Kapalabhati (The Skull Shining Breath)

Kapalabhati is a slightly more advanced breathing exercise, but it is a natural progression from the Alternate-Nostril Breathing Exercise. It is a good purifying practice and is invigorating.

Kapalabhati is a series of rapid exhalations and inhalations followed by a retention of the breath. The air pumps in and out of your lungs, and it takes a little practice to obtain the correct rhythm.

Kapalabhati rids the lungs of stale air and opens the way for fresh oxygen. With practice you can work up to thirty, forty, or fifty pumps per series.

1. Begin with an exhalation. To exhale, contract the abdominal muscles, sharply forcing the air out of the lungs. Exhalations are brief and active. You will be able to hear the exhalation in this exercise.

2. To inhale, relax the abdominal muscles your the lungs will fill with air. Inhalation is longer than exhalation and significantly silent compared to exhalation.

3. Allow the movements to cause the diaphragm to move up and down.

4. Practice three rounds of Kapalabhati with twenty pumps in each round. Air will be pushed through your nostrils on the exhalation and you will hear it. It sounds as if you are trying to sniff something out of your nostrils, such as a bee or bug. Although the inhalation is quieter, the combination of the two is rapid. After each round, take a few deep breaths before starting the next round.

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