Stomach Vaccum is a weird and wonderful yogic cleansing technique but it can be confusing for beginners to get their heads around. Believe it or not, this is one of my most requested blog posts!
In this post, I’m going to break it down into an easy, step-by-step guide so that beginners can slowly start to incorporate it into their practice.
Did you know that many yoga teachers regard it as one of the most important parts of a yogi’s practice?
In fact, a regular Stomach Vacuum Practice has so many benefits that the ancient yogis said it is “like the goddess of all creation and causes all happiness”. That’s quite the claim, isn’t it?! Doesn’t that intrigue you to find out more about the benefits of this technique?
It is a powerful cleansing technique that helps us to purify our body on a deep cellular level initiating the anti-ageing process of oxygenation and rejuvenation.
The idea is, our modern lifestyles expose our bodies to a fair amount of toxins. If we want to avoid obstacles in your life caused by such impurities (i.e. dis-ease) then we should practise certain breathing techniques to remove them. On a subtle level, different breathing techniques increase the flow of prana(life energy) to our vital organs. When practising regularly, they are able to remove the root cause of any disease and to purify your body inside out.
The Benefits of The Stomach Vaccum:
1) Strengthens and tones the abdominal muscles
If you need some effective technique on how to bring your abs back to a perfect bikini look, this is for you. It works on all abdominal muscles (inner abs, outer abs and side muscles). It also helps to shape a perfect waistline removing the unneeded far from this area.
2) Regulates and stimulates digestion
Once you start practising it regularly, you can say goodbye to constipation and indigestion! Abdominal massage techniques have become quite popular in the past couple of years for this purpose (they are even prescribed by the NHS) and Stomach Vaccum is essentially just an internalised form of an abdominal massage.
3) Purifies the liver
We hardly ever think about the health of our liver, but the yogis recognise a need in our modern, polluted world, to keep the liver in perfect shape. We normally call it “detoxification”, when we stimulate the blood flow to our liver and therefore improve its function.
4) Improves the functioning of the reproductive system
Fertility massages have been used for centuries to help women conceive by stimulating blood flow to the reproductive organs. The Stomach Vaccum, when practised consistently, stimulates blood flow to the reproductive organs. However, you must stop your practice completely when you are ready to conceive.
Is it safe for me to practise the Stomach Vacuum?
It is not advised for the following conditions:
- When you are trying to conceive
- Post-partum (up to 6 weeks after giving birth)
- During symptoms of constipation, diarrhoea, heartburn/reflux
If you’re unsure, please consult an experienced yoga teacher as well as your medical doctor before attempting it. You can contact me for a private lesson if you’d like more guidance.
When should I practise stomach vacuum?
Stomach Vaccum should always be practised on an empty stomach so it’s easiest if you do it first thing in the morning, preferably during your yoga practise or in a bathroom in front of the mirror! No food or drink before practising or it’ll make you feel queasy.
When I wake up, I practice the stomach vacuum before my meditation & asana practice on a mat. After that, I drink water with lemon and a cup of celery juice, which amplifies the effect of cleansing. In 20 min — 1 hour, your body will be ready to have breakfast. It’s important to be conscious of your hunger. One of the rules of Ayurveda, a holistic medicine system which is also called “The Science of Life”, is to eat when you feel starving. Listen to your stomach instead of your mind and try to avoid any unconscious habits. Health means when both your mind and your body function in synchronicity.
Stomach Vaccum: A Step By Step Guide For Beginners
Here you go my friends, this is a step-by-step guide to finally mastering the stomach vacuum and receiving all the benefits of it! Any questions, just let me know in the comments and I’ll be happy to help.
In order to master the Stomach Vaccum, you have to learn how to relax the abdominal muscles completely and create a vacuum in the abdomen as you hold your breath out.
Let me break it down for you into smaller steps:
- First, standing up straight take a deep breath in and then exhale all of the air out of your lungs. And I mean ALL OF IT, even when you think you’ve reached the end of the exhalation, use your abs to push more air out. As you exhale, bend your knees and place your hands down on your thighs. Don’t inhale, the next few actions are performed whilst holding your breath out.
- Now, you need to FULLY RELAX YOUR BELLY. The next step won’t work unless you release your abdominal muscles completely.
- Make a swallowing action with your throat and when you feel the throat muscles tighten, hold it, aka close off your throat.
- Next follows “fake inhalation”. With your mouth closed and your throat muscles still contracted, imagine you are taking a big gasp of air in with your lungs. Because no air is actually being taken in (your throat is closed off), the pressure created by your diaphragm trying to draw air into the lungs causes your abdominal contents to be sucked in and upwards. This is what creates that hollow cave in the lower abdomen. It feels like the contents of your abdomen are being gently tugged upwards by suction.
- Hold it here as long as you feel comfortable (but no longer than 10 seconds at first), before releasing the suction and then slowly inhaling and standing back up. Take some slow, deep breaths.
- So now you’ve mastered to hold your abdominal vacuum on the exhale, it’s time to move forward. We’re going to create a wave-like, vertical flapping motion in the abdominals by repeatedly engaging and releasing the Vaccum. This movement helps you to activist your AGNI, inner fire and to boost digestion and all associated benefits.
This is roughly what it looks like:
It took me a few weeks of trying this to grasp the technique, but trust me — it will come! Keep practising this technique with a few rounds each morning until you feel really comfortable.
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika (page 76) says “When practising uddiyana bandha (stomach vacuum), one should have a feeling of inward pressure at the throat”. This helped me to know when I was getting the right sensation.
Do you still have any questions? Don’t be shy — drop me a comment below. I love to hear from you!
Lots of love,