India is a land of many secrets and its scientific discoveries are true works of wonder. Astronomy, Medicine, Metallurgy, Mathematics etc… flourished in a society that excelled at just about everything. India is also the birthplace of the famous Yogic science, which has gained worldwide popularity in recent years. Foreigners come by the thousands to learn this intricate art of developing control over one’s body and mind. Why has this gained sudden popularity and why are people ready to invest so much money in it?
The answer lies in our current lifestyle. The stress of running our everyday life, balancing everything, in addition to unhealthy eating and sleep habits, combined with stress from work has added quite a few kilograms to everybody’s waistline. Today unless they are already gifted with a body that never seems to go out shape, or make it their only work to maintain a fit body, it has become difficult to sort out a sufficient work-out schedule within our hectic day. More people, even children as young as three to five years old are falling prey to Obesity and its consequential ailments. But this is slowly taking a turn for the good after the long due recognition that Yoga has gained. Yes, Yoga can and will aid you in the arduous journey of weight loss.
There are many different branches of yoga. The broader classification is Physical Yoga and Pranayama. Physical yoga involves bending the Body into different postures called Asanas. The motion and position of the body in each Asana, activates different Chakras or combination of Chakras designed to heal specific illnesses. Pranayama on the other hand is a breathing exercise that one uses to develop control over one’s breathing and consequentially energise the healing centres of the body and stimulate our brain activity. Pranayama combined with meditation, works in helping you to slow down the Ageing process.
While Yogic asanas are tempting, they are demanding on the body and time consuming. Pranayama is easy on the body and few minutes of effectively practising it per day can bring about visible changes to your body and mind. There are also people who may not be able to practise proper yogic asanas due to physical challenges. They need external aid to lose weight and keep in shape. But pranayama is a simple solution to this prevalent condition.
Pranayama activates our enzyme production, regulates hormones and relieves stress. It is a great way to get rid of excess sugar and fat in the body. With benefits like better mental attitude, healthy life and longevity, we surely can set aside a few minutes of our time every day for this. It helps us deal with life in a smooth, calm manner. It is a natural inculcator of self control, self awareness and confidence. Routine practise will bring an organic positive change in our lifestyle.
Pranayama has various divisions to it, each with its own set of benefits and significance. The breathing exercise best known for its weight loss capabilities is the Kapalbhati Pranayama. It is especially welcomed for concentrating on the midriff area, which is a major concern for most of us trying to lose weight.
Kapalbhati Pranayama, also called as the Belly breathing involves the direct use of the abdominal muscles in addition to the breathing exercise. Regular pranayama is regulating your breathing in prolonged, seamless repetitions of Inhalation and Exhalation, using one nostril at a time. Kapalbhati works on your visceral muscles, literally wringing them into releasing and consuming the excess fat stored in them. The best part is the feasibility. It can be practised anywhere with minimal intrusion in our busy schedule. It also consumes less time than doing full scale sets of Yogica asanas or spending hours at the gym. The fact that it is free, unlike a gym where we pay thousands of rupees each month, is just the cherry on the cake. You also need no equipment to get yourself started on it. After an intense session of Kapalbhati, you will feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Let us discuss how this process works.
It may not be easy at first, but continuous practise of it will give you full control over your abdominal muscles. The air is literally forced out of the body from every crevice of the body that we can conceivably imagine. This results in alternated inward and outward movement of the belly. The exercise increases heart rate, digestion and burns calories much better than a conventional weight loss method.
Since, any science has rules to prevent it from becoming harmful to mankind, Kapalbhati also has certain rules that have to be strictly followed to prevent any side effects.
· Always perform Kapalbhati on an empty stomach.
· This is not recommended for pregnant women and people with respiratory illnesses.
· Inhale and Exhale smoothly with plenty of time in between to prevent hyperventilation.
· Follow the instructions carefully as the science is full of nuance and wrong process may cause harm to your body.
· Assume a diet along with the Pranayama practice to achieve the best results. This must be performed before practising the physical asanas.
· Remember to practise Kapalbhati daily for the best results.
We are sure the question on your mind is how do we do it. The below instructions carefully detail how the exercise works and how long it takes to do it.
· Sit on the floor in the yogic Padmasana Position with a straight back.
· Take a deep, steady breath. As you inhale suck in your stomach as much as possible.
· Relax the abdomen and inhale as per usual.
· This has to be repeated a minimum of 15 times, to work.
· Focus your mind and body on a singular object or a lamp light.
· As and when your body feels weary, take a break.
Thus Kapalabhati is one of the best breathing exercises that will tone your body into the desired shape. Throw away your laziness and spare 15 minutes of your time on this wonderful science that is leading to a fitter, healthy generation.