She called me a “roach”. It was after a pretty heated argument. Intellectually I knew she was jealous, I knew she was just upset because I had gotten the promotion and she didn’t. Still I was fuming. Angry. Wanting revenge.
A roach? Did Kafka himself make his way into my life in an unprecedented move. Was I dreaming?
Because seriously, who calls someone THAT? Aren’t we a bit more sophisticated already?
But I am silly sometimes, and after I heard the rather strange insult, oh boy!
I was swimming in a pool of anger, hatred and black, muddy waters, filled with excrement.
So I did the only thing I know how to do in situation like that.
I went to the nearest bathroom and turned around.
I became Wonder Woman, my favorite super-hero. Hear me out, she is a woman from the “Amazon” who has super powers, and comes to the USA and decides to stay because of love… Ahhh.
She is ME!
But on that day I used my kind of transformation which has nothing to do with turning around and taking my glasses off, although I also do that occasionally when nobody is looking…
It’s a breathing technique I learned from yoga.
It is called Kapalabhati and it means “Skull Shining“.
This simple pre-pranayama exercise has the power to calm and clear the mind, as long as it is done right, and not in a “circus” kind of way, or a rushed way…
I’ve been to the edges of the world to learn the right way to do it, so that when practiced with intention and over time you can reap the benefits of a peaceful mind whenever life sends you a ball-curve, enjoy it!
Here are some very important tips for it before you go and practice with the video (below)
- THE SEAT: You need to have a grounded seat where:
- The SPINE is relatively straight, as much as you can, with practice it will get better.
- The KNEES are below your hips (so use a cushion as I do, under your butt)
- The EYE-GAZE is relaxed, following the line along the nose, but never crossing the eyes)
- You engage the PERINEUM and the pumping will happen in the LOWER ABDOMEN
- The UPPER abdomen will remain RELAXED (this is HARD, I know!) but with practice it is possible to isolate the lower part of the abdomen to do the pumping while the upper abdomen remains relaxed
- Shoulders, neck, face, nose, eyes, tongue, all RELAXED
- Inhale normally
- Exhale half way and exhale forcefully, pumping from the lower belly as if you were trying to hit the sacrum (sacred area) with your lower belly
- Then let the INHALE HAPPEN NATURALLY (don’t force it)
- NEVER Force anything
- Go at your own pace
- If you loose the rhythm stop, you can practice again tomorrow
- Easy does it
- Start with ten
- Put the inner focus on the sacrum, and on the pumping of with the lower belly.
These Are Some Questions I Get Often:
1) Shouldn’t I focus on the third eye?
No, not yet… that is for advanced practitioners… People who might be able to do 125 counts in a minute, and rushing never gets anybody anywhere in yoga
2) Were should I put the focus on then?
On the lower belly, on the pumping of the sacrum, the fanning of the lower energy centers.
3) How many should I do?
Check for your self, start with ten counts, do one pump, let the inhale happen naturally, then try another pump
Should I try to do thirty all at once if I have never done it?
Always think QUALITY FIRST.
Take your time…
4) I’ve been to a class where teachers tell us to move our arms, why not do that?
That is not classical yoga kapalabhati. Be aware of movements that do not help the object of the pose which is to fan the energy from the lower parts to higher parts of the bodies and to clear the mind.
5) Is kapalabhati a pranayama?
No, it is a kryia, meaning one of the six “cleansing exercises” that yogis do before practicing yoga-asana, and a good one to do in the morning.
6) What is the Benefit of it?
It clears the frontal cortex, the mind that is always talking. If you practice with patience and the right way, you feel an inner peace that you will love.
7) Should I practice if I just ate?
No, you will feel nauseous.
8) When should I practice?
Ideally in the morning and on an empty stomach, in a place away from the sun but with good pure air around you.
9) I have more questions…
Great! Comment below. I love questions!
IT was kapalabhati that saved me from the roach insult and had me laughing about it within a few minutes…
I love Wonder Woman!
Claudia Azula Altucher is a teacher of all branches of yoga. She is the author of “Become An Idea Machine,” & Co-Author of “The Power Of No.” You can find her on Twitter, or sign up for her newsletter to stay in touch.