By: Jessica Jayne
Kapha dosha is derived from the water and Earth elements; so its qualities are slow, steady, dense, heavy, and damp. When Kapha is out of balance; everything is slow moving. Including bodily fluids, energy, mental functioning, and all of the bodily systems.
To combat this slow, lethargic, dense energy; our practice to balance Kapha dosha will be full of fire and air- like energies. Invoking heat, cultivating lightness, and embracing whimsical, air-like movements.
Fiery Breath work & Energy-Mover: Breath of Joy
Caution: If you have low blood pressure, are pregnant, or feel dizzy at all during this breath work practice, do not continue with this.
The breath of joy is exactly that-- breath work that awakens the JOY within. This is a three-part inhale, big exhale breath work practice with movement.
Start by standing at the top of the mat with feet about hip bone distance apart.
On your first inhale, inhale through the nose filling up the lowest part of the abdomen, bringing your arms forward in space a swooshing motion. Quickly inhale again to fill up the ribs and take the arms out to a ‘T’, and quickly inhale again to fill up the rest of the torso and bring the arms up overhead. It should go like “Inhale, inhale, inhale” with the arm movements.
On the exhale, bend your knees and come into Uttanasana(forward fold) with a big exhale through the mouth and send your arms slightly back in space. Immediately with the breath, press down through the feet and start the practice over again. Starting with the inhale to bring the arms forward in space. It should feel relatively smooth and fluid with the arm movements and breath patterns.
Practice this breath work for five-ten rounds, and when you are finished stand in a standing position and pause, breathing deeply into the belly.
After practicing the breath work, plant your feet about shoulder width distance apart, and bend your knees slightly so they aren’t locking.
Shake out your arms and then completely let go of all muscle control within them, so they fall with gravity alongside your body.
When ready, begin twisting the torso from side to side, allowing the arms to fall with gravity and hit your side body as you go.
Begin breathing deeply into the belly and exhaling through the mouth. Continue this for at least ten breaths and go as fast as you’d like without causing any pain or discomfort in your shoulders.
Once you have completed, pause, and feel the energy surging through your body.
Now, bring your feet back to hip bone distance and come intoTadasana(Mountain Pose). We will now move through a version of Surya Namaskar A(Sun Salutation A) to awaken the body even more. When moving through Surya Namaskar, think of the same ‘fluid and flowing’ motion, moving breath with body, as we did in the breath of joy practice.
From Tadasana, inhale and lift the arms up to Urdhva Hastana(Upward Mountain Pose) and exhale folding forward to Uttanasana.
Inhale and lift the spine halfway bringing the crown of the head forward in space and spine long, and exhale forward fold.
Inhale and lift your spine halfway once again, bringing your hands to blocks or the Earth, and very slowly start to lift your left leg off of the ground and send it back in space.
Go very slowly, experiencing the lightness in your body as you point your toes back and lengthen your leg long. Very slowly, begin to lower your toes down coming to a runner's lunge position.
Pause here as you inhale and lift your chin up in space, bringing your heart forward, lengthening your left heel back as you lift through the inner thigh.
When ready, inhale and send your left leg back and pause in plank pose. Be sure to keep your body stable by pressing firmly into your fingertips and activating the forearms, pressing the heart slightly up and back in space so you aren’t collapsing into the shoulders, and slightly tucking the pubic bone toward the belly. Pause here for three breaths.
If you feel comfortable in Chaturanga Dandasana, on your next inhale slightly shift your weight forward bringing your shoulders over your fingertips, and exhale to lower down as slow as possible, keeping the shoulders active and not allowing them to collapse. If you do not keep comfortable in Chaturanga, or find yourself dipping into the hips or shoulders when you lower (which can be dangerous for the joints) lower the knees and slowly lower yourself to the Earth.
Once there, root down through the pelvis as if you are scooping it towards the front of the mat, and bring your arms slightly wider than the mat in the same line with your breastbone.
On the inhale, come into spider fingers (fingertips on the Earth, rounding the cups of the palm) and lift the heart into a variation of cobra pose. Only come as far as is comfortable, and allow the breath to be your main guide. Do this for five breaths coming up and down with each inhale and exhale.
Once completed, bring the hands back underneath your shoulders and go back to Adho Mukha Svanasana(Downward Facing Dog). Pause here for five breaths and move around in any exploratory/mindful way.
Come back to Uttanasana, and do the same sequence on the other side.