Abdominal massage for 6 pack abs

Abdominal massage practice

Abdominal massage (Nauli), as the phrase states, is a yogic technique of massaging the entire abdomen and stomach by contracting and rolling the abdominal muscles.

In nauli we utilize various muscles in the abdomen, back, legs, arms, etc. However, the practice is primarily concerned with contraction of the two long vertical muscles located in front of the abdomen known as rectus abdominii muscles. The top ends are fixed under the center of the ribcage near the diaphragm and the bottom ends are fixed at the pubic bone just above the genital region. The two muscles are wider at the top than the bottom.

The rectus abdominii function in conjunction with other abdominal muscles. The main ones  are called the external and internal obliques and the transverse abdominii. These muscles, together with the rectus abdominii, are arranged in sheets in such a way as to give maximum strength and control. They protect the inner abdominal organs. When they are insufficient then hernia can result. These muscles also contract and massage the internal organs and aid one another in the process of micturition (passing of urine), defecation, vomiting and also childbirth in women. It is these muscles that are directly manipulated during the practice of nauli.

Abdominal massage is a very beneficial technique for the health of the digestive system. It gives a profound massage of the inner organs. It is quite difficult for beginners to practise nauli, but with determination and regular practice, anyone can master it.


Before attempting nauli you should master the practices of agnisar kriya (breathing techniques) and uddiyana bandha (abdominal lock). Without mastering these two preparatory techniques you will find nauli difficult, if not impossible.

Technique for Agnisar kriya

Abdominal massage

  • Sit in vajrasana and keep the hands on the knees in a comfortable position. Close the eyes slightly and concentrate on the mind with normal breathing.
  • While slightly bending forward and bending the knees, inhale deeply through the nose and exhale fully through the mouth.
  • Place both hands on the thighs. The back must be straight and the head upright. Allow the abdominal muscles to relax, draw the navel inwards and upwards back to the spine.
  • Avoid the common mistake of pulling in from below the sternum and don’t allow the chest to sink or the back to round.
  • Hold for a moment, then begin to snap the abdomen backwards and forwards 10-15 times holding the breath.
  • Breathe out before it becomes too uncomfortable.

This is one round. Complete 3 rounds.

You must practise on an empty stomach.

Body position for abdominal massage (nauli)

  • Stand with the feet 45-60 centimeters apart.
  • Bend the knees slightly.
  • Lean forward.
  • Place the hands firmly on the thighs just above the knees.
  • The fingers can point inwards or outwards. Choose the position that is most comfortable for you and which gives the greatest contraction of the abdominal muscles during the massage.
  • The arms should be straight throughout the whole practice.
  • Bend the head forwards and gaze at the abdomen.

Summary of full practice

In order to master abdominal massage (nauli) to perfection, time and practice are required. Also, the practitioner must persevere.  Then you will be able to develop control over the abdominal muscles. For this reason we have divided nauli into two stages, as follows.

Stage 1: Abdominal contraction

In this preliminary stage you must master the following:

  • Madhyama nauli: We must contract both the rectus abdominii muscles centrally.
  • Vama nauli: We must contract only the left rectus abdominus muscle.
  • Dakshina nauli: We must contract only the right rectus abdominus muscle.

You need to implement these 3 practices separately, one after the other. After that, you must proceed to stage 2.

Madhyama nauli (Central abdominal contraction)

Abdominal massage

  • Take the correct standing position.
  • Exhale deeply, emptying the lungs as much as possible.
  • To obtain the fullest exhalation you should contract the abdominal muscles by doing uddiyana bandha.
  • Look at the abdomen. Hold the breath.
  • Try to contract the rectus abdominii muscles so that they form a central arch, running vertically in front of the abdomen.
  • Hold the contraction for as long as you are able to comfortably retain the breath.
  • Try to contract the muscles as much as possible, but don’t strain.
  • Then relax the muscular contraction so that you return to uddiyana bandha.
  • Breathe in slowly and let the abdomen expand.
  • Relax your whole body.

This is 1 round.

