November 20, 2014

3 Weird but Effective Yogic Morning Rituals.

oil pulling

If you take a peek into a yogi’s life, you might find something interesting, unusual or downright weird.

For centuries, yogis have researched, experimented and integrated different techniques to cleanse their bodies. The cleansing process is to rid the body of toxins—consequentially, a less agitated body will lead to a more tranquil mind.

Mornings are the golden timeframe in a day of a yogi’s life. Waking up at the crack of dawn, a yogi cleanses the physical body and gets ready for his/her Sadhana (spiritual practice).

Well—the cleansing is a little bit more than a shower.

Three 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 “dro”‘ the Rectus Abdomini forward followed by undulation of the belly.

If this doesn’t make sense to you, see the picture below.

internal organ massage

You don’t always have to make a funny face. However, it might be like putting mascara on, where the lips naturally part. You may not be able to control your Nauli Kriya face.

There are many benefits doing this particular cleansing technique:

First, it initiates movement in the gastrointestinal tract, thus promoting bowel movements. (Good for the infrequent goers). Secondly, it tightens up the mid section, increases muscle 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

This stems from Ayurveda.

Oil Pulling is an ancient toxin removal technique from Mother India.

Typically use cold pressed sesame oil or coconut oil.

Oil pulling is best upon waking 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.

For tongue scraping I use a chinese/Thai silver spoon and scrape the thin layer of overnight built up off 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 some of your organs are malfunctioning or you might have a systematic problem (like Candida).

Oil Pulling is great for everyone of any age. 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 five minutes for two rounds total.

oil pulling

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 commonly known in the Western world.

Even Walmart carries neti pots.

To use a neti pot pour salty lukewarm water into one nostril 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 have never tried the urine method). I’m not judging, okay?

Just remember, if you’re going to do the urine method, only use the midstream of your morning urine and ideally not after a night out drinking.


Here is the timetable I use for my three yogic morning practices. 

4:30am: Wake up
4:30-5:00am: Scrape tongue & oil pulling
5:00am: Nauli Kriya (Naw-Li-Kree-Yaa)
5:15am: Meditation
6-7:30am: Yoga Practice (Asana)
7:30am: The rest of your family wakes up and you go on being a normal person



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Author: Annie Au

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: courtesy of the author

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