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Kapalabhati Breath

Updated: Apr 21

Working into the theme of new beginnings, I'm pushing out of my own comfort zone so we can try more varied yoga techniques together in class this month.

Kapalabhati (also known as Shining Skull Breath or Breath of Fire) is a powerful pranayama or breathing practice that creates heat and energy, aids the digestion and cleanses the body. To practice, we sit up with a straight spine and then alternately fully relax and fully contract the muscles of the abdomen, reversing the usual emphasis of the breath by concentrating on the exhale whilst allowing the inhale without effort.

The 'pumping' action of the abdomen works primarily with the lower three chakras or energy centres, roughly corresponding with the pelvic floor (root chakra), the sacrum (sacral chakra) and the solar plexus (solar plexus chakra). By rhythmically relaxing and contracting the belly, kapalabhati massages the internal organs and helps to move energy up and out.

The rhythmic nature of kapalabhati breath is very meditative, as we focus our attention on the movement of one area of the body and allow the rest to take care of itself.

As an energising practice, kapalabhati is a great technique to use first thing in the morning before starting your day, or at the start of a yoga asana practice. Watch the video below for a taster of how it works.

I usually practice this technique every morning for up to three rounds of 2-5 minutes each, to get me fired up and ready for the day. If you try it out, be sure to let me know how you feel when you've done it!

We'll be practicing kapalabhati breath together in this week's Alwoodley yoga class, use the link below to book on now and experience it for yourself!

If you'd like to work with this or any other yoga technique in a more personalised class, online or in-person one to one classes are available from the same page.

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