Friday, December 2, 2016

Power Up Your Life & Make Stress Work 4 You: excerpt # 9

Kappalabhati: Breath Your Stress Away
''The most efficient coping mechanism ever in stress management'

Specifically recommended to counter the negative effects of stress and burn out, this exercise deeply affect the nervous system.  It brings about a hyper-oxygenation of the blood and a momentary CO2 reduction, which as the effect of calming the respiratory system.  This system, in return, relaxes the nerves, thus creating an incomparable energizing effect.
'Kappalabhati; oxygenates the brain, increases endorphins (the feel good hormone) in the brain and restores vital energy in the body.  The effects of this breathing technique offer inestimable benefits for nervous, stressed or burned-out people.
This exercise is harmless because the arterial pressure always remains within normal physiological limits.  Nevertheless, it is not recommended for people suffering from serious pulmonary or cardiac conditions.
'Kappalabhati' consists of forced brief expulsion airbursts, each time followed by a passive air intake. Contrary to normal breathing where the inhalation is active and exhalation passive, the opposite occurs in this instance.
The exercise can be performed standing up, however, it is the kneeling position which is the most comfortable.  The spine must be erect while the head is well balanced.  The chest must remain as immobile as possible throughout the exercise.  The abdominal girth, which comprises the muscles in the sub-navel area, is the motor of the exercise.
Kneel down and sit on your knees (sitting on a chair is also acceptable, if you have a problem with your knees), with both hands resting on your thighs.
Straighten the spine, expand your torso, immobilize it and concentrate on your abdomen.  Now, release the abdominal girth until your belly hangs out and then contract the girth suddenly while exhaling abruptly through your nose (or through your mouth if there is a problem with your nose).  This contraction will cause a brutal expulsion of air from your lungs.  Release the abdominal girth naturally and allow air to enter passively and silently through your nose and into your lungs,
The complete exercise consists of of succession of abrupt expulsions of air followed by passive inhalations.
In this exercise, it is the sub-navel girth area that is the most active.  Remember that the most important is the force of the exhalation, not the quantity of the air inhaled.
The exercise speed must be increased progressively.  At the beginning, the rhythm is increased in order to reach 60 expulsions per minutes.  When the exercise is well mastered, 10 expulsions per minute is added until a maximum of 120 expulsions per minute is reached.  The expulsions must last at least 3 times longer that the inhalation.  Three series of 120 expulsions per minutes interspersed with a rest period represents a goal to be reached.
Kneel or sit on your kneels (Japaneze zazen position), with the spine erect and the head in a stable position.  The expanded chest remains immobile throughout the exercise.
- The sudden and vigorous contraction of the stomach muscles expulse the air from your lungs
- The controlled release of the abdominal muscles triggers the passive inhalation
- The face and nostrils are relaxed during the inhalation
- The air expulsion is three times longer than the inhalation
- The amount and length of the sessions are progressively increased until three series of 120    expulsions per minutes are reached
- A one minute rest is recommended before starting again
- The minimal length of a session should be 3 minutes, but may be prolonged to 10 or even 15 minutes
The most common mistakes are:
- To move the chest
- To relax the spine
- To sacrifice the strength of the expulsion for the benefit of the speed
- to be distracted during the exercise
- To raise the legs
To feel light-headed after the exercise is due to the fact that you're putting too much emphasis on the inhalation, which is a mistake.  Revise the technique, make the proper corrections and start again.

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Dr. Pierre Milot, Ph.D., Ph.D. (tc)
Therapeutic Counsellor - Author
Online - Phone - One-on-one consultations
Info or free evaluation: 613.703.9237

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