This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Breathing the alphabet
BREATH IS LIFE! BREATH IS PRANA! THE ESSENTIAL LIFE FORCE! BE AWARE OF BREATHING AND ITS TECHNIQUES!
Observe your incoming and outgoing breath. Continue to observe your breathing. Each moment breath comes in and then goes out. Flow with the music as its rhythm stills something within you. As you begin to observe your incoming and outgoing breath breathing slows down. You go on witnessing the breath. First it slows and then it settles. And then…. Inner rhythm overflows as musical breath symphony. And with the settling of the breath all vibrations cease as well. Not only has this, also something settles deep within. Breath continues rhythmically both in and out!
Flow with the rhythm of the music as it creates ripple within with each breath that comes in and then goes out. Still the vibration of body continues. Also continues the one who witnesses this all – the subtle one. As witnessing continues you enter into another realm. This is the realm of consciousness that witnesses all this! Flow with existence…. Something stills within! Yet still there continues the vibrations of thoughts. This continues like the vibration of breath. The witness and the vibration of breath continue. Flow with life as it unveils…. The subtle witness of the breath continues. There are many other vibrations that continue as well. These are the vibrations of thoughts. Flow with being… Thoughts flow on the inner sky like the crowd on a busy place. This is like the crowd in a busy place. People coming and going! So too thoughts continue to float on the inner sky.
Allow the life to flow within… Between these thoughts there is a gap! The gap between two thoughts is precise. The gap between two passersby is the way to be aware of the gap between the two thoughts…. Feel the stillness within… Beyond all vibrations is your Chaitanya or conscious form! No form is deeper than this. Like the ocean is the realm of this stillness. Out of this flows silence in this total stillness. And you get the taste of your being! Allow the music to sink deep within…. In this you experience your presence! In action worldly experiences him. In action and in movement alone a worldly experiences his presence. And the meditator experiences him in this stillness. Meditation is the process to experience you in this utter stillness. Still flows the inner music as breath slows. Breath is silent. Thoughts have ceased. Only being is there. Take a few deep breaths! Raise your hand towards the sky. And be filled with
gratitude. Such are the moments of inner drowning! Myriad gratitude for this! Allow to drown still deeper within…. To experience your being in a state of inactivity, inaction and thoughtlessness is meditation. A few deep breaths! Raise your hand above head towards the sky in gratitude that you have such moments to drown in yourself. And gently stand and celebrate the gratitude! And allow it to disseminate in the outer atmosphere! Also allow it to surround you each finite moment a new meaning will arise. Such is new beginning, new life, and new living. This is Alpha in meditation. With Alpha Omega is not far. This is the taste of your being!
Kapalabhati - pronounced KAH-pah-lah-BAH-tee is also menrioned as Kapalbhati, or Bhalabhai in the Gherand Samhita. It is an important part of Shatkarma sometimes known as Shatkriya, the yogic system of body cleansing techniques. The word kapalbhati is made up of two words, kapal meaning skull and here skull includes all the organs under the skull too and bhati means shining, illuminating. Due to the process, the organs under the skull mainly the brain and the small brain are influenced in a good manner. Hence the word is used in that way. It is intended mainly to the cleaning of the cranial sinuses but has many other effects, according to the Gherand Samhita and other sources. The Technique of Kapalabhati involves short and strong forceful exhalations and inhalation happens automatically. There are three forms of Kapalabhati:
1. Vatakrama kapalabhati, a practice similar to Bhastrika, a technique of Pranayama, except that exhalation is active while inhalation is passive, the opposite of normal breathing. 2. Vyutkrama kapalabhati, a practice similar to Jala neti, it involves sniffing water through the nostrils and letting it flow down into the mouth and then spitting it out. 3. Sheetkrama kapalabhati, can be considered the reverse of Vyutkrama kapalabhati, in which water is taken through the mouth and then expelled through the nose.
