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KAPALBHATI - Benefits, Procedure & Precautions

Updated: Jun 18, 2023



This article covers :

Introduction || How to do || SCIENCE || PRECAUTIONS || BENEFITS


Kapal = 'Forehead' or 'skull', while 'Bhati'= Shine means shining. So Kapalbhati literally means 'shining forehead'. It is one of the six techniques of Shatkarma(yogic practice of internal cleansing)


This shine doesn't mean your 'fair and lovely' kind of glitter, but the one achieved from removal of toxins from the body.

It is reverse of natural breathing process where we inhale more and exhale less, here you do ACTIVE EXHALATION and passive(happens by itself) inhalation.


STEPS

  • Sit in a comfortable cross legged posture, make sure spine is erect.

  • Place your hands in yoga mudra or back of the palms on the knee.

  • Take a deep breath in.

  • Make a forceful exhalation pulling your navel back towards the spine, and exhaling sharply through nostrils.

  • As you relax the navel and abdomen, the breath automatically flows into your lungs.

  • You may keep your right hand on the stomach to feel the abdominal muscles contract.


One can do rounds of 10, 20, 30 ... while taking rest in between.

Slowly build the number up.

Start with gentle speed and a gap of approx 1.5 seconds between consecutive kapalbhati.


Notice you are making a deliberate effort to of pumping from the abdomen.


SCIENCE

Keep your one hand on the stomach (above navel), this is where your diaphragm is.

Diaphragm is a thin flap like muscle

It is the upward movement of diaphragm which helps in the process of exhalation.

Try to imagine that someone punched your stomach(slight forceful) movement of diaphragm to exhale sharply.


Use the visualisation in the clip to understand the upward movement of diaphragm, pushing the air out(exhalation through nostrils)


The lungs are responsible for the removal of gaseous waste from the body, and approximately 30% of waste removal is done through exhalation.


In kapalbhati exhalation is active and forceful, body automatically inhales when muscles relax.


PRECAUTIONS

  • Avoid practicing this breathing technique if you have an artificial pacemaker or stent, epilepsy, hernia, backache due to slip disc, or have recently undergone abdominal surgery.

  • Women should not practice the Skull Shining Breathing technique during and shortly after pregnancy as well as during menstruation as it involves vigorous abdominal squeezes.

  • People with hypertension and heart problems should practice this breathing technique only under a yoga expert's guidance.


Learn the technique of Kapalbhati to do it mindfully.



BENEFITS

When practiced daily, following benefits can be achieved -

  1. Increases the metabolic rate and aids in weight loss.

  2. Enhances the capacity of the lungs and makes them stronger.

  3. Clears the nadis (subtle energy channels).

  4. Stimulates the abdominal organs and thus is extremely useful to those with diabetes.

  5. Improves blood circulation and adds radiance to the face.

  6. Improves digestive tract functioning, absorption, and assimilation of nutrients.

  7. Results in a taut and trimmed down belly.

  8. Energizes the nervous system and rejuvenates brain cells.

  9. Calms and uplifts the mind.


Kapalbhati must be done in the beginning of other pranayama and meditation as it helps to cleanse the residual air.


Hoping that this article helped you to understand and make your practice better, do ask if you have any doubts :]


Thank you :]

Namaskaram

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