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The Dangers of ‘Alien Yoga’

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Social media platform, Instagram, is famous for its trends, concepts and yoga pictures. The three are regularly seen combined with thousands of yoga posts uploaded to the site every day. However, we’ve all heard the dark side of Instagram. These shadowed areas including body shaming, low confidence, harmful fads and now, Alien Yoga?

If you haven’t heard of it so far, chances are you’ll see it for yourself for. Commonly known as Nauli, alien yoga is the practice of yoga where individuals will curl up their stomachs into weird and twisted shapes. As you can see, these shapes are very weird indeed.

The shapes are created by the individual effectively emptying their lungs and then proceeding to pull their abdomen underneath the rib cage. This can be achieved by contracting the middle, left and right side of the abdominal muscles. Freaky, right?

This type of yoga has been considered to have a wide variety of benefits, but only when practised properly using a technique that has been mastered over several years, even decades. Nauli is rarely practised in classes or studios amongst Western world yoga practises.

In traditional, commonly practised yoga poses, the idea is to maintain a regular breathing pattern and focus on your breathing, however, Nauli requires the individual to breathless. In fact, to practise Nauli successfully, you must be able to hold your breath for at least a minute. This is simply unfeasible for many.

Borg-Olivier, the Director of Yoga Synergy, Sydney Australia, explained;

“Society has become obsessed with core workouts, hardening the core and opening the chest areas. In fact, this technique is the opposite of that.”

Borg, himself, has been practising Nauli for over five decades, teaching it to some of his classes over the last 35 years but, these classes are extremely specialist and not partaken in by the majority of yoga students. But this is a professional yoga teacher who has been practising for over 50 years? Can an Instagrammer with thousands of followers really be doing it so long? Is this an acceptable and safe trend for Instagrammers to be spreading for anybody to pick up and want to practise?

Health Effects

Unfortunately, there are some quite severe health effects that can follow from practicing Nauli using incorrect methods. Exercising whilst not breathing for a minute can have serious implications of a Yogi who hasn’t practiced or been taught properly. There is a huge risk of hyperventilation and inaccurate breathing can result in negative pressure changes that affect the body, the blood vessels and even the brain.

It’s clear looking at several of the Nauli photos that this could simply be another fad in which body-obsessed individuals are able to show off their bodies in a weird and engaging way, disregarding the potential health consequences for themselves and their inspired followers.

What do you think? Will this just be a fad that will carry on for a bit, peak and slowly decline or do you think Nauli or Alien Yoga will grow and grow in popularity? Let us know in the comment section below!e

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