Yoga for Beauty and Health
Kapalbhati - Nasal passage and lungs cleansing - Yogic method
Kapalabhati is an exercise for the purification of the nasal passage and lungs. Though this is one of the six pacificator exercises (Kriyas) , it is a variety of Pranayama (breathing exercises).
This is especially used to control the movements of the diaphragm and to remove spasm in bronchial tubes. Consequently, persons suffering from asthma will find this very helpful. It also aids in curing consumption, removes impurities of the blood, and tones up the circulatory and respiratory systems.
Kapalabhati is the best exercise to stimulate every tissue of the body. After and during the practice, a peculiar vibration and joy can be felt, especially in the spinal centers. When the vital nerve current is stimulated through this exercise, the entire spine will be like a live wire and one can feel the movement of the nerve current.
Great quantities of carbon dioxide gas are eliminated. Intake of oxygen makes the blood richer and renews the body tissues. Moreover, the constant movements of the diaphragm up and down act as a stimulant to the stomach, liver and pancreas.
Before learning some of the higher breathing exercises such as Bhastrika Pranayama, it is very important to master Kapalabhati; Bhastrika breathing is considered to be the best breathing exercise for awakening the spiritual power after the purification of the Nadis or nerves.
After taking a comfortable sitting position, preferably the lotus pose, take a few deep breaths. See that the diaphragm is moving properly. During inhalation, the diaphragm descends and the abdomen is pushed out. During exhalation, the diaphragm pushes the lungs up and the abdomen goes toward the spine. This constant up-and-down movement of the diaphragm throws the air in and out. Here more attention is focused on exhalation than inhalation.
Sudden contraction of the abdominal muscles raises the diaphragm and in turn a volume of air is forced out of the lungs. This is an inward stroke of the abdomen. As soon as the air is thrown out, relax the abdominal muscles, which in turn allows the diaphragm to descend. As the diaphragm comes down, a volume of air automatically rushes in. Here, inhalation is passive and exhalation active.
Start one round of this exercise with ten or fifteen expulsions. At the end of ten expulsions, take a deep inhalation and hold the air as long as possible. This will add its oxygen value and bring a peculiar, pleasant vibration throughout the body, as though you are bathing every tissue of the body with energy. A few days' practice will convince you of its wonderful, stimulating sensation.
Practice three rounds in the beginning, each round consisting of ten expulsions, and gradually increase the number of rounds to five or six. After a few weeks' practice, increase the expulsion to twenty or twenty five. Between successive rounds, normal respiration is allowed to give the needed rest.
During the practice, concentrate on the solar plexus and eventually the nervous system will become spiritually active. This will be manifested by a throbbing sensation in the spine and a lightness throughout the entire body