I already had attended weekly yoga beginner classes for several months until a friend of mine convinced me to join her in a class at her yoga studio. I felt at least half secure to come with her and try a class in another studio without knowing the teachers, the level of the class or the other participants. Knowing the basics, I should be able to at least follow – that’s what I thought.
As always (that’s my nature) I came early to class, my friend wasn’t even there and what I saw nearly let me walk out again: a number of others were already in the room, lying or sitting on their mats (the majority of them in pretty plain yoga outfits and not the fancy, colourful stuff), doing all sorts of breathing or meditation. Oh, no! What have I myself gotten into? It all looked very serious to me and I don’t know if I was more intimidated by the fact that they apparently all knew what to do or by the fact that nobody even noticed me coming. By the time my friend showed up (late, as always – that’s her nature) I had placed myself on my mat at the back of the room and the teacher had arrived giving us instructions to start or continue with our kapalabhati. What?? Ok, then I just try to pretend to know what I was doing. I managed to hold that “stage of pretending” during the breathing and finally enjoyed the rest of the class.
Because I liked the classes so much and because I felt that I really could learn a lot I kept coming back, all the while trying to pretend to do the kapalabhati. It’s not that I didn’t try, it’s just that I didn’t get it until a few lessons later when the teacher approached me saying that I had to work on my breathing. Ha, ha, what a surprise. He gave me detailed instructions but I still had not clue how it worked. The next few lessons I just kept my eyes open and watched the others. Interesting: for them it seemed really easy. Why not for me? And why do I have to do that breathing before the practice anyway? Why not just do the asanas? I have to admit I still thought I could work around it. But on the other hand I wanted to find out more. So I started googling and I continued observing and trying. It must have been weeks after my first lesson there until I experienced for the first time that my kapalabhati became right. And it took me another few weeks until it became stable and another few weeks until it became faster and stronger and more powerful. All in all it must have been six months until I reached the point where I really liked to start the yoga lessons with kapalabhati and until I felt that it is a vital part to the practice.
Having just started with the 200hrs training I now even understand that kapalabhati is not a pranayama but a krya and that it’s translated into “skull shining breath”. It might be another few more weeks or even months until I am ready to include it in my daily morning routine at home and not just do it during yoga classes. But I realized that it is indeed a wonderful tool to start the day and a great way to prepare yourself for practice. Yoga has become a journey for me and kapalabhati is one part of it, although it seemed that especially kapalabhati has been a major milestone for me.
Veronika 200hrs Sept weekday