Tantra Magazine
ETYMOLOGY: the term NAULI cannot be found in the dictionaries. However, NAU means boat and LI means “to hold on, to grasp, to adhere to. The purpose of this word’s usage is to suggest the way to perform this technique: the abdominal organs have to be moved vertically and transversally, like the movement of a wave. The undulating movement of a boat on agitated sea also refers to the manner in which the abdominal muscle rolls while performing this technique.
Gheranda Samhita names this technique LAUKIKI YOGA and gives the following description of it in lesson one, sutra 52: “move forcibly the stomach and intestines from one side to the other. This is LAUKIKI YOGA. It destroys all diseases and amplifies the digestive fire.”

Caution: NAULI KRIYA is not an asana. It is a kriya action. In the traditional Yogic texts, nauli is mentioned as one of the six purifying actions (SHAT KARMA) which facilitates complete purification and rejuvenation of the body. At the same time, NAULI KRIYA is one of the most powerful exercises in Hatha Yoga.

The famous and competent Hatha Yoga Pradipika treaty mentions in the second chapter, sutra 34 “…”
In order to move at will the abdominal muscles it is compulsory that we gain a better awareness on these muscles, and in order to achieve this the practice of UDDIYANA BANDHA is of great help.


  • – The starting position is standing, feet at 30-40 cm. apart, soles placed parallel with each other.
    – Bend your knees and place your palms above the knees, trying to support the entire weight of the trunk on the arms.
    – While performing the abdominal retraction, the arms sustain firmly the body and the shoulders. This support on the arms certifies that the abdominal muscles are totally relaxed.

    – Exhale forcibly the air from your lungs, while you coil up in order to empty the lungs of all residual air. When you exhale and coil up, you may even contract the abdomen.
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    Tantra Magazine
    – Abdominal retraction: take again the starting position (knees bent, palms above the knees, arms sustaining the trunk) without inhaling. Immediately after this, retract the abdomen. This means that you feign a profound thoracic inhalation. The retraction will be easier to perform and the diaphragm will climb higher in the thoraces if you empty your lungs as much as possible.
    – This is UDDIYANA BANDHA, the first step in NAULI.
    – Then relax the central part of the abdomen, contracting in turns the left and right side of it. You may easily distinguish the abdominal muscle in this position, as a vertical line of muscles on the abdomen. This stage is called MADHYAMA NAULI.

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    Tantra Magazine
    There is the possibility that in the beginning you find it difficult to isolate the straight abdominal muscle. Do not panic. With practice, the abdomen will loose its inertia, and you will see a central muscular “pillar” starting in the area of the pubis up the area of the sternum. The intense focus in the pubic area is a great help in locating these muscles. You may also recourse to your eyesight to locate these muscles, but you have to drop any clothes that cover your abdomen.
    – The following stage supposes that you make circular movements with your abdominal muscle.
    – First time contract the right side of the abdomen. The muscles will appear prominently only in the left side. The left side is let free. This stage is called VAMA NAULI.
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    – Then make circular movements towards the left side of the abdomen. Through practice, you will be able to speed up the rhythm of these circular movements.
    – Finally, lower the diaphragm and after approximately five seconds, inhale as you did with UDDIYANA BANDHA.
    After you breathe freely a few times, do the technique again. Do UDDIYANA BANDHA, separate the abdominal muscle, and then contract the left side of the abdomen. The muscles will become prominent only in the right side of the abdomen, which is relaxed. This stage is called DAKSHINA NAULI.
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    – Now rotate the abdominal muscle towards the right side of the abdomen. The number of circular movements has to be equal in both senses.
    – Finally, lower the diaphragm and after approximately five seconds, inhale as you did with UDDIYANA BANDHA.

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    – Profound massage of the abdominal organs.
    Manipura Chakra is active. Digestive fire amplified.
    – The transmutation of the vital and sexual potential. The sublimation of the inferior energies into elevated energies.
    – How fast should you perform NAULI? The sacred writings assert that the movement must resemble to a wave on a river.
    – The interval of practice: remarkable results come up even if you practise three minutes per day. Advanced yogis, however, practise NAULI for 15 minutes to 30 minutes every day.
    CAUTION: you must not perform this exercise in the following cases:
    – Women during their period.
    – Pregnant women (even from the beginning of their pregnancy).
    – Children aged less than 12.
    – If you suffer of appendicitis, colitis, intestinal tuberculosis or stomach cancer.
    – Attention: if the practice of NAULI KRIYA induces violent pain in the abdomen, this is certain evidence of a disease. In this case, it is necessary that you stop this practice and check with you doctor.
    – If your arterial pressure is above 16.
    1. Beginners who do not succeed in isolating the abdominal muscle will perform a fast movement of retraction, followed by a quick lowering of the abdomen, while retaining your breath after exhaling.
    2. If you isolated the abdominal muscle and it is difficult for you to perform circular movements, do as follows: quickly retract your abdomen, then isolate the central muscle. Perform this movement several times while retaining your breath after exhaling.

    – NAULI is an unprecedented abdominal massage. While performing this technique, the abdominal muscle is massaging the organs. NAULI represents the best modality of fortifying the abdominal muscle.
    – At the same time, NAULI constitutes an excellent exercise of improving your control on certain muscles that you hardly ever use individually, and of which very few people are aware. The movement of the abdominal muscle will determine healthier viscera , generating an increased flow of blood in the area, fact which has as result the activation of the nervous plexus and of their fine endings. This will lead to a better co-ordination of the autonomous function characteristic/specific to the abdominal activity.
    – The practice of NAULI leads to the acceleration of the gastric secretions. The solar plexus is rapidly decongested and the anxiety accumulated daily is removed naturally.
    – However, the effects of this technique are not limited to the digestive duct, as NAULI guarantees an excellent health of the kidneys.
    – The liver, one of the most important organs of the body will benefit of a stronger internal circulation and its functioning will be better.
    – The bile is quite well massaged during the practice of this technique. The practice of NAULI may also make the eventual stones move, generating their expulsion in quite a number of cases.
    – The pancreas will benefit by the practice of NAULI as well. Even if this technique cannot cure diabetes, it may nevertheless ensure a correct function of this gland, including the insulin-producer Langerhans isles.
    – Owing to the profound inhalations and exhalations, as well as to the void created in the thoraces while retaining your breath, NAULI contributes to regaining or maintaining the elasticity of your lungs.
    – Through the periodicity of pressure during the practice of this technique, the heart is also profoundly massaged. Thus, NAULI constitutes one of the best protections against heart attack. Once you fully master this technique, you will also have your breath under control and you may even feel in your mouth an unusual flavour.
    – NAULI makes the practitioner immune to diseases such as: hernia, appendicitis, ulcer, indigestion, constipation, etc.

    The fundamental yogic treaty HATHA YOGA PRADIPIKA asserts:

    “Sitting on the toes with heels raised above the ground, and the palms resting on the ground, and in this bent posture the belly is moved forcibly from left to right, just as in vomiting. This is called by adepts the Nauli Karma.

    It removes dyspepsia, increases appetite and digestion, and is like the goddess of creation, and causes all happiness. It dries up all the disorders. This is an excellent exercise in Hatha Yoga.”