket they stand this way too?
In yoga (not baseball!), once we are in this "shortstop" position, we expel all
the air from our lungs, and then lift our diaphragm. If we do this with a bare midriff, we
will see our abdomen go in as the diaphragm is going up into the chest cavity. Most
schools of yoga teach this standing uddiyana as part of a regular routine of postures, and
this is a good time to practice it, during asanas before our pranayama and meditation.
Uddiyana has good health benefits. It also draws energy up from our pelvic region, which
is why it is part of yoni mudra kumbhaka, along with the other mudras and bandhas we do,
all aimed at awakening and moving kundalini energy upward through the nervous system.
With uddiyana we use the abdomen in a fairly static way, not doing anything dynamic with
the abdominal muscles. We just pull the abdomen in by lifting the diaphragm up. We can
make uddiyana dynamic by going up and down with the diaphragm. We'd like to jazz things up
even more, and put more stimulation on the kundalini energy in our pelvic region. By doing
so, we will also be setting the stage for an integrated network of whole-body
micro-movements that occur as ecstatic conductivity rises and matures in our nervous
system. Part of this integration will be an automatic linkup between the movements in the
abdomen and the movements in the pelvic region, eventually giving us ecstatic
micro-movements from the root all the way up into the chest.
Of course, none of this starts out as "micro-movements." We have to begin with
"macro-movements," which is what the mudras and bandhas are when we first learn
them. If we are learning to play the violin, we have to master the long simple monotone
strokes before we can indulge in the short complex multitone ones. Like that, the mudras
and bandhas usually begin as pronounced and visible, and then naturally refine over time
to be subtle invisible automatic manipulations deep within our increasingly ecstatic
nervous system. Then, it is the movement of ecstatic kundalini energy in our nervous
system that performs the micro-movements all over our body, and we become a witness to an
unending glorious display of luminous neuro-biology going on inside us.
The dynamic technique that takes us beyond uddiyana is called "nauli," which
means, "to churn," or "to twirl." We begin in the standing
"shortstop" position described above. Then we do uddiyana, expelling all our
air, and pull our diaphragm up, which pulls our abdomen in. So there we are in uddiyana.
Now we will do some other things to develop nauli. Let's take it step-by-step.
Once in uddiyana, the first thing we do is contract our abdominal muscles by pressing down
on our knees equally through both our arms. It is like doing a sit-up while we are
standing up. Only no sit-up movement happens because our arms and hands are bracing our
upper body on our knees. We are in uddiyana while we are doing this, so our abdomen is
still pulled in by our raised diaphragm. Now something new is happening. Even though we
are pulling our abdomen in with our diaphragm, we will notice our abdominal muscles
bulging out in a line, up and down the center of our belly. This adds a great deal more
suction on the pelvic region. Try flexing your abdominal muscles a few times while in
uddiyana and see how they appear along the center line of your belly.
Summary: Stand like a shortstop, hands on knees. Expel all your air. Lift your diaphragm.
Notice your abdomen being pulled in. Then pull your upper body (braced with hands on your
knees) down toward your knees with your abdominal muscles in a sit-up fashion. See the
line of abdominal muscles bulging in a line down the center of your belly.
See how easy it is? Feel the extra suction pulling up on your pelvic region? Great! Now
you've got it. Now flex those abdominal muscles a few times. Get a rhythm going, doing a
flex every few seconds. Find a rhythm that feels good for you. As you do this a few more
times, you may find that flexing the abdominal muscle fits with whatever level of
mulabandha/asvini you have become familiar with. Let them go together if you want. In
time, they will become integrated together on a subtle neurological level and you will not
be able to do one without being inclined to do the other. That kind of natural integration
will happen with all the mudras and bandhas in the body. But more on that later.
So here you are, flexing away. Maybe you are feeling some nice energy coming up into your
belly, and maybe beyond into your chest, and even all the way up into your head. The
abdominals are very powerful for raising kundalini like that.
But, you know, this is not nauli yet. We haven't started "twirling" those
muscles yet. The key to twirling is separating the flexing of our left abdominal muscle
from the flexing of our right one, and then coordinating the two flexings into a twirling
motion. We have two long abdominal muscles in there. One goes up and down the right side
of our belly, and the other one goes up and down the left side. How do we separate them?
It isn't very difficult to learn how, thanks to our shortstop position.
So, set up in the shortstop position for uddiyana and nauli, just as before. This time,
instead of contracting down with the abdominals with equal pressure through both arms on
to both knees, just contract down through one arm on to one knee. Take your pick on which
one. Once in uddiyana, just contract with your abdomen down on to one knee through one arm.
