Nabhi kriya, with its endless leg lifts, is, and always will be, very dear to my heart. It might be disgustingly tough, but it was the first really tough 40-day commitment I took on, and it has absolutely changed my life… I even feel its benefits eight or so years on.
A 40-day nabhi kriya practice is on the syllabus for many a level one kundalini yoga teacher training because it builds our navel strength like no other, giving us the determination, commitment and pure grit to get us through ANY challenge that life throws at us. Starting out as a kundalini yoga teacher, with all its first time jitters etc? No problem. The navel strength that you generate in those 40 days will keep you going for that first class and way beyond.
So, lets talk about the disgustingly tough bit and what that might mean for you…
Anger. No, rage. No, absolute hell-fire FURY!
Many of us hold anger in our navel, and nabhi kriya has the capacity to ignite all those latent moody embers and make us very irritable in our daily life. All the 40-day-nabhi troopers I know (myself included) fell prey to the nabhi-kriya-anger syndrome. Prepare to feel pretty bloody grumpy for at least a portion of your 40-day nabhi kriya practice. Despair not, and rather than getting exasperated by it and feeling like a ‘bad person’, enjoy and bask in the fury! Allow it, for God’s sake. This is powerful juju that you’re stirring up in your mind-body system – anger is a mega driver for action. And this peevish phase won’t last forever.
A friend who recently completed her 40 days of nabhi kriya found she was suffering badly from exhaustion. And as the 40 days went on, it increased into an utterly debilitating sense of defeat. She was crawling, fatigued and yawning, towards the 40-day finish line. We looked into it and discovered that it was because she was scrimping on her full 10-15-minute savasana, sometimes taking only five minutes… hey, nabhi kriya is a long kriya, and, let’s face it, we got bills to pay and a job to get to in the morning, so it’s not surprising that our savasana is the first to be hit. Thing is, nabhi kriya generates such immense energy in our body that we NEED to assimilate it and integrate it properly. It’s essential that you take your full savasana after nabhi kriya – no scrimping on this one, even if you need to wake up 15 minutes earlier.
Nabhi kriya is too long
Which brings us to our next point. Nabhi kriya is looooooong! So use your favourite music, use mantra (inhale Sat, exhale Nam), use your mental focus by pinning your focus to your third eye point, use a strong, powerful breath and GET THROUGH IT. If time is super-short, rather than miss a day, decrease your times by a half or a third. But go back to the full version as soon as you can. We got these timings for a reason and you will feel way more energised if you do the full whack. Of course, it will take you a while to build up to the full times, especially with the double leg lifts (see more advice here), but once you got it, don’t slack off.
We become emotionally hardened
All this work on the navel and we become extremely resilient, which can translate as tough and grisly. If you notice yourself feeling like some kind of Hulk Hogan steroid machine with a massive hole where your empathy and compassion used to be, balance out your navel with a heart-centred meditation after your nabhi kriya practice. This will soften the shakti (power) of the navel with the bhakti (devotion) of the heart centre. I love this heart of gratitude meditation.
The main thing to remember with nabhi kriya is, it will change your life and all of these challenges are so worth it! So keep going, love, taking it one day at a time.
If you’ve come across any challenges with nabhi kriya that I haven’t mentioned here, please do let me know by emailing me on firstname.lastname@example.org so I can add it to the list. It helps us all. Thank you!
Sat nam x