Kneel on the floor.
Place the two feet together.
Separate the knees.
This position is as adopted for simhasana.
Place both palms on the floor between the knees; the fingers should point backwards towards the feet.
Bring the wrists and forearms together so that they touch.
Lean forward and rest the abdomen on the top of the elbows in the region just below the navel.
Let the chest rest on top of the upper arms.
Stretch the legs back so that they are straight and together.
Breathe in deeply.
Tense the muscles of the body.
Slowly elevate the trunk, head and legs so that they lie in one straight, horizontal line.
Hold the head upward.
The whole body should be balanced on the palms.
Try to elevate the legs and feet higher, keeping them straight, by applying more muscular effort and by adjusting the balance of the body.
This is the final pose.
Continue reading: Mayurasana (Peacock Pose) | Technique
Here we will describe three asanas:
3 Padma mayurasana
These are excellent asanas for speeding up the metabolic processes in the body and for eliminating toxins. Mayurasana and padma mayurasana can be described as balancing asanas and hamsasana as a simple form of mayurasana. Beginners should first of all master hamsasana and then proceed to mayurasana. Padma mayurasana can be done by anyone who can easily sit in padmasana.
Continue reading: Topic 1 | Asanas: Practice | Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)
Normal breathing in the starting position. Deep exhalation combined with uddiyana bandha before isolation of rectus abdominii muscles. Hold the breath while contracting the abdominal muscles. Controlled inhalation after releasing the muscular contraction. Normal breathing before the next round.
In order to develop muscular control, beginners can if they wish successively contract and relax the muscles in the final position. That is, quickly contract and relax the abdominal muscles while retaining the breath. This applies mainly to madhyama nauli, though it can also be performed for vama and dakshina nauli.
You should pay full attention to the control of the muscles. If you watch the muscles you will find that control becomes easier.
Continue reading: Nauli | Breathing | Awareness | Precautions
2. Vama nauli (left isolation)
Do not attempt vama nauli until you have mastered madhyama nauli.
Take the correct standing position.
Do madhyama nauli as described under the previous heading.
Then try to relax the muscles on the right side of the abdomen, especially the right rectus abdominus muscle.
Maintain contraction of the left side muscles; this will pull the rectus abdominii muscles to the left hand side as shown in the above figure.
Contraction of only the left hand muscles is not easy for beginners.
Continue reading: Vama nauli & Dakshina nauli
1. Madhyama nauli (central contraction)
Take the correct standing position.
Exhale deeply, emptying the lungs as much as possible.
To obtain the fullest exhalation you should contract the abdominal muscles by doing uddiyana bandha.
Look at the abdomen.
Hold the breath.
Continue reading: Nauli – Stage 1 | Abdominal Contraction
Stage 1: abdominal contraction
In this preliminary stage one must master the following:
- Madhyama nauli where both the rectus abdominii muscles are contracted centrally.
- Vama nauli where only the left rectus abdominus muscle is contracted.
- Dakshina nauli where only the right rectus abdominus muscle is contracted.
These three practices are done separately one after the other. When they are perfected then one proceeds to stage 2
Continue reading: Nauli | Stage 1: abdominal contraction & Stage 2: abdominal rotation
Nauli is mentioned in various yogic scriptures but with little detail. In the Gherand Samhita it says: “Vigorously rotate the abdomen from side to side. This practice eliminates all types of disease and increases the digestive fire.” (v. 1:53) Nothing more is explained. From the description given it is completely impossible for a beginner to learn and practise nauli. Personal guidance is necessary. In the Hatha Yoga Pradipika it says: “Bending the shoulders forwards, the abdomen should be rotated from right to left and then left to right. This practice is called nauli by yogis. Nauli removes abdominal ailments, increases the digestive fire and brings happiness. This is the greatest practice of hatha yoga.” (v. 11:33, 34) Again the description is valid, but too brief for learning nauli. These short verses in the scriptures are intended more as a method of remembrance than as instruction. Instructions had to be learned directly from the guru.
In nauli various muscles are utilized in the abdomen, back, legs, arms, etc. However, the practice is primarily concerned with contraction of the rectus abdominii muscles. These are two long vertical muscles located in front of the abdomen. The top ends are fixed under the centre of the ribcage near the diaphragm and the bottom ends are fixed at the pubic bone just above the genital region. The two muscles are wider at the top than the bottom.
