Kapalbhati Pranayama: Steps, Benefits and Techniques

What is Kapalbhati?

Kapalbhati comes from the word “Kapal” meaning skull or the forehead and “Bhati” meaning to shine or illuminate. Kapalbhati is said to have multiple benefits for physical, mental and spiritual well-being.  Kapalbhati is a cleansing technology that removes toxic air and toxins from the body leading to good health.

Benefits of Kapalbhati

  1. Energizes and rejuvenates the body removing lethargy and drowsiness
  2. Improves memory
  3. Rejuvenates the brain to function better
  4. Detoxifies the body and brighten up the face
  5. Strengthens the nervous system
  6. Benefits people with digestive problems
  7. Increases the lung and respiratory capacity
  8. Relieves mental stress
  9. Increases metabolism, beneficial for diabetes and fat loss
  10. Purifies the blood for beautiful skin

How Kapalbhati Cleanses Body?

Our normal breath is short and shallow due to which carbon dioxide accumulates in the lungs. By performing Kapalbhati, we focus much on exhalation and breathe out toxic carbon dioxide outside of our body. 

How does Kapalbhati Cleanse Mind?

Active exhalations of Kapalbhati focus on pushing carbon dioxide outside of our body and accumulates more oxygen inside. These elevated levels of oxygen diffuse in our blood and oxygenates our brain. On the other hand, Kapalbhati relaxes chemoreceptors (special brain cells) which maintain oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in our blood. This also slows our breath and keeps our mind calm. 

How to do Kapalbhati?

You can perform Kapalbhati by sitting either in Sukhasana or Vajrasana, whichever variation you’re comfortable with. Remember in Kapalbhati we are going to focus mostly on exhalation. Exhalation remains active whereas inhalation remains passive in all practises of Kapalbhati. Every time you exhale, you pull your abdomen inside. Start with 20 expulsions and at the end of this practise you will experience Kevala Kumbhaka. Kevala Kumbhaka is a state where you neither inhale nor exhale. In this state, your mind remains completely peaceful and calm. By practising Kapalbhati regularly, the duration of Kevala Kumbhaka increases gradually. Do the same for three rounds and feel the state of Kevala Kumbhaka. 

Kapalbhati for Beginners

Beginners who don’t understand this Kapalbhati can sit in Sukhasana and perform expulsions by assuming that you’re blowing a candle that is before you. By this way, your abdomen contracts and once you’re comfortable, do the same in your nose. Three things that you must keep in mind before you perform Kapalbhati are as follows.

  1. While practising, do not engage in any shoulder movements.
  2. Do not expel your breath with so much pressure.
  3. Do not expel very fast. Give space for inhalation.

Best Timing to do Kapalbhati

The best time to do Kapalbhati is in the early morning with an empty stomach. You can also perform on any other timings if you don’t find time in the morning. But make sure that the timings between your previous and the next meal are 2-3 hours. 

Conclusion

By practising Kapalbhati, a large quantity of carbon dioxide is thrown out of the body and oxygen is absorbed. When a large amount of carbon dioxide is thrown out, oxygen level dominates thereby diffusing in the blood. It boosts neurons of the brain with fresh oxygen and passes oxygenated blood to the whole body and helps in maintaining good health. Women during pregnancy and menstruation are not recommended to perform Kapalbhati. Also, people suffering from high blood pressure, vertigo, fluids in ears, hernia, gastric ulcers, heart disease, bleeding nose and glaucoma are not recommended to perform Kapalbhati. 

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