the abdominal lift superimposed on agni sara
Agni sara pushes the abdominal organs from below, and uddiyana ban- ia lifts them from above. After mastering these two practices individu, |jr advanced students will benefit from combining them. Start in the stanc! d stance for agni sara and the abdominal lift, supporting the body with ie hands resting on the thighs. Exhale completely by pressing in the abdon al muscles in a wave from the pubis to the rib cage. As soon as you h ve exhaled to the maximum, lower the chin to the top of the sternum, i se the glottis, and do an abdominal lift. Relax the abdomen and diaphi m completely, and form as deep a concavity below your rib cage as you in manage. The moment you reach your limit of lifting, start lowering. rl >n as soon as you start the dropping action, initiate a gradual mass contra- in of the abdominal musclcs.
During the lowering phase you must develop just as much abdon ial contraction as you felt before you initiated the lift. This is diflicui to accomplish smoothly. The abdominal organs are like a baton that is b> ng passed. The abdominal muscles press them toward the chest, which r ?n grabs and lifts them as high as possible with the external intercostal mu> ,'S.
In preparation for the releasing phase, the external intercostals lowei he abdominal organs eccentrically back to the point at which the abdorr ial muscles retrieve them gracefully. As soon as the abdominal muscles id internal intercostal musclcs team up and re-compress the chest, w h equalizes the pressure on both sides of the glottis, you can open it knc ng that air will not rush into the lungs. This is important. If you don't q ite equalize the pressure you will hear a slight click in your throat as the gi tis opens. Finally, after opening the airway, release the chin lock and he abdominal muscles as though you were coming out of agni sara, first ist below the rib cage, then in the middle of the abdomen, and last in the 1 er abdomen and perineum. The whole exercise should be done noiselessly nd with infinite smoothness, so much so that an observer who is not fam ar with the practice will not realize that you are doing an abdominal li or restraining inhalation.
A practice of 2-3 cycles per minute is reasonable for those who ar in good condition. For example, if you are doing a complete cycle i 3°
seconds, or 2 breaths per minute, you can take about 15 seconds or exhalation, 5 seconds for the abdominal lift, and 10 seconds for inhalat >n.
You should develop a rhythm that you can maintain without obvious eff rt;
otherwise you are trying to do too much. You can do about 10 cycles per iy for the first week, and increase by 10 each week as long as you re comfortable.
i ABIKMINOPEIVK EXERCISES 201
unnlvana bandha with other postures
[f you are well-practiced in both uddiyana bandha and hatha yoga postures, you can combine the two to create a more aggressive practice. As with agni sara, when you are bending forward you will feel the effects as well as notice the movements externally, and when you are bending backward or twisting, you will feel the effects without seeing them. As in the case of combining agni sara with postures, this is not a practice for beginners, because the vacuum developed in the chest and abdomen completely nullifies the intra-abdominal pressure we depend on to protect the back in stressful positions. You should be confident in both the abdominal lift and your hatha yoga postures before trying it.
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