‘Meditation’ and ‘Kapalbhati’ might seem to be in complete dissent with each other for most of the moderate practitioners. It is only the ‘very few’ ‘evolved practitioners’ of Kapalbhati, who perform with absolute focus or awareness, experience that magical, magnetic and mystical impact of this kriya. The craving to remain in that unique state of isolation, then, takes precedence over its innumerable listed physical benefits.
Kapalbhati has become a common household name not only in India but across continents. The numerous benefits Kapalbhati brings to its practitioners has further added to its popularity. With the acceptance of Kapalbhati as a weight loss tool, respiratory cleansing tool etc., many practitioners focus on the literal practice alone with increased length of time. As a result, they miss the ‘after effect’ which requires a conscious effort on their part. One should be aware that performing Kapalbhati, even for a few minutes, with utmost awareness, will also yield multiple benefits to its practitioners.
We explore different ways to experience ‘Meditation’ or the ‘Pause’ in Pranayama. One of the simplest method to feel that naturally would be to:
- Perform Kapalbhati as per one’s capacity (while maintaining the rhythm of the strokes).
- Once you feel complete in your practice, focus on your retained breath.
- There will be automatic ‘Breath Retention’ after Kapalbhati– a stage where there is no Inhalation or Exhalation; no Force or Stress, but a natural pause. This pause is like a floating effect of prana, known as ‘Kumbhak’. With regular practice, people are able to easily experience this ‘Retention’ for around 40-45 seconds, which can be defined as ‘A state of tranquility’ which merges spiritual self with inner self.
- There would be tingling sensation around the facial area which can be felt only by being aware of every sensation of your body.
Contrary to the natural rhythm of breathing, where inhalation is dominant, Kapalbhati is an exhalation pre-dominant kriya. As a result of which, carbon di oxide is eliminated in larger quantities from the blood, as if, removing the maximum waste product through breathing.
“As large quantity of carbon dioxide is washed out from the blood during kapalbhati, the respiratory center is not stimulated for breathing, on the contrary it is inhibited and one experiences a quite or a tranquilized state of mind. Experimentally it has been observed that the duration of antar kumbhaka (holding the breath internally) increases, if practiced immediately after kapalbhati of 30-45 seconds.”
Those who have experienced and assimilated that ‘Pause’ in its entirety, do Kapalbhati, with the sole intention of experiencing that ‘Pause’ again and again. In their experience, they are in a state of samadhi, in complete sync with the moment and do not feel like exiting that moment. But then, No breathing No life.
One would certainly need to practice Kapalbhati in the right manner to experience that ‘glimpse’ of meditation. No word can ever define that out of the world experience but one’s own practice.
For more details on various aspects of kapalbhati, you can check my following blogs:
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Shammi Gupta, founder of Shammi’s Yogalaya holds an MA in Yoga Shastra, is a certified Yogic Therapist and Naturopath, has completed an Advanced Yoga Course and holds a Diploma in Yoga Education from Mumbai University. She is a certified trainer from American College of Sports Medicine and holds an MBA in HR & MBA in Finance from The University of Akron, Ohio, USA. She conducts Health Awareness Workshops for Corporate, Yogasana Workshops for Athletes and Yoga Therapy Workshops on different medical issues for patients. Among the celebrities Shammi trains are eminent personalities from the film and television industry and corporate world.