Posture of sitting
Since this process is related to breathing, it should be performed sitting in Padmasan. The muscles of the stomach should be moved freely in this process. This freeness cannot be achieved while sitting or sleeping, hence the process can be performed well while sitting in a dhyana pose. Padmasan is a very suitable asana for dhyana position, hence this process should be performed while sitting in Padmasan. It may
be performed by sitting in Swastikasan or Vajrasan, but as compared to Padmasan, these asanas are not so important. The pose of the body during Padmasan is essential here. We have seen in the beginning that Kapalbhati is not a type of pranayam. It is process limited to Pooraka or inhaling and Rechaka or exhaling performed in a typical manner. Kumbhaka or holding is not included here. Also, more importance is given to the Rechaka than Pooraka. In fact, Rechaka performed in a particular manner is the main process of Kapalbhati. Pooraka is just for the namesake. Rechaka is more important in the process. While performing Rechaka, it is to be performed by way of affecting a push with the help of stomach muscles. The diaphragm and the muscles of the abdomen are to be moved violently and the air should be exhaled with the help of that movement. Hence, the rechaka is not prolonged and more air also is not exhaled. In day to day life, we exhale approximately 500 to 600 CC air per exhalation. During the Kapalbhati process, approximately 40 to 50 cc more air i.e. 550 to 650 cc air is expelled. This shows that exhaling more air is not expected during the process. When the rechaka is performed after such a
push, the muscles of the abdomen and the diaphragm are loosened, then automatically the air is inhaled. Only this minimal Pooraka is expected in the process. However, one Pooraka and one Rechaka do not constitute a cycle of Kapalbhati. A cycle or rotation of Kapalbhati should be performed as follows: 1. Keep breathing gradually while sitting in Padmasana. 2. Inhale and start performing Kapalbhati as stated before. That means a strong Rechaka, natural Pooraka and again strong Rechaka and natural pooraka. 3. Keep on doing this rotation swiftly in rhythmic manner. 4. Perform as many cycles as possible and then keep breathing gradually. All these processes are included under one cycle of Kapalbhati.
Breathing Techniques Duration of Kapal Bhati
In a cycle of Kapalbhati, swift Rechakas followed by Poorakas are expected. Both the actions are so swift that the duration cannot be definitely determined. However, after studying the process minutely, it can be said that Pooraka and Rechaka together about half second is the duration. This period is further reduced by practice approximately three fourth times is required for Rechaka and one fourth for Pooraka. Of course, this is just to give an idea. It is not perfect and may not be strictly adhered to. It is not possible to adhere to it strictly. However none of the ancient Sanskrit yoga describes how many cycles of Rechaka and Pooraka should be performed in a cycle of Kapalbhati. When the process can be performed neatly, the Pooraka and Rechaka should be performed for at least 21 times in a cycle of Kapalbhati. Such three cycles may be performed in one sitting. When this much is achieved, then the repetitions within a cycle can be increased. Each one should increase the repetitions as per his individual capacity and strength. Between two cycles of Kapalbhati, gradual breathing should be continued. To further the
study of Kapalbhati, either the repetitions of Pooraka and Rechaka within a cycle should be increased or keeping those repetitions constant, the number of cycles may be increased. All these things should be considered thoughtfully on the basis of experience of one's own and under guidance of expert.
In the process of Kapalbhati prolonged Rechaka is not expected. Hence, more air is not inhaled into the lungs. Hence, it cannot be said that more oxygen is absorbed which improves blood circulation. Generally, a little more air than is taken in the normal gradual breathing approximately 500 to 600 CCS is inhaled and exhaled in Kapalbhati about 550 to 650 CC. But more important in the process is the particular movement of the stomach muscles. However, this movement is the soul of the process. Performing Rechaka in this manner does not involve movement of the cage of the chest. On the other hand, the muscles between the ribs of the cage are kept pulled while performing the complete cycle of Kapalbhati.
In other types of breathing, these muscles remain pulled only while inhaling the breath. During Kapalbhati these muscles stay that way throughout the process and the ribs are kept pulled upward. This facilitates free movement of the muscles of the stomach as well as those of the diaphragm. It does not mean that the ribs do not move at all. A little movement is there, but it is so minute that it is not even noticed. In the process, the air is expelled through the nose after a push. Hence, it is not necessary to shut the nostrils as in Ujjayi Pranayam. In fact, they should be wide open. When the air is expelled, it is right to have the nostrils flared up and not contracted. In the breathing process, generally the muscles of the diaphragm cannot be controlled. Generally they are controlled by involuntary nervous system. In the process of Kapalbhati, control is gained over these muscles and much movement is caused, that too very swift movement and more movement than is normally done. These muscles are important muscles in the breathing process and their efficiency is increased due to such movement.
