Clarifying Your Sankalpa: Kapalabhati Pranayama

Clarifying Your Sankalpa: Kapalabhati Pranayama

500 hour yoga instructor training programBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

Setting a Sankalpa for the coming year will help to sustain your efforts in every area of your life. Clarifying your Sankalpa differs from a New Year’s resolution in several ways. A Sankalpa is founded on a strong underlying desire for knowledge of the divine and a commitment to following a path of service to the world through adherence to one’s dharma. A New Year’s resolution is frequently self-centered. For instance, common New Year’s resolutions may entail losing 10 pounds or getting a raise at work. On the other hand, a Sankalpa is informed by the desire for knowledge of the divine energy that permeates all living beings and a wish to uplift the world by offering service through one’s talents and skills.

The process of clarifying a Sankalpa for the coming year is multi-layered. The first step is to quiet your body and mind long enough for clarity to arise from within your being about the best course of action for the year. Pranayama, or Yogic breathing exercises, are the best tools for quieting the body and mind. Dirga Pranayama, or Three Part Breath, will help to balance your nervous system and quiet your mind. Kapalabhati Pranayama, or Skull Shining Breath, will help blow away all of your extraneous thoughts so that you can more easily access your heart’s deepest desires.

Kapalabhati Pranayama or Skull Shining Breath

To practice Skull Shining Breath, sit in a comfortable cross-legged position on your Yoga mat. If your hips are tight, you may wish to sit on a blanket for extra support. Take a few deep, complete breaths. Skull Shining Breath entails repeated rounds of forcefully expelled air, followed by smooth, passive inhalations.

When you are ready to begin, exhale all the air out of your lungs by pulling in the lower part of your stomach area and then inhaling smoothly and softly. One round of Skull Shining Breath comprises a gentle, full inhale, followed by a forceful exhale. Generally, one set consists of 20 or 30 breaths.

Pacing Yourself

You may wish to work up to 30 rounds at a time by doing several sets of 10 breaths and then resting for a moment or two between sets. As you practice Kapalabhati Pranayama, imagine that you are invigorating your brain with fresh oxygen and clearing away all limiting thoughts and negative beliefs to make room for uplifting thoughts that will support you in implementing your Sankalpa.

As your mind is freed from the constraints of negativity and separation, the true desires of your heart will arise from within. These heartfelt desires will guide and sustain you as you honor your unique Sankalpa in the coming year.

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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