What happens? Did you see one side of your abdominal muscles flex out, and the other side
stay in? If so, you've got it right. Now switch to the other side. Flex your abdomen with
all the pressure going to the other knee through the other arm. Did the other side of your
abdominal muscles flex out? Good. Now try going back and forth, with the same rhythm you
used when you were doing both sides at the same time. Only this time, it will be left
side, right side, left side, right side, and so on.
Now you are drawing up on the pelvic region on alternating sides. This will be more
stimulating on the kundalini energy. Are you ready to go for the whole thing? Let's see if
we can twirl those muscles.
Assuming you have the abdominal muscles going smoothly back and forth from left to right,
there is just one more step to have full nauli going. Instead of going in and out with the
muscles from left to right one at a time, try doing a "sweep" across from left
to right. This means that while your left abdominal is flexed out, you come up with the
right one before the left one is releasing, so both are flexed in the middle for an
instant. Then as you go more to the right side flex, the left will release. The effect is
that you see one continuous movement of your abdominal muscles going across your belly
left to right a sweep. Then as your right muscle releases going back in, the left
one is coming back up. Then across you go again from left side flexed to right side
flexed. And around and around you go, twirling left to right, left to right, again and
again. You can sense and regulate the twirling by feeling the shift in pressure going
through your arms from left knee to right knee as the flexing of your abdominal muscles
shifts from the left side to the right side, and then back.
It is training to develop a habit we are doing in this early stage of nauli. It will be
"clunky" in the beginning, no doubt. But don't give up. You will get the hang of
it. First learn it going one way. We started twirling the muscles out from left to right.
Once you have that going well, then get it going the other way, from right to left. Once
you are able to twirl either way, you will be on your way to being a nauli expert.
With some practice you will be able to twirl your abdominal muscles like a jump rope, with
delicious effects on the energy in your pelvic region. Kundalini will not be able resist
coming up with all that stimulation caressing her.
We don't do this macro-movement nauli during our sitting practices. We do it before we sit
to do pranayama and meditation. It can be part of our asanas, included when we do uddiyana
in our routine. Or, if we are not in the habit of doing asanas, we can do nauli by itself
before we sit for practices. Doing nauli before our sitting practices awakens our nervous
system in ways that are very supportive of pranayama, yoni mudra kumbhaka, and meditation.
Try and do at least twenty rotations of nauli in each direction before every session of
pranayama and meditation. If you are running out of breath while doing nauli, don't
strain. Just pause, take a deep breath or two, exhale again, and continue. As you become
familiar with nauli, you will also be able to do it less formally in situations that do
not involve the shortstop position. For example, once you have the habit of separate
control of the two abdominal muscles, it will become easy to do while lying on your back
relaxing, and, eventually, while sitting up. In time, nauli will refine to the point where
you will be able to do it subtly with no visible motion just about anywhere, with
wonderful ecstatic effects. This kind of nauli goes very nicely with subtle movements of
mulabandha/asvini, while in kechari. These ecstatic exercises can be done in public
without anyone knowing you are doing them, except for the glow, of course.
We will be using a subtle version of nauli when we move on to dynamic jalandhara (the
"chin pump"), which involves the upper body to a much greater extent in the
stimulation of kundalini energy between the heart to the head.
Nauli is a powerful practice with far reaching effects. We did not include the normal
precautions at the beginning of this lesson because nauli is not usually a practice that
can throw us immediately into trouble with kundalini energy. It goes without saying that
if you have any health problems that could be aggravated by nauli, then you should refrain
from doing it. Also, if nauli is practiced over a period of time without the benefit
global purification practices of meditation and spinal breathing, it could lead to energy
imbalances in the body. It is beneficial to have good overall purification practices
established before taking on any practices that target particular areas of the body for
kundalini stimulation. This is why we started in the beginning of the lessons with
meditation and spinal breathing, and continue to call them the core advanced yoga
practices -- the prerequisites for everything else we undertake.
If you want, you can do nauli before learning other advanced yoga practices beyond
meditation and spinal breathing. Those two would be the recommended minimum prerequisites
Always make sure you are smooth with your practices before taking on new ones. It is very
important to maintain a stable platform of practices that you can sustain over the long
run. When you know you are ready, you can methodically add on new practices as your bhakti
calls you to more.
The guru is in you.
Note: For instructions on
nauli, see the Asanas,
Mudras and Bandas book and the
AYP Diet, Shatkarmas and Amaroli book.
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