Learn about breath of fire (kapalabhati pranayama) to increase energy, remove toxins, improve digestion and reduce stress.
The breath is an incredibly powerful tool to regulate the nervous system and influence our energy levels, but since it happens automatically, we often don’t give it much thought.
One of my go-to techniques when I am feeling tired, cold or uninspired is breath of fire, also known as skull-shining breath (kapalabhati pranayama). I find it particularly helpful in the morning or during a mid-day slump when I need a boost of energy — sans caffeine.
Along with increasing energy, breath of fire can also:
Boost your immune system
Detoxify and cleanse your lungs
Deliver oxygen to the body, which can help with muscle soreness
Strengthen your abdominal muscles
Breath of fire is often used in kundalini yoga practices and involves a passive inhale and active, forceful exhale. Are you ready to try it out? This short tutorial will guide you through the practice.
Here are the steps for practicing breath of fire (kapalabhati pranayama):
Take a comfortable seat. You can sit on a cushion or pillow to allow your spine to form a natural curve
Begin with a few deep breaths in and out of your nose. Allow your inhale and exhale to be the same length. Repeat a few times
Place a hand on your belly. Start practicing the passive inhales and active exhales, but keep your breath slow and equal. Take a normal inhale through your nose. Forcefully exhale through your nose while your belly moves in to push the air out. Repeat a few times
Instead of placing your hand on your belly, you could lift your hand up and make a fist as you exhale. Then open your fingers as you inhale
Once you get used to the forceful exhale, you can begin to speed up your breath for 30 seconds
After 30 seconds, return to a normal inhale and exhale for a few rounds of breath
Over time, you can increase the time from 30 seconds to 2-3 minutes
If you feel dizzy or lightheaded, slow down your breath or pause the practice
This breath is not recommended if you are currently experiencing a heart condition, spinal disorders such as a herniated disc, respiratory infection, have high blood pressure, or are pregnant.
How do you feel after trying breath of fire? I often feel a glow throughout my entire body and my mind is more alert. Leave me a comment below and let me know about your experience. If you found the technique helpful, share it with your community and subscribe to my YouTube channel for more tutorials.