Yoga Tip: Kapal Bhati – Skull Shining Purification1
Today Wendy Hahn mentioned that she was feeling nauseated before Kapal Bhati. I advised her to blow with more intensity … get her tummy flopping … moving air in & out of her body with more force. Why was she experiencing nausea? Bikram yoga is designed to stir up and release toxins from deep hidden recesses within the cellular level. If a person has spent weeks, months, years, maybe decades packing toxins in their body … physical toxins by imbibing junk foods & chemicals … emotional toxins from life’s unresolved traumatic events or repression … mental toxins from dwelling in jetstreams of thought disconnected from the love vibration & the present moment … spiritual toxins from shutting our hearts to the Divine within ourselves and all of creation … well, it may take more than a 5-card’s worth of yoga classes to clear the debris. For the sake of clarity, allow me to define the term “toxin”. From the yogic perspective, a toxin is anything which creates a blockage or restriction in the harmonious flow of energies within the body, mind, heart, and soul. There is NO value judgment stating that toxins are evil or morally repugnant. It is simply the case that when we hold onto excess density … otherwise called “stuff” … be it physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual … we get disconnected from our True Radiant Self … who is Self-healing, Self-loving, Self-contained … plugged into the ever-present ocean of love … and free to share this loving energy which flows through & around us.
Kapal Bhati culminates our yoga practice by providing a powerful means of flipping the garbage disposal switch. Each time I start pumping my abdomen and lower back, I feel a tremendous sense of clearing. It goes deep … not by accident … but because I focus all intensity on those 2 sets of breathing 60 times. Kapal Bhati sets up the final Savasana. To the extent you wish to create a totality of Union in your final Savasana … please know that your Kapal Bhati can be the launchpad into an incredible full body-mind-heart experience.
Here are key points:
1. Straight long spine. Pay attention to body posture. It is recommended to sit down Japanese style knees and feet together because it is generally easier to create length in the spine & power in the breath. However for individuals who experience pain in the knee or ankles, you may sit down Indian style crossed legged. In either case it is important to ground your body by pressing down knees, ankles, feet (Japanese style) or pressing down sits bones (Indian style). Create a platform with your posture to lengthen your spine.
2. Soft belly. The idea is to relax the belly completely. In this way the belly will naturally inflate & you squeeze the breath vigorously in a split second using all muscles in the lower abdomen and lower back. Then you relax again … soft belly …to effortlessly draw in more breath … and once again squeeze the breath with complete one-pointed focus. The gaze in directed to the reflection of the belly in the mirror.
3. Root lock. By engaging the small muscles at the base of your spine called perineum, it will much easier to coordinate all the muscles which comprise your core abdominal strength. Beginners will pulse this muscle by engaging on exhale and release on inhale. With more practice you will be able to engage root lock beginning to end in Kapal Bhati.
Dizziness and cramping are normal signs indicating proper application of the posture. Again please remember this posture does not create toxins. It removes them post haste. Kapal Bhati is a powerful posture to purify the most sacred temple on Planet Earth called your physical body. These 26 postures are designed to stir up the debris with which you’ve been unconsciously cluttering up your temple. Each time you approach Kapal Bhati, I invite to ask yourself one simple question: Why do the job halfway? Why not finish the job? You’ve stirred up this junk from deep within. Here’s my suggestion … don’t leave in the bloodstream … or the mindstream … or the heartstream … clear it all out and know that your radiant self will feel sooooooooo glorious unencumbered and free.