Spinal Movement Sequence (Part 27): Controlling Blood Flow with your Trunk Muscles

This video is Part 27 of a YogaSynergy Spinal Movements Sequence taught by physiotherapist and Director of Yoga Synergy, Simon Borg-Olivier, which he teaches in person in courses throughout the world as well as Online in courses at RMIT University and Online in courses at YogaSynergy called Yoga Fundamentals and Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga.

Simon Borg-Olivier in Urdhva Padma Sirsasana with Nauli Kriya

Simon Borg-Olivier in Urdhva Padma Sirsasana with Nauli Kriya

In this part, Simon Borg-Olivier explains how to use the abdominal and chest muscles to control blood flow through the body. Also he shows exactly how to do the abdominal rolling exercise (naulli kriya ) and how this can work to not only enhance circulation without needing to increase heart beat. He also explains how this enables the possibility of being able to do colonic irrigations without external assistance (basti kriya) (“You can save a fortune in colonic irrigations!”).

Edited Video Transcript with Notes:

“Learning how to control the muscles of inhalation and exhalation makes a tremendous impact on moving energy and information through your spine. Blood flow becomes extremely enhanced without the heart having to work, so on a cardio-pulmonary level you are affecting the flow of blood through the body. So, you can make the abdomen firm either by using the muscles of exhalation or the postural muscles such as the rectus abdominis which can be firmed either by pushing both hips forward or ultimately by pushing the right hip forward or the left hip forward. So when I do the rolling exercise that I demonstrated called nauli, this exercise [Demonstration] is actually four types of movements and four types of muscular contraction.

It begins first by pushing only the right hip forward which tightens the right rectus abdominis. Then I push both hips forward which tightens both rectus abdominis’, then I push the left hip forward which tightens the left rectus abdominis, then I use my muscles of abdominal exhalation and constrict everything. This has a tremendous impact on blood flow and also on the spine. As I tighten the right side, that pushes the blood to the left. When I tighten both sides of the front muscles it pushes blood out to the sides. When I tighten the left side it pushes blood to the right and when I tighten the whole lot as if I’m exhaling it pushes the blood up and down away from the centre.

So blood flow is tremendously increased. When I first begin the exercise and just expand the chest by keeping the abdomen relaxed that will pull the blood up to the chest.You can know that because if you take your pulse while taking a thoracic in-breath the chest-expansion will cause blood flow to increase while breathing in, and the pulse is seen to increase while you are breathing in because more blood is being pulled up to the heart. But when you breathe out from your chest less blood comes to the heart so the heart beat slows down. The exercise which constricts the abdomen using the muscles of exhalation will push the blood away from this region but the exercise which pushes the rectus abdominis out pulls blood to the region. So, Indian Yogi’s are known that they can actually sit in a bucket of water and control their anal sphincters and these muscles of expansion in front and back.

This movement, which tightens the rectus abdominis, the main spinal flexor, and the action of the hands on my thighs tightens my spinal extensors, so back and front muscles are simultaneously tensed. This type of co-activation causes expansion and that expansion pulls blood and energy towards this region. So if you were able to sit in a bucket of water and open the anal sphincter you can actually suck water into the rectum, into the colon, and save a fortune on colonic irrigations!!!. So, let me demonstrate again.”

You can see a demonstration of the the entire sequence by clicking here

You can see Part 26 of the instructional videos of the sequence by clicking here

If you want to learn more from YogaSynergy and its Directors Simon Borg-Olivier MScBAppSc(Physiotherapy) and Bianca Machliss BScBAppSc(Physiotherapy) you can enrol in one of the comprehensive and award winning Online courses at YogaSynergy called Yoga Fundamentals (a very practical course for anyone with an interest in yoga, exercise or health) and Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga (a more technical course for teachers, therapists and experienced students). You can also do the more advanced version of these courses online at RMIT University as part of a Masters of Wellness Degree or as part of most bachelor degrees from participating Universities throughout the world.

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Comments 3

  1. Dear Mr. Simon,

    I have some questions about nauli kriya exercise:
    how often and for how long should I perform nauli kriya each time.

    I also do breath holding exercises as presented in your DVD’s (ether, air). How long should I hold the breath after inhalation and later after exhalation. Are there any “recommended” time proportions , ratio for the time to hold the breath?

    In my pranayama practice I combine those two exercises. Are they sufficient breathing exercises in their own form?
    If that so : shall I stopped other pranayam techniques like kapalabhati, nadi sodhana, bastrika and others or perform exercises presented by you as preparation for them ?.

    I have recently purchased your r 3 parts of the “five elements” series : fire, water, earth. Each time I practice, I discover something new. Thank you for that :).
    Before I “practiced with” air and ether DVDs . I really like “Beginner Instructed Ether ( and air) DVDs. They really help those who don’t have a chance to practice with you personally. I took me two years to “digest and absorb” the knowledge presented there :). But not because they are not clear, but because I needed to really feel the effects of your teaching style.
    I am a physiotherapist and although I have been practicing for many years I’ve been always skeptical to some yoga techniques. Thanks to yours and others scientist I have less doubts.

    Thank you very much for very professional explanations about how yoga exercises actually work and for sharing your knowledge on the facebook and your blog.

    Best regards
    Piotr Druzgala

  2. Post

    Hi Piotr
    ‘how long is a piece of string’ – is the real answer i think – performa as many good ones as you can do without discomfort – however…
    Theos Bernard in ‘Hatha Yoga’ says that you should perform 1500 Nauli kriya rotations each day
    it sounded a lot to me then i realised i can easily do 50 nauli rolls each breath (25 X each side and do that for 10 breaths is 500 nauli oriya – if you simply do this 3 times each day then you are easily up to 1500 each day.

    but even to do a short breath retention after exhalation and with a relaxed abdomen that will help you too

  3. Pingback: Breathing tips | Wayward Yogi

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