Agni Sara Dhauti: A Powerful Lifeforce Builder

This post features one of the video modules from Demystifying the Elusive Bandhas, our online course available here.


Agni sara dhautiAgni sara dhauti (aka, uddiyana bandha agni saraor just agni sara)is a bit of a head-scratcher at first.

Like “Huh? How do I DO that? ” and more importantly, “Why would I want to do THAT ?! ”

Rupali and I learned this kriya many, many years ago… at Kripalu, so we’ve long moved past the normal reaction to it and now just accept it as an important part of yoga practice.

Sri krishnamacharya in mahabandhaBecause even though it looks weird, believe me when I tell you it’s one of those yogic practices that’s well worth learning and practicing daily. The benefits are deeper than you’d first suspect.

And bonus! It can help you develop really deep core strength.

Not only that, but with continued practice you’ll improve your control over the two lower bandhas — uddiyana bandha and mula bandha.
These practices are key to obtaining mastery in your yoga practice… and a more inward expression of the physical poses.

I tend to begin my asana practice with a few rounds of agni sara. It doesn’t add much time but it does bring my focus into the present and includes an element of kumbhaka, or breath retention. The breath will be held out while you pump the abdominal area.

Translated, agni means fire and sara means essence. I’ve also seen this translated as fire-washing, as you’re stimulating and ‘washing’ the intestines with the pumping action.

This simple practice can transform the health of your abdominal organs.

Here are the benefits of agni sara dhauti:

  • tons abdominal muscles
  • tons of pelvic floor
  • tones, stimulates and cleanses the digestive system
  • tones, stimulates and cleanses the elimination system
  • stimulates the three lower chakras, which enhances the positive characteristics of each
  • massages the bladder
  • strengthens the muscles that control the flow of urine
  • stirs up the lymphatic fluids in the abdominal area

As I mentioned, agni sara dhauti is a kriya, a cleansing technique and an important part of yogic practices. It’s for clearing the digestive and elimination systems.

It is advisable to have a well-established hatha and pranayama practice before you add in kriyas.

Contraindications are:

  • pregnancy
  • menstruation
  • any sort of abdominal injury or disease
  • cardiovascular disease
  • high blood pressure

As you begin to learn this you’ll realize that exercises such as crunches and sit ups can work against your ability to demonstrate the fine control uddiyana bandha agni sara.

Have patience, practice regularly and soon you’ll feel that wave-like deep pumping action that is agni sara.

Access to a knowledgeable teacher is very helpful during the learning process to guide you and answer questions as they come up.

Our video will guide you through the steps and finer points of this practice.

This post features one of the video modules from Demystifying the Elusive Bandhas, our online course available here.


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New to teaching? Check out Rupali’s Transform Your Yoga Teaching: The 5 Essential Elements of Teaching an Awesome Yoga Class for an easy-to-follow system of constructing your classes that will deliver a rich experience for both you and your students every single time.

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