Good morning, dear friends 😀
The first of the Pranayama techniques that I am going to describe here is called the “Kapalabhati” or “Frontal Brain Cleaning Breath.” It is also known as the “Shining Skull” because the name is derived from the physiological process whereby the cerebral spinal fluid, which changes pressure according to rhythmic normal breathing or respiration, receives a tremendous shift of pressure through forceful and swift exhalations.
This creates a massaging effect on the brain, enlivening and energising every cell, and creating an aura of light and vitality in the brain. In addition, through the rapid succession of sharp expulsions of the breath, the nasal passages are cleaned and purified.
Also, when you are using your abdomen muscles (by sucking in hard using your muscles) to push your diaphragm which in turn pushes out the air from your lungs, you will benefit from a well-toned and flatter abdomen. After doing this Yoga Pranayama exercise for more than a week now, the flab at my abdomen is much reduced and my stomach is more muscular. Also, I’m not sure if this is a side effect but it seems that my stomach size (and capacity?) has became smaller, which is good, because now I consume less food per meal and I already feel very full! 😀
Benefits of doing the Kapalabhati are –
- It also aids in curing consumption (old term for tuberculosis), removes impurities fo the blood, and tones up the circulatory and respiratory systems.
- Clears out the stale, residual air in the lungs and saturates the cells with oxygen and prana/lifeforce energy.
- Releases large amounts of carbon dioxide and toxins, thereby purifying the body. Persons suffering from asthma will find this very helpful.
- Strengthens the diaphragm, the heart and the entire nervous system.
- Energizes, revitalizes and recharges the entire system with prana and stimulates cellular metabolism (a great for a pick me up instead of coffee or tea 😉 )
- Brings mental clarity and alertness.
- Gives a deep, stimulating massage to the abdominal organs. The constant movements of the diaphragm up and down act as a stimulant to the stomach, liver and pancreas. So, people who suffering from abdominal disorders like bloatedness, wind, gastroenteritis will find this breathing exercise very effective.
*** Warning! Please don’t do the Kapalabathi if you are experiencing any of the following –
Also, please do this exercise at least 2 hours after food, and wait at least 1 hour before having food.
- Sit comfortably with your spine erect. On the floor or on a straight backed chair.
- Take a few deep breaths slowly (by counting from 1 to 4 for each inhalation and each exhalation) and relax – allow for a free flow of breath.
- Inhale deeply and feel your belly expand. If you can’t feel your belly, you can put one palm on it to feel the rising and falling with your breath. This is what they call “breathing all the way to your stomach.”
- Exhale forcefully through the nostrils by contracting the abdominal muscles – i.e. use your whole abdomen to help push out the air as your lungs are deflating until there is no more air/carbon dioxide to let go.
- Then, your lungs will automatically let in oxygen and this is known as passively (spontaneous free natural ) allow the inhalation to happen. Repeat this several times slowly (up to 5 times; when this is comfortable can increase to 20).
- Gradually pick up the pace to find your own rhythm.
- After each round, exhale completely, holding the breath out briefly, like for 2 seconds. Inhale when needed, holding the breath in briefly. Exhale when ready and repeat or return to normal respiration
** Note – be sure that the exhalations are an active act (mindfully using your stomach muscles to push out carbon dioxide from your lungs), whilst the inhalations are passive (automatic when your lungs are starved of oxygen and you will gasp to let in air into your lungs)
Feel yourself energised and alert after doing this breathing exercise and know that you have also “worked” out your internal organs, as well as in removing toxins from your body! 😀