How to do Kapalbhati Yoga Pranayama (Skull Shining Breathing Technique)

In Sanskrit, “kapal” means forehead and “bhati” means shining. Kapalbhati pranayama is a deep breathing and meditation technique that helps you with internal purification, get rid of various ailments and brings a glow on the face. The breathing technique helps increase the lungs and respiratory system efficiency by making more oxygen available to the body.

In the Kapalbhati we focus on “exhaling”, inhaling as normal. While exhaling we contract the abdomen muscles with a ‘thrust’ with each exhalation. Due to its breathing technique, the diaphragm gets plenty of exercise and it becomes more flexible, pliable, and stronger. Kapalbhati has shown remarkable results to yoga lovers all over the world.

Steps to do Kapalbhati Pranayama

It requires a steady pose as stomach muscles need to move freely. Padmasana is the best pose for this purpose; however, one can also perform it while sitting in the vajrasana, swastikasan or any comfortable dhyan pose.

Ideally, kapalbhati should be practiced with an empty stomach in the early morning; however, it can also be practiced in a gap of 4 hours after the meal.It is very simple to perform, however, physically you need to be aware of the process. Sit in a steady posture and make sure the spine is straight. Place the hands in front or on the knees, according to the sitting pose. Close your eyes and focus on the breathing.

Now, breathe in normally and exhale with a force, quickly and suddenly making a ‘puffing’ sound, focus on exhaling completely in such a way that the stomach should go inside when forcing out the air from the lungs.

Initially, you can continue the practice as per your comfort counting the minute or number of breathing, and increase later on. You can also increase the speed of breathing according to your comfort. After a few rounds, take a little break of 30 seconds to get normal breathing.

kapalbhati pranayamaImage Courtesy: yogachary.blogspot.in

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Benefits

  1. It is said that this is the best pranayama to awaken the third eye ( or ajna chakra) and kundalini.
  2. The breathing technique of kapalbhati introduces the regular fresh oxygen to the blood, and ‘thrust’ removes all impurities from the inner system while exhailing, This gives you instant energy and body cells are rejuvenated and due to this energy brain works faster and more efficiently.you may also feel improved concentration and heightened senses.
  3. Kapalbhati done even for 30 minutes generate enough heat in the body which makes your face glow and remove abdominal fat. It is the perfect exercise for weight loss and obesity through yoga.
  4. Because you suddenly pull your stomach inside, it strengthens the abdominal muscles.With the forceful breaths, kapalbhati clears the respiratory passages, and improves breathing.

Precautions

  1. Certain diseases and disorders may become complicated if kapalbhati is performed without consulting with your doctor or a qualified yoga instructor. It is not recommended for those who suffer from heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, hernia, spinal disorders, abdominal disorders, colds, nasal obstruction, and other severe respiratory infections as breathing is not comfortable in all these conditions.
  2. Pregnant and menstruating women should not practice it.
  3. Do not continue if you feel headache or dizzyness in the process.
  4. Do not start with long rounds initially.

[highlight]It is advisable to perform any asana in the supervision of a qualified yoga instructor.[/highlight]
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