In India at Kovalam, I discovered the Kapalabhati Pranayama. Indeed to be precise, in Kerala I discovered that breathing takes place before the practice, whereas in the West it is the opposite. First breathe, open, purify, oxygenate, then practice the asanas. So among the various types of breathing that Jospeph, my Indian hata Yoga teacher, a Christian from Kerala, taught me, I discovered what is called Kapalabhati, the respiration of Fire.
It is an ancient breathing technique that the texts of the Hatha Yoga translate as: breath that purifies the skull. kapala in Sanskrit means skull and bhati “to clean or make” the skull shine.
Kapalabhati breathing, also called the fire’s breathing, is similar to that called Bhastrika but it is not one of the classic pranayama. It is in fact part of the shat kriyas, breathing techniques to purify the body, in fact it produces interesting positive effects on the body:
- has a purifying effect on the lungs,
- balances and strengthens the nervous system,
- tones the digestive organs and eliminates drowsiness
In essence, Kapalabhati breathing activates the energy center of the body and stimulates the mind. At first, I have felt a certain uneasiness to do it, it was difficult for me to coordinate the rapid movement of the abdomen with an exhalation and an exhalation so intense. After the first few days, I understood the dynamics and now, I practice it every morning at home, along with Surya namaskara, or the sun salutation.
It is now part of my daily routine and helps me to face the day with energy and lucidity. Here you can watch the video of this technique, guided by Joseph and you can try it yourself.