Even though i am a seasoned yoga practitioner, i find it a bit boring to do the classic pranayama breathing, such as anuloma-viloma, etc. Somehow my body thinks its not dynamic enough.
The Mighty Breath of Fire or Shining Skull Pranayama Breathing
However, i have a favorite breathing technique called the Breath of Fire. It is originally called Kapalabhati> Kapala means skull, and bhati means enlightened, implying light and knowledge.
My first encounter with the Breath of Fire was during Power yoga classes, when holding a chair pose, my beloved teacher Sonja was using the pranayama breathing technique to energize the posture.
Kapalabhati is a dynamic pranayama breathing technique that releases emotions, stress and toxins from body and mind. It brings large amounts of oxygen to body.
It is interesting, we actually communicate with other people energetically via the lower abdomen. Remember the saying, “my gut feeling”, gutted, etc.
So it is here that we store all the stress, emotions that we picked up from others, negative thoughts, it all accumulates in the gut area.
Naturally, by cleansing this area with breath and oxygen we free our body and mind of the toxins and regenerate. The technique is performed as series of isolated short exhalations focused on contraction of lower abdomen, easily followed by inhalations. Here is how to do it:
1. Sit comfortably, with your back upright, elongating the spine and rest your hands on your lower belly. You can sit in lotus position or with your legs close together or straight, whatever feels more comfortable for you. Place your palms on your lower abdomen as both support and consciously observing the movement.
2.Draw your navel to your spine in a quick motion, forcefully expelling all the air from your lungs. The primary movement is from your lower abdomen, moving it in and out.
3. Allow your lungs to fill naturally, with no effort.
4. Perform this cycle ten times, then allow your breathing return to normal and observe the sensations in your body. Repeat these cycles of ten movements three to four times.
Here are the video instruction for the Breath of Fire below.
Health benefits of introducing Breath of Fire in your daily routine besides the above mentioned ones are tummy toning, improved digestion, improved circulation, rejuvenating tired cells, reducing aging and awakening the ajna chakra. Breathe!
Contraindication: Do not practice Kapalabhati if pregnant.
Check our retreat programs that include teaching pranayama breathing on this link.