What is Nauli Kriya? Steps, Precautions, Contraindications & 9 Incredible Benefits Of Nauli Kriya

Nauli Kriya is one of the several Shatkarmas that you will come across, as a part of your yoga teacher training course. It is an important kriya, that can aid your abdominal health. The regular practice of such kriyas has the power to purify the body, inside out. The word has been derived from Sanskrit, according to which ‘Nau’ means ‘boat’ and ‘Li’ means ‘to hand on’. Nauli Kriya is a series of actions, that has a common goal. In this practice, the muscles of the abdomen, hold on to the abdominal wall, like a boat cling to the surface of the water. 

Many yoga experts also call it, ‘Lauliki Karma’. It means to roll, rotate, and disturb the contents of the entire abdomen and all the muscles and nerves, associated with it. As you move the muscles of the abdomen laterally as well as vertically, you will create waves, that massage the entire arena. The abs muscles, as you can see from the top of the skin is used to massage all the internal organs in this kriya.

The organs which benefit from the practice are the stomach, liver, urinary bladder, spleen, gall bladder, pancreases, small intestine, as well as the large intestine. You have to literally churn the stomach inside out, to get all the benefits. It also tends to increase the gastric fire, within the stomach. 

Anatomical Implications

Hatha Yoga Pradipika, is an ancient Yoga text written by an Indian Yogi named Swatmaramaji, where you will find its mention. He explained the Nauli Kriya to the yogis and disciples. Nauli Kriya creates a negative pressure inside the abdominal cavity, which leads the abdominal arteries to carry more blood to all the organs.

Moreover, this increased blood supply can help organs to work at their best levels and can also help organs in fast recovery. The body gets relief from daily wear and tear and also fights with several diseases. 

Additionally, the body gets to facilitate the same, by fast drainage of waste materials.  The major stress hormones like norepinephrine, adrenalin, and cortisone are secreted by the adrenal glands, inside the abdomen. The gland is located at the upper corner of the kidneys inside the abdominal cavity. When you do Nauli Kriya, you can also manipulate all these endocrine orans, as it gives a massage to all the internal organs of the abdominal cavity. 

Nauli Kriya is not only effective on a mere physical level, but also on a mental level and helps to treat diseases by controlling all the bodily systems. 

How To Do Nauli Kriya?

So, you know enough of the anatomy of the body in relation to Nauli kriya, and also its implications. But you should also know a few details about its impact on the astral body. All yogic kriyas that you perform has a huge impact on the astral body. You can actually stimulate the chakra which is located at the level of your belly button. It is called the Manipura Chakra. It is the storehouse of vital life force, to be exact. If you declutter the area, you can develop clairvoyance. 

So, Nauli is basically a very advanced practice. You need to have mastery over all the bandhas, before you attempt to try out this kriya. The main body locks used are Uddhiyana bandha and Jalandhara bandha. 

  • In the first place, you need to lift the abdominal muscles and then lock them, in a fixed position, with the help of the Uddhiyana bandha. When you do it, the diaphragm is stretched till its highest position. It is locked literally at the conjunction of the abdomen and the chest. You have to do it, exactly before starting the Nauli Kriya. 
  • In the next instance, you have to practice the Jalandhara bandha. It is also known as chin lock. It will help in creating flexibility in the abdominal region. Moreover, it will facilitate the rolling of the muscles. 
  • You will also do the Agnisaar Kriya, which helps to activate the fire energy. It is located at the centre of the navel. It is also a type of Dhauti Kriya.

Nauli Kriya

Now, begins the actual practice of Nauli Kriya. 

  • You have to stand with both legs slightly apart. Inhale through your nostrils and exhale fully through the mouth, while bending forward slightly and bending your knee joints as well. 
  • Your hands should be resting on the thighs. The back should be straight and the head should be upright. You can relax your abdominal muscles. 
  • You have to pull the navel inwards, as if trying to reach the spine. 
  • Then begins the abdominal contraction and expansion. You can do it 10-15 times. 
  • You have to inhale and start. Breathe out the stale air, if its starts feeling uncomfortable. 


  • Madhya Nauli – When you do the contractions on either side of your abdomen, it is called Madhya Nauli. 
  • Vama Nauli – When you do the contraction on the left side, it is called Vama Nauli. 
  • Dakshina Nauli – When you do the contractions on the right side of the abdomen, it is called Dakshina Nauli. 


Precautions and Contraindications

As with other yogic techniques and Shatkarmas, you have to follow certain rules while performing Nauli Kriya. You must learn it properly, before practicing it. 

  • You should always practice Nauli, under the tutelage of learned instructors. 
  • The best time during which you can practice Nauli is the morning. The stomach and the bowels are empty at that time, and thus is most suitable. If you had a heavy meal, you should wait for at least 5 hours, before practicing Nauli. 
  • If you overdo it, by chance, you will suffer from stomach ailments like diarrhoea and indigestion. 
  • Your yoga instructor is the best person, to decide whether you should do Nauli daily, based on your yogic constitution. 

There are certain contraindications of Nauli as well. You should keep them in mind. 

  • If you are aged more than 40 years, do it under the guidance of a yoga expert. 
  • If you have appendicitis, you cannot practice Nauli. 
  • If you have any sort of inflammation in your stomach, you must not practice Nauli. 
  • If you have kidney stones or gall stones, you must not practice Nauli. 
  • If you have high blood pressure, you cannot practice Nauli. 
  • Children who are 14 years or less, must not do this kriya. 
  • If you are expecting, you cannot do it. 
  • After taking food, you must abstain from performing this kriya. 

Benefits Of Nauli Kriya

  • The Nauli Kriya massages and tones the organs in the abdominal cavity. 
  • It is an exercise of sorts for the internal organs. 
  • It helps the body to release gastric fire. 
  • The kriya also generates a lot of heat inside the body. 
  • It also helps to remove toxins. 
  • You can also use it, in your weight loss journey. 
  • It is responsible for building up the core strength. 
  • It also activates the Manipura chakra. 
  • It facilitates the flow of ‘Prana’ through the body. 


Nauli Kriya is one of the most important kriyas, in Yoga. However, you can only learn it under a learned yoga expert. Moreover, you can perform it after that, with full vigour. Always weigh the pros and cons, before you indulge in any kind of yogic activity. 


Pramod Sahoo
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