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The Breath of Fire~ Kapalabhati
The breath of fire, or skull shining breath is an awakening exercise for mind and body.
This is my Thermographic photo taken after 108 rounds of Kapalabhati Breath of Fire with focused intention.
I practice this breath regularly midday usually at the end of our my lunch hour Rock Your Abs Yoga class. It is a fun, fast abs core yoga blast then I lead everyone into final relaxation, or Savasana (pronounced Shuh-vaaa-sa-na).
Since this is a midday class I lead them through the Kapalabhati breath as an awakening breath after Savasana.
The practice if breath control or retention is called Pranayama (prah-nah-yam-ah). This technique very quickly and efficiently creates a lot of heat getting the energy life force,
Prana, invigorated. The heat is created by very quick repetitive exhalations through the nose, with passive inhales between. The sound is a fast tempo exhale-exhale-exhale-exhale. The breath is usually done in rounds of 108.
Set an intention for your practice in the present moment.
Sit in easy seated pose, Sukasana.
For more intensity assume Goddess Pose:
Start with feet about twice hips distance apart, toes turned out, feeling all four corners of the feet grounded, Hasta Bandha. Turn heels in, toes out bend the knees at 90 degrees to start stacking above the ankles.
Inhale, reach up to the sun, straighten the legs, bringing the thumbs together.
Exhale and bend knees, drawing elbows to ribs, palms up, and continue to lengthen through the spine drawing the tailbone down toward the earth. You may do several rounds of vinyasa moving through this flow, called Chandrasana. This is a lunar breath. Then move into Breath of Fire on an exhale holding Goddess Pose.
From either posture:
Place one hand on your lower belly near the first chakra, the other hand on the upper belly right below the ribs, in the sacral chakra region.
Inhale to the top of the breath.
This is my photo before Breath of Fire.
On your next breath begin. Focus on the exhale, feeling the belly / naval moving forward and back pumping the air out, and let the air fill your lungs naturally after each exhale without thinking about it. It’s a very rapid succession. Do 4 rounds of 27 with one large inhale between cycles.
Here is my photo after 54 rounds of Kapalabhati.
As a beginner class to breath work I teach it in 4 rounds of 27 with a big inhale to start and between rounds of the 27. From the 4 round cycle you can build up to 108 without stopping for an active inhale.
Simply focus on moving the energy in the abdomen feeling it rise up the spine and into the third eye to eventually the crown of the head.
After your breath work in easy seated pose, move right into seated meditation. Sit in stillness, with the Prana flowing.
After looking more closely notice on the top (final) photo and you can clearly see the connection from the heat in the second and third chakras to the heat in the brow chakra.
This is physical evidence of the intrucate connection of mind/ body / spirit.
These photos were taken at a Thermographic Camera in The Museum of Nature at Fair Park Dallas on a sleepover night at the museum. My hubby and I took our daughter and 3 friends for her birthday. We had many activities that night and one was a scavenger hunt. As the kids broke into groups to answer the scavenger hunt questions I saw this heat photography machine. Immediately I thought of yoga and this idea came to me to try Breath of Fire. While the kids all were running around at the exhibits I stopped and did my pranayama, taking these photos.
Even in the flow of life, the chaos of 50 kids in an activity, while wearing my fun mom and loving wife hat, Prana flows.
For the Wikipedia info on Thermographic Cameras: