So my friend Gargi is a world-class yoga practitioner. I mean she not only knows all the positions and all the names, but she speaks Hindi and Sanskrit like a native because she is (Indian of course!)! Now of all the things she has desperately tried to teach me in yoga, my all-time favorite is Kapalwhatchamacallit. Well, it’s actually called Kapalbhati which in Sanskrit means shining skull. So I can tell you that it’s possible that my hair is a bit shinier since I started, but there is definitely no illuminating going on under my hair. In fact, I can’t even remember how to do the salute thing and my storky crane ability is dependent on a wall nearby, but Kapalbhati I’ve got down.
In fact, it’s in my favorite position… sitting down, although Gargi has tried to get me to do it when I’m sitting at my desk, driving in the car or even waiting in the line at the grocery store. Because the benefits are dramatic. Honestly, there is not a single condition, symptom or disease that will not improve with this type of breathing. And let’s not forget the increase in oxygenation which we all can use (some more than others). And lest we forget the most important, first priority, ultimate effect… weight loss! Yes, it is amazing for working the muscles of that stubborn area that you would actually consider paying money to have amputated, the abdomen.
There are runners and high-performance athletes that swear that Kapalbathi can boost energy comparable to the high you feel after a workout. They claim it not only clears their head, but causes the muscles to shift into a pre-workout condition, ready for any challenge. It can even help to promote emptying of the digestive tract (looking for a constipation remedy?).
Now this really is something you should consider. Gargi would be proud, and we would all look like Gargi (gorgeous caramel skin, dark silky hair, thin as a reed with big eyes)! Here’s the one, two, three of it all:
Sit cross-legged in a lotus position or in the more moderate butterfly position. Keep your mouth closed and inhale and exhale quickly through your nose. Each time you exhale, you will quickly pull your abdomen in as fast and as far as you can towards your spine, and let it out as you breathe in. You want to try and get to where you do three in-out cycles per second and start with 20, then increase to 50, then 100, then 200.