Nauli kriya – Rectus Isolation

School of Yoga explains nauli-kriya (Rectus Isolation)

Hatha Yoga Pradeepika on nauli-kriya;


Yogacharya Sundaram demonstrating the kriya in 1920’s

Ch 2 v 33: Sitting on the toes with heels above the ground, the belly should be vigorously moved from left to right and right to left as in vomiting. This is called Nauli.

Ch 2 v 34: Nauli removes dyspepsia, increases digestion capability, produces happiness and destroys all diseases and disorders of the dosha (humours).

School of Yoga explains – Nauli technique: (Should be learned under supervision)

  • Perform uddiyana.
  • Contract rectus muscles in the abdomen and project them forward in a thrusting movement. Use hands to push the hip back and generate a forward movement of the abdominal rectus with the back.
  • Center of the abdomen will come out. To isolate the right or left rectus, bend knee of the isolating side a little more than the other knee. Pressing hand on this bent knee, push the abdominus to the opposite side.
  • Similarly, practice on the opposite side by bending the knee, pushing with the hand and isolating the rectus on the opposite side. The rectus muscle on either side of the abdominus muscle can be completely isolate when the opposite side is completely compressed.
  • Hold for 3-5 counts.
  • Performing once is enough.
  • The drishti (gaze) recommended is nabhigre (middle of the navel)


    Yogacharya Sundaram demonstrating Vama Nauli

School of Yoga explains – variations:

There are 4 variations:

  • madhyama-nauli (isolation of rectus abdominis) – this is the standard nauli;
  • dakshina-nauli (isolation of right rectus) – this is the ability to move the right rectus muscle into the abdomen while keeping the left constant,
  • vama-nauli (isolation of left rectus) – here this is the ability to move the left rectus muscle into the abdomen while keeping the right constant,
  • nauli-kriya (rotation of rectus abdominis) – this is the ability to rapidly alternate between vama and dakshina nauli, i.e. alternate rapidly between the right rectus muscle and left rectus muscles.

School of Yoga explains – Benefits:

  • All the benefits of uddiyana are integrated into this asana.
  • This asana massages the liver, pancreas, stomach and the intestines. This ensures complete evacuation of the bowels and restoration of health to the complete digestive, reproductive and urinary system. It removes all digestive ailments.
  • Also brings voluntary control to all abdominal muscles.

School of Yoga explains – Contraindications:


Yogacharya Sundaram demonstrating Dakshina Nauli

  • This kriya must be performed on an empty stomach, preferably after evacuation.
  • People with cardiac problems, lower back problems and circulatory disorders should not attempt this kriya without first consulting a physician.
  • People with hernia etc should avoid this kriya.
  • This asana should not be practiced during menstruation or pregnancy.

Some noteworthy points on Nauli:

Internal Links: Dharma (conditioning), Stress and Situational Awareness, Prana, Asana overview 1, Asana Overview 2, Asana Focus or gazing, PranayamaHatha Yoga Pradeepika, Uddiyana

External Links: Prana, Chakra, Pancha Tattva, Pancha Prana, Pancha Kosha, Nadi,

  • Uddiyana and nauli should be practiced ONLY on an empty stomach.
  • Uddiana and nauli should be learned under the supervision of a Master.
  • This is considered to be one of the shat-karmas (6 actions) for preparing the body for advanced Hatha Yoga practice.
  • People with hernia, renal disease should avoid this exercise. Those with stomach ailments should increase practice gradually, stop when there is any sign of discomfort.
Editor at School Of Yoga
School Of Yoga is a single point resource for all aspects of Classical Yoga practise. We try to achieve this by placing Yoga's traditional methodology in front of the reader and eliciting his or her experience. We value everyone's Yoga experience and would like you to share and enrich other practitioners so that everyone benefits.
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