Now, I have to say first hand that the following Abdominal and Breathing Exercises that I’m going to be discussing do not need to be practiced per-se by the average practitioner.
However, I’m just the kind of guy who is inquisitive and tends to want to try it all.
Try what all Foras? (You may ask)
Well, everything presented in the handbooks, websites and manuals I have in my possession on the Sivananda Method of Yoga.
Moreover, I’m sure there are those parties of people who are just that curious so that said, here they are the Yoga Abdominal Exercises.
These special exercises are performed solely for the abdominal and visceral organs.
Here are some points to note being that they are of yogic origin
*They are not geared to give you a 6-pack! (Although, in executing them with our diet that inevitably is what happens)
*They do require time and patience to master, as various muscles in your torso have to be brought under control. Your abdominal region has to be quite giving, firm yet yielding.
*They are fun and have a marvelous effect on you!
Although they are an important part of yoga, as a beginner they might not be as necessary. They are great to aid in detoxifying. As your flexibility increases through mainly the sun salutations, and you begin to automatically lose weight in the Abdominal regions, they will become easy to perform- at least the first two main ones.
It took me a while to learn them but when I did it was a rewarding experience (As with every pose I can and am still learning to perform!)
Or Cleansing Fire is a marvelous exercise to clean the stomach with its own acids.
-Here stand with the feet 12-18 inches apart.
-Position your hands on your knees as illustrated.
-Exhale through the nose deeply, now keeping the breath out, and without inhaling, pump the stomach in and out in quick successions (at a rate of say a pump per second) for as long as you can without inhaling say a maximum of 6-20 times. Pause for say 6 seconds resume another round, working to a maximum of 4 depending on your capability.
This exercise cleans the stomach, removes constipation and increases the gastric fire.
This is somewhat similar to Agni Sara. You can equate it to the first abdominal exercise being push-ups and this staying still in the upright position.
-It basically strengthens the abdominal muscles.
-Removes sluggishness of the stomach, intestines and liver.
Again perform with caution and don’t strain.
-First of all (in the same standing position as you were in Agni Sara exhale and empty the lungs.
-Now there should be no interference by the diaphragm. Draw up the intestines and navel to the back high into the thoracic cavity. Of course, keep the breath out for this purpose say 6-20 seconds.
First and foremost, this is one of those exercises that look tough but is relatively simple.
-Basically from the Uddiyana Bandha position, there is no other way to describe the next step than to say allow the center of the abdomen to be free by pressing hard with the hands on the thighs.
Perform this exercise just as you will Uddiyana Bandha; 4 times; 6-20 seconds each repetition.
Left and Right Nauli:
As soon as you have mastered the technique above, now proceed in this motion…
Uddiyana bandha for 2 seconds, Central Nauli for 2 seconds, Now press your left thigh firmly and hold for 2 seconds, go back to central nauli, then press on you right thigh firmly and back to central nauli. This should churn the abdominal muscles in a circular motion. I will assume the benefits of this (and all abdominal exercises mentioned) are pretty obvious to the most casual observer: Detoxifying and simultaneous strengthening and toning!
Clothing Thoughts on Yoga Abdominal Exercises
Before you start the abdominal exercises, breathe squarely in a ratio of 5:5:5 seconds twice while being bent ready to execute the exercises.
Also ensure to repeat this after you are done with all four groups of the yogic abdominal exercises as you master them. Not in between the different groups.