Improve Digestion with Agnisar Kriya

agnisar kriya
Thanks to PranaYoga for the image.

Have you ever seen yogis bent forward slightly at the waist, pushing their abdominals out and sucking them back in? That’s Agnisar Kriya. It reminds me a lot of engaging Uddiyana bandha, except, unlike Uddiyana bandha, Agnisar Kriya is not meant to be incorporated into poses.

This rapid in and out movement of the abdominals generates heat, activates abdominal muscles, and stimulates digestion. Here’s more about this unique breathing practice.

Benefits of Agnisar Kriya

All breathing practices have the benefits of:

  • reduced insomnia,
  • clearer thinking,
  • reduced stress,
  • improved relaxation,
  • decrease in anxiety,
  • oxygenated blood,
  • reduced anger, and
  • lower blood pressure.

However, because of the unique nature of Agnisar Kriya, there are additional benefits. For example, when you practice this breathing technique, YogaInDailyLife.org says that you also:

  • stimulate the immune system,
  • increase the power of digestion,
  • help manage diabetes, and
  • increase body heat, which burns toxins.

Cautions

Because of the intensity of this breathing practice, please be sure to practice on an empty stomach. Also, avoid Agnisar Kriya is you are pregnant, menstruating, or have had an abdominal operation. Anyone with intestinal or pancreatic diseases should consult their doctors before practicing this.

Agnisar Kriya

  1. Stand with your feet hip distance apart.
  2. Inhale through the nose, and exhale through the mouth as you bend forward slightly from the waist, bend your knees, and place both hands on your thighs.
  3. Keep your back straight, your head up, and allow your abdominals to relax.
  4. Bring your belly button in toward your spine. Make sure that this muscular engagement comes from this area and not the chest. Don’t let your chest sink or your back round.
  5. Hold your breath for a moment, then snap your abdomen in and out 10-15 times while retaining your breath. Exhale before you become too uncomfortable.
  6. After you exhale, you have completed one round. Complete 3 rounds.
  7. Over time, you can increase the amount of repetitions. Remember your goal is to increase heat and build abdominal muscle strength, so be mindful of your actions and work appropriately.

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Do you have any other tips for practicing Agnisar Kriya? Please let us know in the comments below.

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Sarah Stockett is STOTT certified in Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels, Injuries & Special Populations, and CORE; a Yoga Alliance RYT-200; and has studied Active Isolated Stretching. When she is not trying to discover the best exercises to get rid of pain, she likes watching movies and travelling with her family.

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