The constant pushes exercise the muscles which are used for breathing, and increase their efficiency. Also, a certain pressure of air is created in the process which helps in removing the impurities in the breathing tube. The breathing tube from the alveoli is cleaned. The strong Rechaka and the minimal Pooraka help to push the impurities forward till they are thrown out of the body. While performing strong Rechaka, a draft of more pressure is created which affects the different vessels to improve their function. The effect of the push of the Rechaka is seen on the brain and the nervous system and their efficiency also increases. Kundalini Power is a dormant power residing near the Muladhar Chakra near the lower abdomen. The pushes in the Kapalbhati awaken this power. That means the center of effector nerve fibers over there is affected and this divine power starts climbing up the Sushumna Nadi in the spinal chord. Certainly, it may be remembered that this process of Kapalbhati helps awakening of kundalini power. In this process of Kapalbhati, the carbon dioxide is thrown out of the body in large quantity and similarly in the same proportion, the oxygen is absorbed into the body. This increases the
oxygen in the blood, hence the need for oxygen is lessened and the messages or the encouragement to breathing center is calmed down. The center becomes calm and reduces its instructions to the breathing organs. This facilitates control of the breathing organs. If there are urgent messages from the main center, then the organs follow those messages and it is not possible to control the movements of the organs.
1. Balances three dosas of the human body. These are vata - wind/spirit/air, pitta -bile and kapha - phlegm. Disorder of these three is the root cause for unhealthy body. 2. It is excellent not only for physical body but for sub-conscious mind as well. According to Swami Ramdev, it is ‘Sanjeevani’ - that infuses life on earth. 3. While doing kapalbhati, if practitioner concentrates at the ‘Mooladhar Chakra’, the ‘Kundalini’ power starts awakening.
4. Kapalbhati improves concentration power in children and adults simultaneously. It makes the face Lustrous and attractive. 5. Kapalbhati Pranayama cures Diseases which are hard to control by medicines like asthma, respiratory troubles, allergies, sinus, etc. 6. Diseases of heart, lungs and brain are permanently cured. Kapalbhati completely removes blockages in arteries and controls cholesterol. 7. Obesity, diabetes, flatulence, constipation, acidity and diseases pertaining to kidneys and prostate glands etc. are completely cured. 8. Women diseases like uterus cysts, breast cysts, cancer cysts or any type of cysts in the body are permanently dissolved without any surgery. 9. Parkinson’s disease Liver Cirrhosis and Hepatitis-B is permanently cured with devoted practice.
10. It removes snoring problems and cures sinusitis completely. 11. Swami Ramdev claims to control ‘Cancer’ with kapalbhati and anulom-vilom breathing. Even he has proved with some patients in his ashram in India. According to him, any disease can be cured by the combination of Pranayama practice. 12. Kapalbhati is the best solution for weight loss without any side effects. If it is practiced 15-20 minutes daily, along with yoga diet control chart, the weight can be decreased by 4-8 Kg. per month very easily. 13. Excess ‘Hair Loss’ is controlled including kapalbhati in daily routine. by
14. Depression is cured, as mind becomes stable, happy and peaceful which removes negative thoughts automatically.
1. Women should avoid kapalbhati pranayam during periods and pregnancy.
2. Patients with severe heart problems should not do with force and they must practice under an experienced yoga teacher. 3. Blood Pressure patients should doing with force in the beginning. avoid
4. In the summer season, if the temperature is very high, it is prohibited for over five minutes.. 5. In the beginning, any pranayama practice must be done under experienced yoga teacher’s training.
Long Deep Breathing and Breath of Fire
For those that have been doing Long Deep Breathing and Breath of Fire for many years, the breath is so natural and easy that unless one is also teaching one might not easily focus on what the difficulty could possibly be.
Quite often students will fill the lower abdominal area of the lungs, then as they try to fill the chest area, they shift the air from the lower area to the chest, as they try to lift the rib cage, and do not actually keep the downward pressure of air in filling upwards, but instead only shift upwards, so that a complete breath is still only chest breathing and not actually diaphragm breathing. The conscious awareness of the diaphragm is not apparent to every one so some means needs to be provided to somehow allow attention to the sensation of the use of the diaphragm to come into focus until the natural rhythm of the diaphragm is felt and the effortless force and flow of prana takes over.
Long Deep Breathing
It is a great way to relax, and also very good for any lung-related problems. Long Deep Breathing is usually taught first because one can become aware of the full distention and contraction of the diaphragm, after which the Breath of Fire may come more naturally.
