Kapalbhati Breathing

IMG_0619Final Kapalbhati breathing is thoughtfully positioned as the last breathing exercise we do at the very end of class. This breathing comes before final Savasana.
Have you ever wondered what happens to your fat when you burn it off?  When you lose 20 pounds or even just take a Bikram class?  Studies show that you actually breathe out almost all of your fat.  That is right.  Through your breath you lose fat (and toxins).  Check out this quick article from the NPR Blog on this topic.
The point in mentioning the study from the NPR article is to highlight, not only another tremendous health benefit of breathing, but also to emphasize the importance of Kapalbhati breath and it's placement at the end of class.
To do this breathing exercise, sit in a kneeling position ideally, with your spine straight.  Put your hands on your knees with straight elbows.  Relax your stomach and exhale the breath quickly and a little forcefully with your abdominal wall.  It may be described to feel like you are blowing out a candle over and over again.  Only focus on the exhale, the inhale will happen automatically.  Repeat two sets of 60 breaths.
This posture is excellent for digestion and will strengthen your abdominal wall.  If you feel cramping this is very normal.  This is also called breath of fire, as is creates internal heat in the body.  It helps to center you energetically and slow your heart rate and breathing at the end of class.