Today we are going to talk about a breathing exercise called Kapalbhati or breath of fire.
In Sanskrit "Kapal" means forehead and "bhati" means shining. It's a really powerful breathing technique that increases the level of energy in our bodies as well as balancing our entire body system. Because we use the belly for this breathing technique, women who are pregnant (or shortly after pregnancy) or those who are having their periods should avoid this practice as it involves strong abdominal squeezes.
Some benefits of the Kapalbhati Pranayama
+ Balances excess Vata, pitta, and Kapha *
(if you don't know your dosha, please click here to take our free Ayurvedic dosha quiz).
+ Cleanses the lungs
+ Improves circulation, particularly in the head
+ Removes sleepiness, energizing the body and brain
+ Tones the digestive organs, improving agni (aka digestive fire) and appetite
+ Cleanses the blood
+ Balances and strengthens the nervous system
+ Boost immunity
How to practice Kapalbhati.
* (If you suffer from a heart condition or high blood pressure of any serious illnesses please consult your physician if you have doubts)
- Sit comfortably with your spine as straight as possible (use a chair and some cushions if you have to)
- Place your hands on the knees with palms open to the sky and take a deep breath in.
- As you exhale, pull your stomach towards the inside which also means: pull your navel in the direction of your spine.
- Do as much repetition as you comfortably can. You may keep your right hand on the stomach to feel the abdominal muscles contract.
- As you relax the navel and abdomen, the breath flows into your lungs automatically.
- Try to take at least 20 breaths in-and-out in order to boost the oxygen flow in your body.
After completing the round, relax with your eyes closed and observe the sensations in your body.
If you can try doing two more rounds of 20 breaths with a pause in between the two rounds.
Don't worry about the inhalation. The moment you relax your abdominal muscles, inhalation will happen naturally. Keep your awareness on breathing out and make sure you practice this technique at home on an empty stomach or at least three hours after food consumption.
Voilà, I hope you enjoyed our series on powerful rituals. If you would like to know more about Ayurveda or any of the practices we talked about in the last couple of weeks, please contact me for a private one-on-one consultation and it will be my honour and pleasure to tailor a program to help you find optimal health.
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