Yoga guru Pushpa Bakshi in the sukasan pose.
Yoga guru Pushpa Bakshi in the sukasan pose. Chris Chan

Simple yoga breathing exercise brings immediate benefits

NOW that you all have had exposure to some yoga practices, I am going to share another form of the six breathing techniques called kapalbhati.

Kapalbhati (aka kapal bhati) is not at all complicated to do and yet, when done even for a short time consistently, its benefits are undeniable. It's that good you will notice the benefits immediately.

For beginners:

To practice this breathing exercise sit up in a comfortable position. Cross-legged is best, but you can use a chair or lean back against a wall for support to align your spine.

Elongate your spine upwards, lengthen your neck and subtly bring your chin back and in like a soldier at attention. This will align the spine with the back of your head.

Close your eyes.

Have your hands in gyan mudra - have your thumb tips and index finger meeting, with the wrists resting gently on the knees and the palms turned slightly upwards and relax your stomach muscles.

Now expel the air as forcefully as you are comfortable with through the nose.

This should cause the abdominal muscles to contract sharply and should draw the abdomen inwards towards the spine like you're sucking in your stomach.

Then allow the inhalation to occur completely passively without any additional effort.

To repeat, the exhalation is done using conscious sharp force, while the inhalation is just a recoil action bringing the air back into the lungs.

All the breathing takes place through the nose. Right after the passive inhalation, exhale again forcefully and continue at a steady rhythm.

Do a round of 10 repetitions.

Work your way up to doing five rounds, while taking a break between each round. In kapalbhati, force is only to be used during the exhalation.

Cautions for kapalbhati yoga pranayama:

If you feel dizzy or nauseous you should slow down the force and pace of kapalbhati pranayama or stop entirely and return to normal breathing.

If you have acid or heat related gastric issues such as ulcers you should use caution.

Kapalbhati is not to be practiced by those suffering from high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke or epilepsy.

For any further assistance in this breathing exercise please contact me on either 0450 582 540 or pb@kabc.com.au.

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