With the feet placed a shoulder width apart, bend slightly forward with the spine and head straight and hands resting on thighs.
Take a deep breath and then exhale ALL of the air from your lungs by contracting the abdomen, ribs and chest. Then, while keeping the lungs empty, expand the ribs to the side and thus causing a vacuum that sucks the organs upward.
When you feel the need to breathe, relax the abdominal muscles and then slowly inhale with control (do not gasp for air).
Relax, take a natural breath, and then make the posture again.
Do this three times in the beginning. Gradually increase up to about 10.
Then stand with the feet together in the «relaxed standing position», close the eyes and place all of your inner awareness on the abdominal region and relax this area as much as possible.
Be aware of the sense of heat and energy which is released from your «Solar Center» through this exercise.
To do this you must breath gently with the ribs and chest so as to allow the abdominal muscles to relax completely.
Beginners may also do this exercise lying down at first. Usually it is easier to locate the muscles in this way. In the lying position the knees should be raised with the feet resting near the buttocks.
Benefits: There are benefits on many levels from this contraction:
a) The organs of digestion are massaged and stimulated – decreasing «digestive sluggishness» created by unbalanced «dead» foods. The «appestat» which guides our eating habits is reactivated and we «eat to live» and not «live to eat». An excellent remedy for constipation is to drink a small glass of lemon and water upon waking and make these contractions.
The muscles of the digestive organs are strengthened so that they do not sag down in old age.
b) On an emotional level much of the nervous tension, fear, anxiety and anger that tends to store in this region of the body is released. On a daily level, this can serve to open up the physical and emotional blockages caused by the non-release of such tensions.
c) The «Solar Center» (Solar Plexus or Manipura Chakra) is stimulated and activated so that there is greater pranic energy available for the day’s activities.
Those who are lacking in energy, always tired or bored, will benefit from daily practice of this contraction. You may do it any time during the day when you feel the need.
Contraindications: hernia, High blood pressure, detached retina