Sitting cross-legged (or even in corps pose), in long deep breathing one will first fill the abdominal area by inhaling the air down, then pressing the air consciously into the lower areas. By arching somewhat forward with ones palms on the knees, then with arms straight pressing the palms inward towards the lower body against the knees, the chest cavity will open forwards, so that you can not only keep the pressure on the lungs in the lower abdominal area, but also feel the lungs filling in and through the chest area and, finally, because of the forward arch of the spine the upper area of the lungs will fill as well, all without the need to either open the rib cage or raise the shoulders. Once the lungs are completely filled in this manner, hold the breath lightly for a moment and press the shoulders back and expand the chest out so that the full length and pressure on the diaphragm can be felt. Then contract the entire length of the diaphragm from the upper chest to the abdomen, so that all the air is squeezed out. By breathing in this way through the nostrils for several breaths, the flow of energy
consciousness (the feeling of prana) through the diaphragm can be felt from the pressing down and distending of the air into the lower region of the lungs, where most of the blood circulates, then filling through and up to the chest areas from the back to the front and into the upper lungs. The pressure in the lungs in all areas of the lungs also generates energy in all the nerve endings, so that the entire body is affected both by the breath and the pressure on the nerves. Once the Long Deep Breathing is done in the manner described, the focus on the muscles of the abdomen, chest and shoulder areas as being involved in the breathing begins to recede, as the natural bellows like motion of the entire diaphragm is felt.
Breath of Fire (Agni-Prasana)
A cleansing & energizing breath, powered by abdominal contractions Once the diaphragm is felt during Long Deep Breathing then there are a couple of ways in which one can begin to do Breath of Fire, where the air is pulled in and pumped out very
rhythmically, just like pumping a bellows, without any tension being felt whatsoever on the abdominal muscles, chest and rib cage muscles or shoulders, which remain relaxes throughout the breath, so that it may almost seem that you can continue the rhythm indefinitely with little effort at all. One way to start Breath of Fire, which was the way I learned it some 30 years ago, is to start with long deep breathing, then as soon as the lungs are completely expanded, as described earlier, to immediately force the air out, and as soon as most of the air is out to immediately expand the air back in, each time arching the spine forwards and pressing the palms inward against the knees in a light manner to feel the diaphragm filling the lungs from the back to the front completely, then contracting again. With each breath one expands a bit faster and contracts a bit faster until without expanding or contracting completely, a rhythm is felt, and you let that rhythm take over. You might liken it to an old model locomotive where the wheels lurch forwards until some steam and speed is built up, then suddenly the train is moving forward almost effortlessly, with
each breath like the chugging sound of the locomotive. The other way to get into the rhythm of the Breath of Fire for some, may be to immediately go to a powerful rhythmic breath, just by visualizing the bellows like nature of the diaphragm. Either way, from that point on you can make the Breath of Fire very powerful or very light. The Breath of Fire is not the same as Bastrika, which is a light fast rhythmic breath, usually taught as one of the pranayamas in hatha yoga. Nor is the Breath of Fire like Kabalabati, which is a forceful breath, where you contract the abdomen and rib cage (pulling on the root lock with each contacting breath), where the simple relaxing of the rib cage brings the air back into the lungs, without inhaling, and you force the air out again also in a rhythmic manner. While Kapalabati is very powerful and beneficial, and while it is used in many Kriyas, it is not the same as Breath of Fire.
Breath of Fire will entirely charge the nervous system, causing the glands to secrete and purify the blood. When it is done with certain postures and movements, which are meant to put contracting - drawing in or expanding or releasing pressure in nerve plexuses and glandular centers, those areas are made to fire and become completely charged. As an area becomes charged, the sexual (seminal) fluids are released into the bloodstream and flow to those charged areas, so that gradually those areas will maintain that charge and pranic pressure builds throughout the body converting Bindu - Tamasic and Rajasic energy to Ojas or Satvic energy, which fills and permeates the entire body and mind. Bit by bit, over a period of just a few weeks of sets and kriyas combining posture, movement, breath, sound and locks, the entire body will begin to feel magnetically electric and etheric, as the field becomes balanced with an inward dynamo-like force. As this charge builds and polarizes, the mind becomes very still, very clear and bright, and radiance is felt in and through and around the body and head.
