The breath is our life energy. All our cells and tissues need oxygen to function properly.
Regular breathing practice, called ‘Pranayama’ in Sanskrit, can contribute in strengthening the respiratory system, so that the body can take in and divide this life energy better through our system.
One of my favorite breathing practices is called the Kapala Bhati breath. ‘Kapala’ means ‘skull’ in Sanskrit, and ‘bhati’ can be translated as ‘cleansing clearing or enlightening’. And that is what this practice does for me. It gives an energy boost, and at the same time it clears my head, which leaves me with a feeling of calm and spaciousness.
This practice can be done at any time of the day. Especially when you feel anxious, tense, if your head feels like it’s spinning around with thoughts, but also if you’re feeling a bit down cost it’s gonna be a really good thing to do. However, don’t practice Kapala Bhati when you’re pregnant.
Some (of the many) beneficial effects of this breathing practice can be that it:
- Strengthens the respiratory system and nervous system
- Strengthens the digestive system
- Improves circulation
- Removes toxins from the body
- Improves skin
- Oxygenates entire body
- Improves immune system
How to do Kapala Bhati
- Sit in a comfortable posture. This can be in a chair or on the ground. As long as you can hold your spine straight and your chest and belly have enough space.
- Place your hands with the palms facing the sky on your knees or thighs. You can place your fingers in Gyan mudra: the tops of the thumbs and index finger touching each other and the remaing fingers straight (without force). Take a moment to ground and maybe set an intention.
- Close your mouth and and place one hand on your belly. Pull the belly in firmly and quickly, so that the air escapes your body via the nasal passage. Repeat this 30 times in a row.
- After 30 times, let go and take a few relaxed breaths.
- When you’re ready, do the next round of 30 breaths. Repeat once more.
- Do three series of 30 Kapala Bhati breaths in the morning, after scraping your tongue and cleaning your nasal cavities with the neti pot if you have one, to wake up your digestive system.
- If you’re starting to feel lightheaded, or seeing colors, or feel sensations in your body after his practice, that’s OK. Enjoy the experience! Stay in your seated position for a few minutes before you move on to the rest of your day.
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Photo credit: @_flauwer