Steps to do Kapalbhati Pranayama (Skull Shining Breathing) or (Frontal Brain Cleansing Breathing)
Kapalbhati is also one of the six Shatkarmas (six actions), also known as Shatkriyas (a set of Yogic purification of the body towards moksha (liberation). These six actions are Neti, Kapalbhati, Dhauti, Basti (Enema), Nauli and Trataka. In Sanskrit, “kapal” means forehead or cranium and “bhati” means shining, light, splendour, or knowledge. Another name for this practice is “Kapalshodhana”. Kapalbhati pranayama is a deep breathing and meditation technique that helps you bring a state of clarity to the brain with internal purification, get rid of various ailments and brings a glow on the face.
Kapalbhati Similarities with Bhastrika:
Although kapalbhati is similar to bhastrika, there are important difference. Bhastrika uses force on both inhalation and exhalation expanding and contracting the lungs; whereas kapalbhati reduces the volume of air in the lungs through forced exhalation. In this practice, inhalation remains a passive process which brings the level of air in the lungs back to the basic volume only. This way of breathing reverses the normal breathing process which involves active inhalation and passive exhalation.
Steps to do Kapalbhati Pranayama
The breathing technique helps increase the lungs and respiratory system efficiency by making more oxygen available to the body. That is why it is very effective against the virus like Corona. 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 follow:
- Here we will discuss about steps to do kapalbhati pranayama correctly as well as its benefit and a few precautions. In the Kapalbhati we focus on “exhaling”, inhaling as normal. While exhaling we contract the abdomen muscles with a ‘thrust’ with each exhalation.
- 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 siddha yoni asana with the head and spine straight and the hands resting on the knees.
- 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.
- Inhale deeply through both nostrils, expanding the abdomen, and exhale with a forceful contraction of the abdominal muscles. Do not strain.
- Inhalation and exhalation should be spontaneous. Perform 10 respiration to begin with. Count each respiration mentally. After completing 10 respiration, inhale and exhale deeply.
- The above entire process is one round. Practice 3 to 5 rounds. After completing the rounds, close your eyes and focus on the eyebrow center, feeling emptiness and calm.
- 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.
Breath from the abdomen and not from the chest. You can do more rounds up to 20 to make abdominal muscle stronger.
- It is said that this is the best pranayama to awaken the third eye ( or ajna chakra) and kundalini.
- The breathing technique of kapalbhati introduces the regular fresh oxygen to the blood, and ‘thrust’ removes all impurities from the inner system while exhaling, 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.
- 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.
- Because you suddenly pull your stomach inside, it strengthens the abdominal muscles.With the forceful breaths, kapalbhati clears the respiratory passages, and improves breathing.
- It balances and strengthens the nervous system and tones the digestive system. Makes thoughts and vision clear.
- Due to cleansing effects on lungs it is good for the peoples suffering from emphysema, bronchitis, and TB.
- It is used to energies the mind for mental work, to remove sleepiness and to prepare the mind for meditation.
- 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.
- Pregnant and menstruating women should not practice it.
- Do not continue if you feel headache or dizziness in the process.
- Do not start with long rounds initially.
Kapalbhati should be practiced after asanas.