Usefulness of practice

Under normal circumstances burping brings a wonderful and immediate sense of relief. It is a normal response which none of us can avoid, for we all tend to swallow air while we eat. This is trapped in each mouthful of food and accumulates in the stomach. The amount of air swallowed, of course, varies greatly with eating habits, but it may be as high as half a litre. A little of this passes into the intestinal tract but most of it is expelled by means of the simple expedient of burping.

Vatsara dhauti utilizes the same basic process, but instead of inducing air into the stomach by eating food, it is induced by voluntary effort. In other words, air is sucked into the stomach while inhaling. To many people, especially children, this technique will come almost naturally. In fact, they will have already practised it for the fun of hearing the resulting noise on expulsion, without realizing that they are performing an ancient practice of yoga.

The main reason for doing the practice is to clean the stomach of stale, foul smelling gases. Furthermore, many processes of digestion work far better when there is a liberal supply of oxygen in the stomach. The oxygen seems to encourage the best possible digestion of food. In this way, aeration of the stomach aids digestion and eliminates waste gas.

VATSARA DHAUTI

Sit in any comfortable position.

The aim is to direct the inhaled air into the stomach instead of the lungs.

Open your mouth.

If you wish you can purse your lips together like a crow's beak as given in the Gherand

Samhita, but this is not essential.

Try to suck air into the mouth.

To do this you must try to create a vacuum in the stomach.

This is not difficult, but may require a little practice. It can either be done in one sucking action, or in a series of gulps. Choose whatever method is easiest. Fill the stomach as much as possible. Then completely relax.

Don't try to expel the air; it will automatically come out in its own time.

This is vatsara dhauti, secret of all the ages.

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Easing Your Stress With Yoga

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