In her incredible online course, Understand and Heal Pain, Anne Novak teaches that to experience true healing, you must understand the vital role that pain serves in your personal evolution. You cannot free yourself from pain without seeing the direct connection between your thoughts, emotions, and physical body. Through this process of deep self-discovery, you can permanently change your experience of pain.
Part of the process is finding balance. In the course, she shares this incredible kriya for balancing your your prana and apana. In yogic terms prana is the incoming life force and apana is the outgoing or eliminating energies. It’s important to balance what you bring into your life with what you are eliminating from your life.
Nabhi Kriya For Prana Apana Balance
Source: KRI Level 1 Instructor Yoga Manual, pg 346
Nabhi refers to the nerve plexus around the Navel Point. This kriya balances prana and apana by focusing on the 3rd Chakra at the Navel Point, and then the Heart Center. It will help you build strength and stamina while toning your abdominal muscles. This is also a great kriya to practice to strengthen your digestive system, to alleviate mild depression, and for developing the healing flow of prana through your hands.
1. Life Nerve Stretch Variation: This exercise opens the lungs, balances the polarity of the aura, and stimulates the pituitary.
- Sit with your right leg straight out and your left foot on your right thigh.
- Grab the big toe of your right foot with the thumbs of both hands, pressing against the toenail. The first two fingers of both hands apply pressure against the soft part of the toe. Pull back on the big toe.
- Stretch your spine straight.
- Slightly draw the chin back and lengthen the neck.
- Breath of Fire for 1-2 minutes.
- Then inhale, change legs, and continue for 1-2 minutes more.
- To End: Inhale and relax.
2. Kicking buttocks: This exercise helps strengthen digestion.
- Lie on your back with your arms at your sides.
- Bring your knees into your chest and alternately kick the buttocks with your heels.
- Synchronize your breathing with the kicking – inhale as you raise the leg, exhale as the foot strikes the buttocks.
- Continue 1-3 minutes.
- To End: Inhale and relax.
3. Leg Push-pull: This exercise aids in digestion.
- Remaining on your back, raise both legs to a height of 18 inches.
- Inhale and draw your left knee to your chest.
- Exhale as you extend your left leg and simultaneously draw your right knee to the chest, keeping the lower legs parallel to the floor.
- Continue this push-pull motion with powerful breathing for 1-3 minutes.
- To End: Inhale and extend both legs out. Exhale and relax.
4. Front Platform: This exercise strengthens the lower back and stimulates the brain.
- Lie on your stomach.
- Place your hands under your shoulders and raise your body until the elbows are straight. Your body should form a straight line from head to toe. The weight of your body is supported by either the palms or the fingertips, and the tops of the feet.
- Breath of Fire for for 1-3 minutes.
- To End: Inhale and hold the breath briefly. Exhale. Inhale. Then exhale completely and hold the breath out briefly. Inhale and relax.
5. Stretch Pose: This exercise activates and balances the Third Chakra, sets the Navel Point and aids in digestion.
- Lie on your back, gently pushing the base of your spine into the ground.
- Bring your feet together and raise the heels 6 inches off the ground, pointing your toes.
- Raise your head and shoulders 6 inches off the ground and stare at your toes with your arms stretched out.
- In this position inhale hold briefly. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale completely and apply mulbandh. Inhale and relax.
6. Heart Center Stretch for Healing
6a. Spread your arms at 60 degree angle, parallel to the ground, as if to receive someone. Spread and tense your fingers. Take a few long deep breaths.
6b. Inhale and bring your fingers into tight fists. Slowly bring your fists to the center of your chest as if bringing in a great weight. When they reach the center of the chest, exhale forcefully. Repeat this 2 or 3 times.
6c. Spreading your arms at an angle of 60 degrees or more, tense your fingers and breathe long and deep for 1 minute.
6d. Slowly bring your hands towards each other, 4 inches apart in front of the chest with the palms facing each other, fingers pointing up. Staring at the space between the palms, feel the energy flow between your hands. Continue long deep breathing in this position for 1-2 minutes.
6e. Bring your palms together at the center of the chest. Meditate at the Brow Point for 1 minute.
6f. With your hands still in Prayer Pose, bend forward from the waist, bringing the forehead to the floor. Relax in this position for 1-2 minutes. This exercise brings mental and physical focus to the hands and opens the Heart Center.
7. Return to a cross-legged sitting position with a straight spine. Meditate.
8. Deeply relax in savasana.