Inhale….exhale….turn your stomach into an alien face…I’m sorry what?
Yes, the latest trend on social media going around is known as Alien Yoga, because there is a bit of an abnormal vibe to it. If you have not seen it pop up somewhere on your timeline, then you are clearly not keeping up, but the D*Scribe team is here to keep you all updated!
If you’ve never seen it be done, click that video below and brace yourself because it is definitely not for the light hearted!
Known by social media as ‘Alien Yoga’ because the stomach forms the shape of an alien face, this ancient yoga technique is actually known as Nauli Yoga.
I had the chance of getting in contact with yoga expert, Jason Levitt, from Nauli.org, which is a non-profit web site dedicated to the art of nauli, and has all the resources for practitioners learning the nauli technique.
According to Levitt and the team, this technique has been around a lot longer than we thought, despite it rising on social media out of the blue, it has actually been in practice for over 500 years! It is even a part of the Hartha Yoga Pradipika, which is basically like the holy book of yoga postures, breathing control, body power and purification.
When asked why the trend sparked up so suddenly, Mr Levitt said:
“Who knows? But everyone is looking for something fun to gawk at, so it may be more a function of sites looking for clickbait rather than a new trend.”
Mr Levitt added: “It’s been suggested that when yogis, living around the area we now call India, would retreat to meditate in the wilderness, they needed a way to self-medicate in case of disease or injury. So one could look at nauli as a self-medication tool.”
Surprisingly, this is actually a cleansing method to improve bowel movements and is a “natural way to manage your internal organs and relax the body”, according to the experts at nauli.org.
“The physical appearance of nauli is both comical and mysterious, but inside the practitioner’s body, one can feel powerful energy at work. It is a powerful therapeutic exercise”, Mr Levitt said.
I guess we need to all jump on the Nauli Yoga wagon, but before you attempt anything at home, Mr Levitt warns that you can harm yourself if you do not perform the technique correctly, especially if you have a full stomach (for obvious reasons).
Perhaps starting with more beginner-friendly yoga might be a better way forward for students looking for calming exercise.
Ratika Palat, 28, graduated from radiography science at Monash University not too long ago and has been a yoga enthusiast since the age of 19.
She discovered her curiosity for yoga at a young age when she saw her mother practicing around the house.
“I remember she had a yoga book, and there was a photo of a lady sticking her tongue out like a lion…that image captured my imagination and my mind as well as my interest”, said Ms Palat.
It was not until she was 19 that she decided to attend a yoga class at her local gym and found that it complimented her basketball training.
“I decided to play basketball at the time, and I found yoga surprisingly complimented my basketball because it made my body stretch out.”
A recent study this year that was conducted by Headspace and the National Union of Students, showed that 83.2% of Australian tertiary students aged between 17 and 25 were ‘feeling stressed’, 79% ‘felt anxious’ and 75.8% were in a ‘low mood’.
“I was a stress-pot! I used to stress a lot, and yoga helped me de-stress.” Ms Palat became more involved in yoga when she chose to take a holiday at a yoga retreat in Thailand, where she learnt ‘mindfulness’.
“I was in a state of healing, but l let myself go during that experience and I rid myself of any expectations that I had of this journey”.
University stress, school stress, work stress, family stress as well as many other factors in our daily lives can affect our health and well-being. It is true that different people cope with stress in various ways, however, Connie Mah, the founder of YogaFun (children’s yoga), turned her career around when she left her “very stressful corporate career” and began teaching yoga.
Ms Mah currently teaches yoga to kids as young as 12 months to secondary school kids, as she has noticed how important yoga is to helping each age group overcome different challenges in their lives.
“Being a final year uni students they will have different challenges in their life, likewise with toddlers they will have different challenges, meaning we need to customise the program to engage the child and help them at their developmental stage”.
If you have never tried yoga before, give it a go one night or on a nice Sunday morning at your local gym, community centre or even your local park.
Even if you look like this little fella here, it’s fine! You never know, you might bring out the calmer self within you and be able to stress less!
Ratika Palat highlights her yoga journey so far:
“I’m happier, I love being happy, I love life….I choose to be happy in every reaction”.