'Kapalbhati' is a Sanskrit word. 'Kapal' means forehead and 'Bhati' means light. By practicing this breathing technique the forehead becomes luminous and lustrous, this energy dissipates all potential diseases keeping the body pure, vital, healthy and happy. "It is said that about five hundred diseases do not come near that person who moves the belly button. The navel controls the vayus and pranic airs which circulate through your body.’ –Yogi Bhajan
Benefits of Breath of Fire:
Activates the adrenal kidney connection and keeps the body in 'rest and digest' mode rather than fight'n flight, better enabling the kidneys to flush all the waste from the lymphatic system and send it out.
It also stimulates the liver to clean and filter the blood completely. Beginners sometimes feel lightheaded or a little queasy, because the blood is being oxygenated rapidly and the toxins are rushing through the liver/kidney. (After very little practice, however, there is no unease, but rather the breath becomes very invigorating and energizing.)
The solar plexus, at the level of the navel center has a plexus of nerves that can release a lot of naturally stored energy. Partly because the navel is at the third chakra which is the center of personal will power (which is why we use phrases like “fire in the belly” and “she’s got guts.”)
Causes the nervous system to increase its voltage and fire properly.
Changes the brain waves creating a global alpha rhythm when practiced properly.
Expands lung capacity.
Increases physical endurance.
Strengthens the navel point, which as mentioned previously is the core will center.
This added strength gives mental constancy and the ability to focus and follow through on your promises. (The guts to follow through on what you say you will do.)
Assists in the overcoming of addictions by cleansing the toxic effects of smoking, drugs, sugar, alcohol and caffeine.
Increases mental and physical energy in the entire system.
Releases deeply rooted toxins in the lungs, mucous membranes, blood vessels and cells.
How to practice: Sit in easy pose (simple cross-legged position). Lengthen the spine up, by lifting pelvic floor. As you grow upward, stay rooted to earth. Base of the spine is titled slightly forward (you may need a lift blanket or cushion) to accomplish this. The heart is lifted and the chin slightly tucked down,(back of neck is long and straight.) In this position, find balance and relax completely. Inhale and exhale from navel point at even lengths with no break between. The navel will start to flex as though pumping. Continue for 3 minutes or more (up to 20 minutes)
Eyes are generally closed, focused up toward the brow (Third eye point)
Finish: Inhale deeply and hold. Gently squeeze the body to expand the energy, focusing on bringing the energy to the third eye point. Exhale, and relax. (Breath of fire can also be practiced in intervals– 3 min breath, 2 minutes rest, another 3 min, etc.)
Many Kundalini Yoga kriyas have breath of fire within them, but it’s easy to do it incorrectly unless you learn it properly first, and then apply it after some practice.
Breath of fire is basically an inhale and exhale of even length, in rapid succession. That doesn’t mean it has to be done fast. When doing breath of fire, one should first find your rhythm. Once established, play with speed always maintaining ease. The breath simply has to be an even length with no break between the inhale and exhale. This creates a very unique breath, which is actually considered one long breath, though it appears to be many rapid breaths. Because there’s no real break between the inhale and exhale, it’s actually considered one very long deep breath.
Why: The even inhale and exhale creates balance. The Prana– or life force within the breath comes into the body through the lungs and transfers into the body at the level of the navel. Within our bodies is an opposite, polarizing force called Apana. Apana is an eliminative energy in the body and prana is an activating energy we bring into the body with the breath. When they mix at the navel, the Kundalini energy is sparked and charged. This creates a balance between the life force coming in and the existing energy within the body and what needs to be eliminated. This mix and balancing of prana and apana creates an energy flow. Breath of fire, literally fires up this energy flow process and results in countless benefits.
More Tips for Breath of Fire: Once you get into the rhythm of the breath, scan your body for tension. People, especially beginners tend to hold tension in different places in the body, the legs, knees, face, back, etc. Once you begin the breath, relax every part of the body not in use, which means basically, everything but the navel. Practice this breath for a minimum of three minutes a day for forty days and watch your life change dramatically. Set an intention in your mind (meditate daily, clean up diet, any positive change) and don’t worry about the particulars of how you’re going to do it. Simply dedicate your self to doing the breath meditation each day.
Make it an event!
First thing in the morning or just before bed, but don’t miss a day and watch the result
Use the mantra “Sat Nam” as you practice the breath of fire. Mentally say “Sat” as you inhale and “Nam” as you exhale. Sat Nam basically means, “Truth is my identity, “or “I am one with the truth within.” This centers the mind from wandering on thoughts as it seeds the sub-conscious mind with the soul’s vibration of truth so that when you’re on auto-pilot throughout your day, the back of your mind is actually working on the higher part of your self.
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