Often at the end of an hour long breathing class, Nevine will have us hold our arms above us at a high diagonal and make fists with our hands then release our thumbs so they are facing in toward each other. With our eyes closed, we imagine a beautiful arching rainbow spreading from thumb to thumb overhead above us.
Then we pump out a round of kapalabhati breaths, which are short, sharp exhalations out the nose, while keeping the mouth closed.
After about 100 pumpings, we stop and retain the breath, filling up our lungs and tucking our chin in to our chest. We hold for as long as we can; and when we feel like we are about to burst, we touch our thumbs overhead and pop a giant golden water balloon above us and the gifts rain down upon us. We let our hands fall back to our knees with palms open like cups to receive the gifts.
I honestly feel elated and giddy every time I do this pranayama exercise. I think envisioning a rainbow above us every day is the best way to cultivate an inner smile and to open ourselves up to the endless possibilities in life. Try practicing this breathing exercise when you mediate, before or after an asana practice, or whenever you need a pick me up.
Rainbow breath helps us tap in to our deep creativity and potential; and it keeps us young at heart. Let’s face it, is there anyone out there who doesn’t feel inspired or excited when they see a rainbow? Keep a rainbow above you at all times and let the gifts of the universe rain down upon you.
Kristin McGee is a celebrity yoga and Pilates instructor in New York City. She is the star of over 100 videos, a contributing editor at Health Magazine and a spokeswoman for many brands and causes she believes in. Kristin also appears frequently on television. A proud mom to three, she sure keeps herself busy!