Expert Instructions For Breath Of Fire Yoga Meditation

Everyone is doing the yoga Breath Of Fire yoga meditation technique (a.k.a Kapalbhati / Skull Luster). It is one of the best meditations used in yoga.

At a time when both yoga and meditation are taking the world by storm, this thousands-of-years-old meditation technique has suddenly become immensely popular, and it is easy to see why. Breath of Fire yoga offer lots of health benefits, and it is relatively easy to do even for newcomers.

Try combining this technique with one of the traditional kinds of yoga for a complete mind-body healing session. You will feel fantastic afterwards.

Let’s look at what Breath Of Fire yoga is, the benefits, and how to do it properly. And you will probably want to read my list of the best yoga breathing exercises for beginners, too!

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What Is The Breath Of Fire Yoga And What Benefits Does This Meditation Offer?

Breath Of Fire yoga is one of the most popular breathing meditations in 2020 [read: The Best Breathing Meditations]

Alongside  Dhyana and Bhakti, Breath Of Fire is one of the best meditations for yogis to practice.

But what is it?

It is a Kundalini Yoga meditation technique that uses a particular style of pranayama (yogic breathing) to relax the body and mind.

There are many benefits of Breath Of Fire Yoga. You can use it to reduce chronic pain, improve mental health, and increase core strength.

But a warning:

As a meditation teacher, I frequently teach Breath Of Fire Yoga. And many of my students tell me that they sometimes feel light-headed doing this method (at which point I advise them to stop and go gently with it).  This light-headedness is one of the side effects of the technique. So be mindful and keep an eye out for any adverse side effects, in which case, stop.

That said, there are many benefits of Breath Of Fire Yoga too. Let’s take a look.

Benefits  

Breath Of Fire is one of the best ways of using yoga to build positive energy.  It clears your mind and relaxes you. And it also gets a lot deeper than that.

One of the most amazing things about Kapalbhati pranayama is that it strengthens both your mind and your body at the same time.

Scientific research.

The International Journal Of Medical & Pharmaceutical Sciences conducted a study in which they asked young and healthy participants to practice Kapalbhati pranayama for 12 weeks, starting with 30 times for one minute a day, then increasing to 5  minutes/day,  twice  daily,  thrice/  week  for  12  weeks.   by one minute each day. The researchers concluded that “12 weeks of Kapalabhati pranayama training showed improvement in the cardio-respiratory parameters with significant decrease in [respiratory rate] may be attributed to a calm and stable mind-emotion complex in our subjects. Hence we conclude that pranayama training is useful in reducing [respiratory rate]  through psycho-somatic mechanisms and that this enhances the health and well being of young subjects.”

Here are more benefits of Kapalbhati yoga practice.

Kapalbhati pranayama calms the mind:

When you breathe properly you are naturally more relaxed, right? Well, by regularly practicing Breath Of Fire Yoga you will cleanse your lungs and diaphragm and this will make your breath easier and more relaxing. In turn, your mind will naturally calm.

Core strength

When you practice Kapalabahti pranayama you exercise your abdomen rigorously. Hello, Six Pack.

Detoxify

It helps circulate blood around your body more efficiently, and this removes toxins, helping your body to detoxify.

Pain relief:

By eliminating toxins and relaxing both the mind and body, Breath of Fire meditation reduces pain and soothes your aching muscles. This can help with chronic pain, and it can also help you to relax after a workout if you have strains.

Mental Health:

Research shows that regular practice of Breath Of Fire helps reduce negative emotions, lower stress, and fight anxiety and depression. You can really feel the emotional release when you practice Kapalbhati pranayama.

Cognitive function:

Forget brain training, Kapalbhati will strengthen your cognitive function in just a few weeks. The increased blood-flow to the brain helps your neurons to stay active, boosting cognitive functioning.

Sounds great, don’t you think? So how do you do it? Let’s take a look.

breath of fire yoga meditation cartoon
breath of fire yoga meditation cartoon

How to Do Breath Of Fire Yoga Meditation Properly

Guys, here’s the deal:

The first time you do this exercise, your abs may ache a little, and you might feel light-headed.

You know what that means: Go slow and take it easy, my friends.

Start by practising Kapalabahti pranayama for just 30 seconds. Then build it up over time.

INSTRUCTIONS 

  1. Sit tall and straight. You want to create good space between your navel and your heart.
  2. Take a few relaxing breaths through your nose just to relax.
  3. When you exhale, press your abdomen in. When you inhale, press your abdomen out.
  4. When you inhale, imagine that your diaphragm is like a balloon filling with air. Then observe the air flowing out of you as you exhale, pressing your abdomen in.
  5. Gradually increase your speed. Your breath will be loud and fast. You want to aim to make your inhales and exhales last the same amount of time, so you’re establishing a rhythm.
  6. Once you’ve finished, continue to meditate but relax and stop forcing your inhales and exhales. Let the breath come and go naturally (like you do when practising Anapanasati).

So that’s how to do Breath Of Fire yoga. But let me share with you some of my favourite tips so you can make sure you’re doing it correctly.

Tips  

Now you know how to do Breath Of Fire yoga properly, here are a few helpful tips and pointers:

  • When you’re taking breaths, aim to make inhales and exhales the same length and do not pause between them.
  • Make sure that you are always breathing through the nostrils rather than through the mouth.
  • Be careful if you ever practice this technique when you have sinus issues. If you have any kind of respiratory problem (like asthma), make sure you consult a healthcare professional before starting.
  • You can make kapalbhati pranamaya more effective by exhaling until the point where you can feel energy rising naturally in your stomach. Let this energy take over as you naturally take a big inhale.  You will still feel energised, but it will be a more natural energy that is causing the inhalation.
  • If you notice that you are making funny facial expressions (such as squinting) or that there is tension in your body (such as clenched fists) you are not performing kalapabhati pranayama correctly. Stop. Relax. Now try again with more ease.
  • You will probably want to practice Breath Of Fire for more than 3 minutes. This is a mistake a lot of beginners make. As you probably know, most meditations last twenty minutes or longer, but this one is different. It is a short and intense practice and should not be done for long periods. Once you have practised the method a few times, you can go for a little bit longer, but don’t exceed 10 minutes.
  • If you are not used to doing deep-breathing exercises, you may experience minor side-effects of kapalbhati. You might experience mild dizziness or light-headedness. This is normal. It is only because you are not used to taking in so much breath. If you do start to experience more severe side-effects, stop immediately and switch to a more relaxed, easier meditation technique.
  • And seriously. Guys, please don’t do Breath of Fire meditation while pregnant. There are serious risks to this!

Conclusion

Try Breath of Fire Yoga for 3 minutes right now, if you haven’t yet.

Notice how you feel energised but relaxed? Notice that strong feeling in your abdomen, and that inner strength in your mind? That’s what this exercise is all about.

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Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a qualified meditation teacher and writer with more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation. You can read his books on Amazon

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Robert Byrne

    THanks for a greal pice of info

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