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Season 3 - Episode 13

Skull Shining Breath

5 min - Practice
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Margi shares a short Kapalbhati Pranayama (Skull Shining Breath) practice to cleanse and clear our system. This practice results in a feeling of being awake and more clear.
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(crashing waves) Hi, welcome to this practice. It's going to be a breathing practice, which we'll discuss in a moment. But first I want for you to get nice and comfortable in your seat. I'm seated on two blankets. I want my knees not up high.

I want them either hip level or below, and just, since I'm going to be sitting for about, I'm gonna say about 10 minutes, you might wanna put a little support underneath your thighs so that you feel very held in this position. You can refer to my tutorial on different ways to sit. If this doesn't work for you, it's fine to sit in a chair, or in that tutorial, I give lots of options for you. It's important that you're comfortable. So, kapalabhati is the breath that we're going to do.

And this is a breath that is both a pranayama, which means a breathing exercise, as well as a kriya, which is a cleansing exercise. And it cleans the nasal cavities, and the nose, and the skull, even. Kapala means skull, and bhati means shines, or shining the skull. So, because it's a cleansing exercise, things might come flying out of your nose. So before you do it, I recommend that you take a tissue, blow your nose, get everything out of there.

You might need another one at some point, so have a box of tissues nearby. This practice is very close to my heart, because when I first learned it, I wasn't so keen on it, and then, I was a typical American in Thailand on a scooter, and I got into a pretty bad accident. I hit a dog, and the dog was fine, but I was not so fine, and I was huddled up in the back of a car taking me to the emergency room, and I felt like I don't know how to breathe. And I thought of my kapalabhati, and I went... I started to do the breath, and it retrained me how to breathe in that harrowing moment of my life.

Now it's near and dear to my heart, and I use it to wake myself up, I use it to come into my body, I use it to get my belly organized and aligned. So. Bring your hands onto your low belly. And kapalabhati is a vigorous pumping of the abdomen. It pumps in and up.

It's very much like blowing your nose. So we'll just do one. Let your belly relax. And then as you exhale, do a strong push through your nose. And then the inhale happens on its own.

The inhale's like a reflex from the strong exhalation. So, again. And the inhale happens on its own. Let your hands either stay on your belly or come to your thighs, and we'll do five or 10 in a row. So, inhale.

Nine, and exhale completely. Let your lungs really deflate. Push out all the air, and then take a deep, full breath in, filling up the lungs inside of you, and a slow, smooth exhalation. And then again. Inhale to a comfortable level, and begin.

The belly goes in and up with each exhalation. Put one hand onto your forehead. Make sure that the forehead is relaxed, the eyes are soft. Exhale completely. Take a deep, full breath in.

And this time open your mouth and just let it go. We'll do one more set. Inhale. And begin. You can put a hand on a belly, make sure the belly's pumping in.

It's completely fine to go slower or faster. Remember kapalabhati means shining skull, so feel like you're just cleaning out the territory of the brain and the thoughts. Five more. Exhale completely. Deep, full breath in.

And slow, smooth exhalation. And then just let yourself breathe normally. And observe the effect of the practice. I feel the oxygen that's come to my brain. I feel sort of more clear and ready to roll.

You might have a different result. It's important to notice how the practices affect you. Thank you very much for joining me. Happy kapalabhati. Namaste.

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