Three Faith Forum

YOGA Magazine brings you news, features, celebrity interviews and everything that’s new in the world of yoga. YOGA Magazine was launched in February 2003 and recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. Regular features include our Teacher of the Month master class, with poses and sequences for beginners and advanced yogis, nutrition and recipes, and the latest books, yoga products and accessories to enhance your practice and improve your wellbeing. We also feature the hottest organic fashion for on and o! the mat, eco beauty, yoga retreats and holistic destinations, alternative therapies, yoga philoso-phy and spirituality, Vedic astrology and fantastic competitions.

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In our diverse society, positive relations between people of different faiths, beliefs and cultures are essential. Unfortunately, we have all seen what can happen when those relations are not as strong as they could be, with recent increases in hate crime and tensions between communities. 3FF, the Three Faiths Forum, has worked tirelessly for over 20 years to build meaningful relationships between people of all faiths, beliefs and backgrounds, and to create a society where difference is celebrated

3FF creates spaces in schools, universities, and the wider community where people can engage with questions of belief and identity and meet people different from themselves. Enabling people to learn from each other in this way is often the most effective way to tackle ignorance and challenge stereotypes – and create understanding and trust between people.

3FF’s programmes reach over 16,000 people a year. They include teachers and students, artists and professionals, political leaders in Parliament and upcoming leaders at university.

The organisation was founded in 1997 to encourage friendship, goodwill and understanding – originally between Muslims, Christians and Jews (hence the ‘three’ in the name). Today, however, the organisation works with people of all faiths and beliefs, both religious and non-religious.

3FF’s inclusive approach welcomes everyone – whether they’re Atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, Humanists, Zoroastrians, or identify with any other belief.

Everyone is welcome to join in building a more connected and supportive society. 3FF believes that intolerance has no place in society and that diversity adds value.

If you share 3FF’s belief in a more inclusive society, please get in touch and get involved.

Find out more: 3!.org.uk/get-involved/

“Kapalbhathi
also affects the
parathyroid
gland situated in
the throat region
helping you to
reduce weight
and stabilise your
metabolic rate.”

Kapalbhathi is one of the most famous breathing exercises in yogic practice and is a wonderful cleansing aid used by students and teachers of Kundalini yoga. It is known
to awaken the Kundalini energy and move the subtler life force energies through the body cleansing out toxins.

Although a difficult exercise to perform if you are a complete beginner, once mastered it will dramatically increase the powers of the senses and improve your health. As with all cleansing exercises, Kapalbhati will help you rid yourself of nasty impurities that have a tendency to make home inside your body and embed themselves into your skin, where if left unchecked cause disease and slow down body function, resulting in lethargy and general lack of shine and beauty.

As you become older your body loses flexibility. Young children are flexible and agile because their bodies have not yet been exposed to the level of toxins and pollutants that older people have. Toxins have a habit of accumulating in the body, especially settling in the tubular channels including the nerves, throat, and so on. They settle and if not cleansed out will continue to build. You can compare it to layers of mud or candle wax. This will stop blood from flowing through properly and at the speed it should. It slows down. The results include high/low blood pressure, heart problems, stroke and other related conditions. Yoga says eat natural foods, cleanse the body with natural cleansing exercises and clean out the pollutants.

When performing yoga asanas, generally there is a basic principle at work. In all the exercises, you are stretching the body, relaxing it, stretching it, holding it, relaxing it.
These movements remove the build up inside caused by the pollutants. Such exercises include the Cobra, which cleans the kidneys and Plough that works on the heart.
Pranayama exercises such as Kapalbhathi will cleanse out the body using breath and the life force energy.

When you perform Kapalbhathi your nervous system is directly affected and it also stimulates your glands, especially the pituitary. It also controls the movements of the heart and advanced level yogis can control the pulse rate of the heart through using this exercise. Masters of yoga can stop the pulse of the heart and go into long Samadhi for days.

Kapalbhathi also affects the parathyroid gland situated in the throat region helping you to reduce weight and stabilise your metabolic rate. Your eyes will also receive a good energy boost as the quick inhalations and exhalations of this exercise refreshes the eyes. The nose and throat also receive a burst of energy enabling them to function better. Through passage of time, the

practitioner of the Kapalbhathi becomes more active and fresh looking, and it helps to control excess body weight and improve clarity of thinking.

Before performing Kapalbhathi, keep in mind the following:

  • Blow and clean out each nostril as this helps you inhale and exhale breath quicker.
  • Do not eat at least 2-3 hours before performing this exercise, as it will slow down the body.
  • Select a well ventilated room for performance of the exercise otherwise it will affect the manner in which you breathe.  If  you cannot find such a place then perform the
    exercise near an open window.
  •  Wear loose fitting clothes, as tight ones will make it more difficult for you to inhale and exhale breathe.
  • When this breathing exercise is performed you have to sit in a certain posture to derive maximum results. For centuries, the yogis have used Padmasana(Lotus). If you are finding it difficult to sit in this posture ,try to cross – legged (or ‘Easy’ pose as it is known).

You should note that there are hundreds of benefits of performing the lotus posture and many, if not all, yogic and similar disciplines including Zen use this asana in their practice. The lotus  posture is also used in religious practices including Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism.

The physical benefits of lotus include:

  • Strengthening and firming of the knee cartilage.
  • Easing the pain experienced by arthritis and rheumatism.
  • Toning the muscles of the legs.
  • Increasing the flexibility of  the spine.
  • Refreshing the flow of blood.
  • Cleansing the chakras.
  • Activating and strengthening  the nadis of the body.
  • Making the abdomen firmer by reducing the fat accumulated in the area.
  • Lotus is excellent for maditative practice, enhancing  the movements of energy through Ajna ( the centre of intution).

How to perform kapalbhathi

  • Sit down in either Lotus or cross legged posture.
  • keep you neck up and spine straight.
  • At the beginning of this exercise  put your left hand onto your belly but don’t press down too hard. This will also help you appreciate that you are actually performing an exercise.
  • Close you eyes and inhale breathe through the nose. Keep your mouth closed. when you do this feel the breathe entering the nostrils by concentrating on it.
  • When you are doing this push your belly button with your hand and exhale breathe out.

“The Kapalbhathi
should be
performed
everyday for at
least 5-10 minutes
and preferably
early morning
on an empty
stomach.”

There is a time limit on how long you should
hold the breath or exhale which is important, and
it is the underlying process of this exercise and
that which differentiates it from other breathing
exercises. The time should be 1 second when
inhaling and 1 second when exhaling. Ultimately,
after practice, the time should be reduced to 1/2 a
second and then 1/4 of a second and so on, until
you are inhaling and exhaling quickly, almost as if
you are sniffing. (You should know when you have
mastered the exercise because the sound of your
breath will be as if an instrument is cutting and
slicing the air – in your case it is the breath).

The Kapalbhathi should be performed everyday for at least 5-10 minutes and preferably early morning on an empty stomach. If you have eaten, wait at least 2-3 hours because that will process will have slowed down your nervous system.

Because the exercise has a forceful impact on the lungs you should not practise if you are suffering from an existing chest, heart or respiratory problem as you may cause more damage. You should stop performing the exercise if you experience any sharp pain, feel nausea and/or faint. If you begin wheezing, immediately stop the exercise and leave for a few days before returning.

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