Kapalbhati (Breath of Fire)
Winter presents the perfect opportunity to go inwards. The signs of the coming season are all around us: trees have shed their leaves, the plants have died back and summer birds have migrated south. We are moving closer to the shortest day of the year. On the 21st of December winter will officially arrive.
To honor this shift in season our yoga practice will change from the structure we used in the fall. We will continue to slow down the first few sun salutations, this way we can ensure that we are cultivating deep breaths. Moving in a slow and steady rhythm allows us to connect with each breath and its corresponding movement. Slowing down in this manner keeps us from going “on autopilot” and rushing through. Moving slowly we are taking each moment as it comes, allowing the space to open up for meditative movement to unfold in our practice. Moving with intentional deep breaths helps to enliven the body and soothe the nervous system.
To continue to help warm up the body we will be adding a new breath practice for the winter season, Kapalbhati or breath of fire. This breath practice is unique in the way it cultivates a forceful exhale that passively draws in the next inhale. Doing this breath practice builds up heat, strengthens and clears the respiratory system, and acts as a passive abdominal workout. Kaplabhati can take some time to cultivate since the mechanics are so different then the other breath practices we have done so far. We will start this practice as an exploration and over the season we will work to build it up to a full pranayama practice.