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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Seetkarma Kapalbhati: A Technique to aid with Respiratory Problems

“If I were not a doctor, I would have to spend all of my savings on your nasal drops!” was the constant teasing I received from my dad when I was a student in high school. With my constant nasal allergies, we were fortunate that my dad regularly received free medical samples of nasal drops, so I was able to clear up my sinuses when needed. But, ultimately, I was fed up with having to constantly use medicine for temporary relief. I wanted to find a way to clear my sinuses and to prevent the congestion without using medicine.One day, I came across a book which stated that yogis would practice a technique called “Neti” which removes all respiratory problems, including blocked nasal passages! Unfortunately, the technique was explained in a crude way and nobody in our small town could guide me in the practice. But my intrigue and hope to find a non-medical cure for my sinuses, motivated me to practice this on my own.Initially, I struggled with the technique. After much practice, I finally mastered the technique and found that my nasal allergies and congestion, which would often lead to wheezing, had totally vanished!It was only after I went to Kanyakumari for my yoga training, I realized it was not “Neti” that I was practicing, as Neti involves the use of a neti pot. I was actually practicing a technique, which used no neti pots, called seetkarma kapalbhati, according to the Gheranda Smhita a Hata yoga text. Outlined is the procedure of the Seetkarma Kapalbhati technique:1.Take a mouthful of normal to lukewarm water.2.Hold the water in your mouth and bend forward, leaning your hands on your knees.3.Inhale fully and push the water in your mouth up close to nasal level by keeping the water on your tongue.4.As the water is close to the nasal passage, breathe out gently and allow the water to flow out along with the air through the nostrils.5.Again, when you have to breathe in, take the tongue down and ensure that the water does not interfere with the air passage. The air coming out of the nostrils pushes out the water and the mucous obstruction the nasal passage.6.Sometimes, all of the mucous is not released in the first try, but the water has loosened the mucous. After a couple of rounds of this technique, blow out of the nostrils, one at a time, so the loosened mucous and remaining water will be forced out, leaving the nasal passage free from congestion.Initially, I regularly practiced this for two months and found immense relief. Now, I just practice this technique on the rare days where I feel a little congested. The wheezing has totally disappeared and I don’t have to subject myself to unnecessary medication! This technique is a little complicated and you may not succeed in one try, but keep attempting, without loosing patience, and you will definitely succeed! Once learned, it is easier than neti and can be incorporated into your morning routine!

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