Below is a short introductory standing kriyā routine. This practice is a hybrid krama (sequence) of three of the main śatkarma. They can be practised daily and take about 20 minutes to complete. This krama is a great way to experience the power of kriyās - stimulating the respiratory system, boosting vital energy and heightening physical and mental well being.
Please note: this practice is intended for those with some prior knowledge and practical familiarity with certain yoga techniques such as ujjāyī prāṇāyāma & bandha.
1) Stand with the feet hip distance apart and the hands on the hips. Soften the knees, relax the shoulders and broaden the chest.
2) Take a deep breath in
3) Start to dynamically pump the breath with emphasis on exhalation. The upper abdomen expands on inhalation and contracts on exhalation. The chest and shoulders remain motionless. The nose may be slightly ‘scrunched up’ to facilitate the clearing of excess mucus in the nasal passages. Breath in this way for about 10 to 20 breaths.
4) Right hand in Viṣṇu mudrā, as you inhale bring the hand up to the face and close the right nostril with the thumb and start to blast out with the left nostril 10 - 20 times, pumping from the upper abdomen.
5) Repeat 4) but close the left nostril with the ring finger and blast out through the right.
6) Alternate pumping breaths through each nostril: start with a deep inhale through both nostrils; close the ring finger over the left nostril and then blast out right; inhale right, close nostril with thumb and then blast left; in left, blast right and so on - alternating the breath. Continue & get into a steady rhythm - then gradually speed up to max speed over the course of a minute and then slow back down again. Finish on an inhale through the left: close and hold for a few seconds before breathing normally again.
1) With Ujjāyī breaths, pump out both nostrils 10 - 20 times (upper abdomen pumping).
2) On final pumping breath, long exhale. Reach up with both arms as you take a deep breath in.
3) Take the tongue out towards the chin and the eye gaze towards the centre of the forehead - siṃhāsana, the lion.
4) Long powerful exhale through the mouth whilst coming into a relaxed forward bend (with the knees slightly bent).
5) Make sure the lungs are completely empty - hold the breath out for a while before relaxing and coming up.
6) Repeat previous stages from 1 to 5 but this time once the lungs are completely empty, come up to about a 45 degree angle with the hands resting just above the (slightly bent) knees. This is sometimes called uḍḍīyāna āsana.
7) Engage uḍḍīyāna bandha by drawing the abdomen in and upwards - hold for as long as is comfy. (Breath is still held out)
8) Relax the bandha before inhaling to come up slowly.
1) Repeat the previous exercise with pumping breaths & siṃhāsana: this time at the end of the long lion breath, out come into uḍḍīyāna āsana again - apply a partial uḍḍīyāna bandha and then start to pump the abdomen backwards and forwards dynamically. Do as many pumps as is comfortable: relax the abdomen before coming back up.
2) Repeat stage one: see how many pumps you can manage in each round. Most people can do between 5 - 20 at first. With practice this will build up to around 50. The Gheraṇḍa Saṃhitā recommends approximately 100 pumps per practice. This could be done over several rounds and may take some time to accomplish.
(Recommended once agnisāra has been practised regularly for some time.)
1) Repeat the previous exercise as far as uḍḍīyāna āsana. This time draw the upper abdomen in as in uḍḍīyāna bandha. Keeping the air out of the lungs, push the abdomen forwards and at the same time start to gently press the left hand on the inside of the left thigh... as you do this the left side of the abdomen will be drawn towards the leg.
2) Shift the weight across to the right hand : as you do this the rectus abdomini will shift the right side.
3) Keep this going pressing left and then right leg. With a little practice the rectus abdomini will begin to ripple from side to side in a wave like motion.
4) With practice you will be able to do 10 times, (with the breath held out) relax before coming back up to standing.
5) Once you have mastered left to right then apply the same practice right to left.
(An optional practice to complete the sequence.)
1) Repeat the previous exercises as far as uḍḍīyāna āsana. (If you wish to work more strongly then during the initial pumping breaths perform Bhāstrīka - the bellows breath instead of Kapālabhāti. So inhale is active as well as exhale. Lungs & chest are expanded and contracted like a set of bellows).
2) Once you get to uḍḍīyāna āsana, apply uḍḍīyāna bandha - and then engage mūlha bandha and jālaṇdhara bandha at the same time - so that all three locks are engaged. This is called māha bandha - the great lock. Hold for some time - take care not to over hold. Relax the bandhas before coming back up to standing.
The above practice is a short-form sequence, inspired by Dr Pillai's teachings, that has been developed by Duncan Hulin. It is a highly effective practice in its own right that is also a great introduction to Dr. Pillai's method.
Dr Pillai's full seated kriyā practice take between 45 - 90s mins to complete and is best learnt directly with an experienced teacher with an established practice of the method. Please contact Yoga Kriyas for more info: contact Yoga Kriyas.Note: The techniques outlined above are best learnt under the guidance of a skilled teacher who has experience of working with this system. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, please consult with a medical professional before undertaking yogic exercises. The exercises on this website are in no way recommended as a substitute for medical treatment. Yoga Kriyas do no accept liability for any injuries sustained whilst participating in these exercises.