Continue reading: Nauli (Stage 1) | Scriptural references
Nauli is one of the six main groups of shatkarmas or cleansing techniques, three of which have already been described1. Most of the practices of dhauti have already been explained as well as jala neti, sutra neti and trataka-. In this topic we propose to explain the first part of nauli.
Nauli is a yogic technique of massaging the entire abdomen and stomach by contracting and rolling the abdominal muscles (specifically the rectus abdominii). It is very beneficial for the health of the digestive system and in fact the health of the whole body. Of all yogic practices, nauli gives the most profound massage of the inner organs. It is quite difficult for beginners but with determination and regular practice it can be done by almost even one.
Continue reading: Topic 1 | Hatha Yoga: Nauli (Stage 1)
You should practise ujjayi pranayama, khechari mudra and unmani mudra during shabda sanchalana. These were also utilized in pawan sanchalana.
You should practise shabda sanchalana directly after finishing pawan sanchalana.
Sit comfortably. Hold the back straight.
Open your eyes.
Do khechari mudra; this should continue throughout the whole practice.
Bend your head forwards.
Continue reading: Shabda Sanchalana (Rotation Of Word Consciousness) | Subsidiary practices | Technique
Some people hear the soundSaham when they listen to their breath instead of Soham. This is perfectly acceptable and can be used in shabda sanchalana instead of Soham.
Soham should be integrated with the breathing. With the practice of ujjayi pranayama the sound can be heard very distinctly. Try it. You should hear: So with inhalation, Ham with exhalation.
In shabda sanchalana you should hear so as you breathe in from mooladhara up the frontal arohan psychic passage to bindu. The sound should be prolonged.
That is, from mooladhara to swadhisthana kshetram the emphasis will be on the sound: s-s-s-s. From swadhisthana to bindu the emphasis should be on the sound: o-o-o-o. This is clearly shown in the diagram.
You should hear the sound Ham as you breathe out and down the spinal awarohan psychic passage from bindu to mooladhara. From bindu through ajna to vishuddhi, the emphasis will be on the sound: h-a-a-a. From vishuddhi to mooladhara the emphasis should be on the sound: m-m-m. This will be a humming sound that vibrates down the spine.
Continue reading: Shabda Sanchalana (Rotation Of Word Consciousness) | Pronunciation of Soham
The Sanskrit word shabda means ‘word’; sanchalana means ‘rotation’ or ‘conduction’. Therefore, this practice can be called ‘the rotation (or conduction) of word consciousness’. Here the word is the mantra Soham. Shabda sanchalana can also be regarded as the sixth stage of ajapa japa1.
The implications of Soham
Soham is widely called the ajapa gayatri – the spontaneous song of the breath. It is a mantra that arises automatically with each and every breath. It is the sound that corresponds with the natural rhythm of breathing. It is the mantra that every person chants continuously, whether knowingly or unknowingly.
Continue reading: Topic 1 | Kriya Yoga: Practice | Kriya 5: Shabda Sanchalana (Rotation Of Word Consciousness)
The question will be asked: ‘Is jnana yoga for me?’ Only you can decide, or your guru. But certainly jnana yoga is for the few; it is a path that is fraught with pitfalls, the greatest of which is that it can so easily degenerate into mere intellectualization. This happens very often; people are so habituated to intellectual thinking that they automatically start to think of intellectual answers to their enquiry. Instead of removing concepts they start to fill their heads with them. They lack the intensity of purpose. The enquiry does not have the intensity to penetrate the deeper realms of being to find a solution. The result is that they resort to intellectual explanations. There are many people who have reached what they feel are relevant answers through mere word juggling. They talk endlessly about God, consciousness, divine beings and so on, but it is all speculation and words. There is absolutely no basis in personal experience. They are replacing experience with mere words. This is definitely not the aim nor the path of jnana yoga. This is where jnana yoga becomes corrupted. The aim is to wipe out superficial, intellectual speculations, not create them. The aim is to empty the mind of concepts, not fill it up The person on the path of jnana yoga has to persevere with the enquiry without giving up or accepting secondhand speculations. You must wait for illuminative experience, which is firsthand experience. When this happens there will be no doubt about its validity.
Continue reading: Jnana Yoga | Part 7