Breathe normally a number of times, allowing the heart rate to return to normal. Then repeat the practice.

Do not proceed with vama nauli till you have mastered madhyama. This may take a number of weeks, or even months.

Vama nauli (Left isolation)

Abdominal massage

  • Take the correct standing position.
  • Do madhyama nauli as described previously.
  • Then try to relax the muscles on the right side of the abdomen, especially the right rectus abdominus muscle.
  • Maintain contraction of the left side muscles. This will pull the rectus abdominii muscles to the left hand side.
  • To make this practise easier, press your straight left arm firmly against the thigh while reducing the pressure of the right arm on the other thigh.
  • Lean slightly forward and toward the left side of the body.
  • Contract the muscles to the left side as strongly as you can without straining.
  • Then return to madhyama nauli.
  • Relax the muscles and do uddiyana bandha.
  • Breathe in and let the abdomen expand.

This is 1 round.

Breathe normally a number of times until the pulse returns to normal.

Dakshina nauli (Right isolation)

Abdominal massage

  • Take the correct standing position.
  • Do madhyama nauli.
  • Then try to relax the muscles on the left side of the abdomen, especially the left rectus abdominus muscle.
  • Contract the right abdominal muscles.
  • The rectus abdominii muscles will form an arch or a ridge on the right hand side of the abdomen.
  • To make this practice easier, lean slightly forward and to the right side of the body. Press the right arm firmly on the right thigh while releasing the pressure of the left arm on the left thigh.
  • Hold the contraction as tightly as possible while retaining the breath but do not strain.
  • Then return to madhyama nauli.
  • Relax the muscles and do uddiyana bandha.
  • Inhale slowly.
  • Breathe normally a number of times.
  • Let the heartbeat return to normal.
  • Repeat vama and dakshina nauli a number of times according to available time and energy.

Stage 2: Abdominal rotation

This second stage is the full form of nauli (abdominal massage). It consists of two parts:

  • Rolling movement of the abdominal muscles from left to right.
  • Rolling movement of the abdominal muscles from right to left.

For a beginner, this practice will be difficult. The rolling or churning movement has to be seen to be believed. But as you are well aware, anything can be mastered with due practise and perserverance.

Technique for abdominal rotation

  • Stand in the correct position. Relax the whole body and breathe out deeply.
  • Accentuate the exhalation by contracting the abdominal muscles into uddiyana bandha. Hold the breath.
  • Do madhyama nauli. Then do vama nauli (contraction on left side) followed by uddiyana bandha, dakshina nauli (contraction on the right side) and finally madhyama nauli.
  • This is 1 complete rotation of the abdominal muscles.
  • The whole movement should be smooth and rhythmical. Do more rolling movements or rotations. Thus, do as many rotations as you can with one breath retention But do not strain.
  • Stop the churning movement.
  • Relax the abdominal muscles.
  • Breathe in. This is the end of 1 round.
  • Wait for a short time while allowing the heartbeat to return to normal.
  • Then again breathe out and do uddiyana bandha.
  • Hold your breath.
  • Rotate the abdominal muscles in the opposite direction. That is, madhyama, dakshina, uddiyanya, vama and finally madhyama again.
  • Do more rapid rotations, while retaining the breath.
  • Then release the contraction of the muscles and slowly breathe in.
  • This is the end of the second round.
  • Do some more rounds if you have the energy, rotating the muscles first  anticlockwise and then clockwise.
  • Do not strain.

Benefits of abdominal massage

Abdominal massage (nauli) is very useful for alleviating constipation, indigestion, nervous diarrhea, acidity, flatulence, depression, hormonal imbalances, sexual and urinary disorders, laziness, dullness, lack of energy and emotional disturbances. Through its practice one can control one’s appetite and sensual desires and strengthen his willpower. However, if you succeed in controlling your desires, then you will definitely find deeper satisfaction within.

However, be aware that not everybody can master abdominal massage (nauli). If you are suffering from heart disease, hypertension, hernia, gastric or duodenal ulcers, or are recovering from some internal injury or abdominal surgery, you will unfortunately not be able to do it.

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