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Breath of Fire. Kapalabhati Pranayama

Dernière mise à jour : 20 mars 2020

Kapalabhati is the only pranayama which is part of the Shatkarmas (techniques of purification in Hatha yoga). It burns the impurities in us. Translation from Sanskrit: kapal - 'skull' and bhati - 'shining'. Kapalabhati is easier version of Bhastrika pranayama, which requires more advanced control of the breathing process. It could be done as a breathing exercise by itself or before asana practice to warm up the abdominal muscles and inner organs, as well to bring the focus on the present moment and prepare body and mind to profit better from the following practice. Breath of fire takes 10-15 minutes per day to be done but benefits us in different aspects in a long term. It is worth it to give a try and to see how it works for you.

Benefits from a regular practice:

-cleanses the nasal passage and the sinuses

- strengthens and increases the capacity of the lungs (highly recommended in freediving training)

- aiding to relieve asthma and bronchial congestions

- removes an old oxygen in the lungs

- massage the internal organs through movement of the diaphragm and abdominal contractions

- improves digestion

- clears the nadis (energy channels) and balance the doshas (combinations of the five elements in our bodies)

- refresh the mind and release the fatigue due to more oxygen to our brain as well 'burns' the toxins - the reason as well for the 'shining scull' effect

Practice ( on an empty stomach) :

• sit comfortably with straight back and take few full, deep breaths

• after the next deep breath, exhale forcefully, pull the navel towards the spine, feel how the abdominal muscles contract

• relax and the air will flow in the lungs effortlessly, the inhale happens by itself

• repeat ideally between 15 and 30 times, take 3 full normal breaths and go for another cycle

Complete in total 3 cycles with 3 deep breaths in between. With the practice you can increase the breath in each cycle following the pattern of 20 breaths for the first, 30 for the second and 40 for the third, as well you can gradually increase the speed for each cycle. All these is coming with the practice, start gently and follow what your body tells you. Sensation of 'light head' is normal in parameters that doesn't bring discomfort. If you have some health issues or specific medical condition consult your doctor. In general people with epilepsy, hernia, pacemaker, backache, surgery in the stomach area, pregnant women or shortly after pregnancy have to avoid practicing Kapalabhati pranayama.

"When the whole system of the nadis which is full of impurities, is cleaned, then the Yogi becomes able to control the Prana - the force of life."*

* Hatha yoga pradipika

Enjoy and shine!








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