Hatha Yoga: Agnisar Kriya. Part III

Mistakes to avoid

Often agnisar kriya is done with only a slight movement of the abdomen. This is often due to pulling in and pushing out the abdomen too quickly. Try to regulate your practice so that the movement is reasonably rapid, yet simultaneously exaggerated.

Sometimes in stages 1 and 2 the breath is not synchronized with the movement. Try to harmonize the breath with the movement and keep a constant rhythm throughout the practice.

Number of rounds and duration

Beginners may find this practice a little difficult because of lack of voluntary control over the abdominal muscles. Furthermore, you will quickly become tired because you are using

your abdominal muscles far more than usual. Therefore, you must slowly and gradually develop and accustom the muscles over a period of time. At first contract and expand the abdomen no more than twenty five times before taking a short rest. Three rounds is sufficient. Practise this for a week or so.

When your muscles become stronger then you can gradually increase the duration of each round as well as the number of rounds. We leave the details of this to the discretion of the practitioner, for the choice will depend on individual capability.

Of course, the duration of each round in technique 3 will depend on how long you can hold your breath. We emphasize again that you should not strain. You will find that the duration of breath retention will automatically increase with practice.

Time of practice

Do not practise agnisar kriya with a full stomach. Wait until three or four hours have elapsed after a meal. The best time to practise is early in the morning before breakfast, preferably after going to the toilet. However, if you wish you can do this practice before going to the toilet to help induce a good bowel movement.

Limitations

Those people with high blood pressure, heart problems, ulcers and hernias are advised not to do this kriya.

Women who are pregnant should also refrain from doing the practice. However, they definitely should recommence it after childbirth to tighten up the abdominal and pelvic muscles and bring the internal organs back to normal.

Benefits

Agnisar kriya massages all the abdominal organs, strengthens the muscles and stimulates the associated nerves, encouraging the best possible functioning of these organs. It promotes the correct secretion of digestive juices and thereby allows optimum assimilation of nutrients from the food that we eat. Furthermore, it prevents and removes various digestive maladies such as constipation, indigestion, hyperacidity, hypoacidity, flatulence and sluggishness of the liver, etc.

If a person has strong and efficient internal organs, he is far more able to avoid disease. Moreover, even if he mistreats his body the organs are easily able to cope with the situation and bring the body back into balance. Agnisar kriya strengthens the organs that lie in the lower part of the trunk. In this way it helps the individual to withstand the onslaught of disease and the general unhealthy conditions of everyday life. This is an important practice and we recommend everyone to try it on a regular basis.

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