If you take a peek into a yogis life, you might find something interesting, unusual or out right weird. For centuries, yogis have researched, experimented and integrated different techniques to cleanse their bodies. The cleansing process is to get rid of toxins from the body, consequentially, a less agitated body will lead to a more tranquil mind.
Mornings are the golden time frame in a day of a yogi's life. Waking up at the crack of dawn, a yogi cleanse the physical body and get ready for his/her Sadhana (spiritual practice). Well...the cleansing is a little bit more than a shower. Here I will share with you 3 (of many) interesting yogic rituals:
1) Nauli Kriya (NAW-LI-KREE-YAA)
This is an internal organ massage. Yup. To prepare, you create a suction in the belly and then 'drop' the Rectus Abdomini forward followed by undulation of the belly. If this didn't make sense to you whatsoever, see the picture below:
You don't always have a funny face like him. However, it might be like putting mascara on, where the lips naturally part. You might just can't control your Nauli Kriya face...
There are many benefits doing this particular cleansing technique. First, it initiates movement in the gastrointestinal tracts thus promoting bowel movements. (Good for the infrequent goers.) Secondly, it tightens up the mid section, increases muscular tone and reduces abdominal fat. Thirdly, it's a good show off trick.
Not everyone is suitable for Nauli Kriya. Some of the contraindications are high blood pressure, pregnancy, diarrhea and abdominal surgery.
2) Oil Pulling
It stems from Ayurveda. Oil Pulling is an ancient toxin removal technique from Mother India. Typically using cold press sesame oil or coconut oil, oil pulling is best upon waking up and before drinking any liquids. Take a tablespoon of oil and rinse it in the mouth for 10-20 minutes. Careful not to swallow it. When the time is up, simply spit it out and brush your teeth you normally would. I usually do this with tongue scraping. That I use a chinese/Thai silver spoon and scrap the thin layer of overnight built up on the surface of my tongue. Your tongue is the key indicator of your current health. If you have a lot of built up overnight, white color (or funky color) or bad smell, it could mean part of your organs are malfunctioning or you might have a systematic problem (like Candida).
Oil Pulling is great for everyone and all ages. I say some people can't tolerate the smell of the oil or tend to gag when rinse for too long. If it helps, try to rinse 5 minutes for 2 rounds total.
3) Jala Neti (Nasal Irrigation)
Jala Neti is done with a neti pot. It looks like genie in a bottle but no wishes are granted. Jala Neti is a little more commonly known in the Western world. Even Walmart carries neti pots. It's where you pour salty lukewarm water into one nasal and out the other. It's great for clearing up nasal congestion and minimizes seasonal allergies. So what's the big deal? Well, some yogis think salt water is for the sissy, so they use their own urine. Now is when I clarify I only use Himalayan Pink Salt and never have I tried my own urine. But just remember, only use the midstream of your morning urine and ideally not after a night out drinking.
So here you go, 3 effective but unusual yogic rituals. To spend your morning wisely, I suggest the following timetable:
4:30am: Wake up
4:30-5:00am: Scrape Tongue & oil pulling
5:00am: Nauli Kriya (NAW-LI-KREE-YAA)
6-7:30am: Yoga Practice (Asana)
7:30am: The rest of your family wakes up and you go on being a normal person
Article written by Annie Au. RYT 500, Yoga Teacher, Vegan, Traveler.