The feeling of the stressful need to think and act and to be the ‘doer’ begin to recede, as the mind becomes more receptive and open to notice that there seems to be an almost automatic connectedness between one's aims and events and experiences that come to fulfill them. The feeling of a natural ever present oneness begins to emerge as a clearer always existing reality. Little by little, outward tendencies of the mind towards the physical and mental begin to fade, and one abides in one’s satvic presence - space like, pervasive, without the sense of me or mine - the Self-Effulgent Heart, where ‘I AM’ is the single Truth. The practice of Kundalini Yoga with the natural awareness and rhythm of the diaphragm in Long Deep Breathing and Breath of Fire allows the postures and kriyas to have the greatest and most complete effect in bringing the satvic field to the point where the Self recollects Itself and abides without attention in one's True Name Sat Nam. Try these breaths out this way and see what happens.
By Susan P. Boles
[Susan P. Boles lives in a small town, east of Toronto, Canada, and is a student and teacher of chakras. A gifted healer, using her own brand of hands-on and remote healing, she makes use of Reiki, Therapeutic touch and an inner child process to help people. This is not a full time occupation - she mainly helps people over the Net as she finds her effectiveness is greater using this energy medium. She has facilitated earth healing meditations for several groups.]
When Susan first started taking Kundalini yoga, she had a very hard time even getting on the floor. She had broken her back at work. Doing anything was extremely painful. Her teacher was very patient with her - allowing her to adapt positions she couldn’t get into or found hard to maintain. After a few months, and the aid of other alternative healing methods, she was able to move with much greater mobility, feeling the energy move up her spine. The fire breath, actually just learning to breathe properly, helped her a lot. Now, she says, if you look at her back, you will not find the break. She went from being wheelchair dependent, according to allopathics, to being able to do
anything she wanted, and she does too! Most of us do not know how to breathe properly. We take shallow breaths as if we are afraid of what breath does. But breath is the alphabet to your body...so we should drink heavily and deeply to energize and feed our bodies. I was taught by breathing in to the count of four...slow counts. Feel the breath expand your ribcage.....you are aiming to fill your whole chest cavity with air. At the end of the fourth, when you think you cannot take any more air in, take a sip more. Hold for a count of four. Exhale over a count of four....and when you think you have all the air out, huff more out. You will be amazed how much you can get out after this count of four. You may experience burning in your lungs doing this. But, soon your breathing becomes deep and sure....and the count of four expands to a count of five...six. I was told to concentrate on the emptiness between breathing in and breathing out....that period of stillness. Once my lungs were used to doing this, I started breathing in from different parts of my body. No one taught me this...it just started to happen when I meditated. I would open up my
crown chakra and breathe the energy down, on an inbreath....feeling it flow around my heart....keeping it there....then on the outbreath, push the breath down the rest of my body to exit out my feet. Then I would reverse it, breathing in my feet, feel it flowing to my heart, then on the exhale, pushing it up and out my head. Dizzying at first....but the energy that fills me when I do that is incredible. I found out later that I was unconsciously doing something that is taught to get the energy flowing in the two currents that wind around our spines. We would practice this for about five minutes.....at the beginning of each session. It prepared us for the work in the session by calming us and getting our minds into the proper space for work. The fire breath is very different. Here, you concentrate on the outbreath, as it is thrown out with such force, the inbreath comes after it automatically. We were taught to put our hand on our bellies and use those muscles to force air out of our lungs in a whoosh. Our hands were to remind us to use those muscles to force it out. Your whole abdomen is used to empty the lungs very quickly. You should hear your breath
coming out vocally....almost like a cough but not so loud...kinda like a HUH sound. Here, you are not using so much breath...it is like little sips in and whooshes out. Like my advanced terminology? ::grins:: As the fire in fire breath is related to the power center or third chakra, this is where the breath is being localized. You are using your diaphragm and stomach muscles to force the breath out. Dizzying again.....and you feel the heat in your belly rising up into you.....making your head reel with it. It took me awhile to get used to doing this....and my stomach muscles hated me for a while... but it was worth everything to feel what I did when the rising started. At first, we couldn't do it very much.....it was far too difficult to keep up....but as the weeks went by, we had longer lessons using it. The alternate nostril breathing was taught to us after the above two. After doing the first breathing exercise a few times, raise one of your hands to your face, palm facing it. Put your thumb by one nostril and your forefinger by the other. Gently put your thumb over the nostril, blocking the passage of air through it. Breathe
in the other nostril slowly, using the first technique. Hold the inbreath for a second...concentrating on the stillness....then exhale. Remove your thumb, and put your forefinger on it's nostril and breathe in...concentrating on the middle...exhale. Continue to alternate with one complete inhale/exhale per thumb/finger. Do this for about eight to ten cycles. You should feel this breathing calming you yet energizing your chakras.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?