You would heard this – Kapalbhati.
Kapalabhati is one of the important Shodhankarm, it is not classified under pranayam. Prana means life energy. Ayam means exercise. Hence Pranayam means exercise of life energy or life force.
Breathe is life energy. We can’t survive without breath for few minutes. Pranayama is about breath control. Kapalabhati is one of the shodhankarm that mentioned in the Patanjali’s yoga sutra.
According Hatha Yoga Pradipika “to Perform exhalation and inhalation rapidly like the bellows (of a blacksmith). This is called kapalbhati and it destroys all mucus disorders”
~ Hatha Yoga Pradipika 2:35
Kapalbhati is also called Shatkarma. There are six shatkarma (satkarma) and Kapalbhati is one of them. According to Hath yoga Pradapika and Gheranda samhita it is a purification technique.
Kapalbhati is combination of word ‘Kapal’ and ‘bhati’. ‘Kapal’ means forehead and ‘bhati’ means light. This is also called ‘frontal brain purification’ technique. This technique is also known as skull shine.
Basic of Kapalbhati
Normally, in breathing technique inhalation and exhalation done actively. It has focus on diaphragmatic slow breathing. In kapalbhati, the technique is totally reverse, exhalation is actively, forcefully and fast while inhalation is being done passively. Kumbhaka or holding breathe is not a part of Kapalbhati.
Benefits of kapalbhati
- It increases metabolic rate.
- Very much helpful and effective in weight loss. Belly fat loss will be reduced.
- It massage abdominal organs and hence improve health of internal organs.
- It improves blood circulation in body and to the mind as a effect the face will be ‘shine’.
- Improves digestion and removes gas and acid related problems.
- Kapalbhati pranayam cleans the cranial sinus or dural venous sinus. Later it improves cranial nerves which are responsible for smell, vision, facial bone etc.
- Kapalbhati technique removes or reduce the Kapha dosha.
- Kapalbhati breathing improves facial tone.
- Oxinzination of the blood improves.
- Gives boost to the abdominal muscles.
- Sure cure for constipation and stomach problems.
- Improves the consumption of the oxygen(O2) and removal of carbon dioxide(CO2).
Pre-requisite to do Kapalbhati breathing pranayama
- Kapalbhati must be done on empty stomach. 2-3 hours gap required between any food taken and kapalbhati exercise.
- Morning time or evening time with comfortable space.
How to do Kapalbhati Pranayam technique
- Sit in the comfortable position in padmasana or sukhasana. Spinal cord must be erect.
- Put your palms open on your knees. Close your eyes.
- Relax your body and take deep slow breathe. Exhale.
- Now start inhale and exhale rapidly from the nose. Initially it should be 1 exhale in 1 second. Inhale must be done passively. In short you have to just focus on doing exhale forcefully.
- During the exhale, your belly must go inside and air forcefully out from the lungs.
- Do this breathing for 15 seconds. Take interval and do deep breathe. Again do it for 15 second. Do this kapalbhati for next 2 round and thus you will complete 4 rounds.
- After the regular practice do kapalbhati for 60 seconds in one round. It means 60 kapalbhati breathing in 60 seconds.
- After many days of practice might be after 30 days you should this practice for 3 minute with 3 interval after every minute.
Advice on Kapalbhati pranayam
- Those who has high blood pressure must do kapalbhati under expert yoga guru or teacher.
- Pregnant women and during menstrual period MUST not do kapalbhati pranayam technique.
- If you are beginner to yoga and meditation then take a good instruction to do kapalbhati breathing technique from yoga teacher.
- If you get any recent surgery or injury in thorax, abdominal or in belly or anything then please avoid this kapalbhati pranayam technique.
- During the kapalbhati breathing if you start feeling pain your abdominal area or belly then please stop this immediately and consult your yoga expert on this.