This is the thirteenth in a series of articles on how to practiSe yoga, in consultation with Ayurvedic and Yoga Consultant Dr Pushpika Attanayake. This week’s discussion on utilizing the benefits of yoga to control skin diseases continues from the previous week. Beginners should consult a yoga specialist before practising yoga postures.
“This week’s postures, especially Jala Dhauti and Nauli, are important for purification of the body as well as the prevention of skin diseases. The improved blood circulation, combined with improved function of glands, contributes to unclogging of pores on the skin surface and making skin look younger and brighter,” says Dr Attanayake.
This posture increases the lymphatic and venous return which is beneficial for swollen legs and diseases of the veins. It also relaxes the abdominal and pelvic organs and improves blood supply to these areas.
1. Lie flat on your back and keep the legs straight. Breathe deeply and rhythmically.
2. Inhale slowly and lift the legs by bending the knees. Bring both the legs upwards to the chest, till your thigh touches to stomach.
3. Hug your knees on to your chest. Lock them into place by making a fist with left hand and putting both the hands around
the legs. Hold the left hand by the wrist, using the right hand.
3. Then try to touch theknee with your nose tip.
This is not easy in the beginning, but could be achieved with
4. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds. If you can,
extend up to a minute.
5. Then, exhale slowly and come back to the original
6. Practise three to five cycles each day.
Nauli is a yogic cleansing practice, which cleanses internal organs, balances energies and tones the abdomen. Nauli is a powerful technique which massages all the organs in the abdomen, stomach, liver, spleen, urinary bladder, pancreas, gall bladder and the intestines. Hence improves skin conditions.
This should also be practiced while the stomach is empty. Nauli must be learned in the presence of a qualified yoga instructor.
There are three basic practices in Nauli. When the muscle is isolated to the left it is called Vama Nauli and when it is isolated to the right it is called Dakshina Nauli. When both the left and right muscles are concentrated to the centre, it is called Madhya Nauli. Apart from these, rotation of the muscles is also practised.
1. Stand and spread the feet apart, a little less than hip width.
2. Then, bend your knees and hands and hold the thighs with your hands. Bend forward and put your body weight on your thighs.
3. Take a deep breath and breathe out with a hissing sound. Hold the breath.
4. Contract the belly inwards and upwards (towards the sternum). This is called Uddiyana Bandha.
5. Try to isolate the two middle abdominal muscles and force them towards the centre. Concentrate and position it in the centre, for at least a few seconds.
6. Now breathe in and release the muscles. Come back to standing position. Breathe naturally for few seconds and repeat three times.
This is called madya nauli and after mastering Madya Nauli, you can practise Vamana and Dakshina Nauli.
2. Inhaling, bend the knees and raise your legs and
buttocks. If you prefer, you can bring your hands under
the hips in order to support the buttocks. Elbows should remain on the floor.
3. Straighten the legs vertically upwards. Relax the muscles of the feet, legs and hips. Remain in this position for as long as you are comfortable.
4. Exhale and bend the knees towards the forehead. Then, slowly lower the buttocks and legs, and return to the start ing position.
According to Dr Attanayake, this technique helps cleansing the stomach and removing imbalanced phlegm or Kapha. It also improves digestion and balances agni or the digestion power. The other functions include removal of undigested food in the stomach. This in turn balances body metabolism and helps improving skin’s endurance.
This practice should be done in the early morning with an empty stomach. This can be practised once a week.
1. Mix salt into two liters of warm water. On average,
the temperature should be about 40 degrees. The water should be tear tasting.
2. Stay in a standing position and drink water rapidly, glass by glass.
3. When the stomach is full, bend forward and stimulate the throat with right, middle and index finger. Simultaneously, press the tongue down and press the lower abdomen with your left hand.
4.The entire quantity of water should project out from the mouth.
(Medical advice should be taken before practising this)