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Agni Sara Pranayama – Purificatory Pranayama Practice

July 9, 2012

Agni Sara.

When we practice pranayama, it is advisable to start with Kriyas. Kriyas are purificatory practices. The toxins in the body should be removed, the nadis, (energy channels), in the body must be cleansed and the air passages also should be cleared.

Agni Sara is one such kriya. The word Agni means fire and Sara is fanning. In the body Agni refers to the principle of heat, seated in the abdomen. If you touch your abdomen, you will feel that it is always warm. Agni is responsible for digestion of food but it also is the spiritual fire that transforms the mundane into the spiritual. Hence Hatha Yogis pay particular attention to it.

Visualise the fanning of a fire with a board. The board is your abdomen which is made to move up and down in order to strengthen Agni. You can practice it in two ways.

Option 1:

Lie on your back with the right foot crossed over the left foot by the ankles. Place your hands in the prayer position on your chest. Breathe out completely and hold the exhaled breath. Whilst holding the breath pull your abdominal muscles into the spine and then relax them in rapid succession. In the beginning do it slowly. This action of the abdomen moves the abdomen up and down and hence creates the ‘fanning’ action. When you need to breathe in, relax the abdomen and slowly breathe in. Repeat this up to twelve times.

Option 2:

Instead of lying down, you sit in any comfortable asana with hands in chin mudra. The rest is as above.

Agni Sara should be practised before pranayamas such as Ujjayi or Nadi Shodhana so that the body is purified first before the subtler practices are done. Agni Sara should be practised in the winter months. In summer it should only be practised in the cool morning or evening hours.


Swami Vidyananda, resident monk at Ananda Kutir Ashrama.

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