Kapalbhati Yogic Breathing, the Great Healer

Aug/14/2021 / by Abhijit Masih
kapalbhati
Image credits: Ale Romo Photography via Unsplash

The world has come to realize the efficacy of yoga, and millions of people from around the world have become fans, believers and propagators of the benefits of Kapalbhati. There is no better way to unite and align the body, mind and soul than with the practice of yoga. One of the essential components of practicing yoga is to engage in deep breathing. The practice of deep breathing while performing yoga asanas heals the body from within.

Eons ago this breathing technique was devised to help people with their overall well-being. Some have even named it the yogic breath. Kapalbhati breathing has been keeping people healthy for centuries.

Kapalbhati is an asana that does not require much effort but has immense advantages. Kapalbhati Pranayama is an asana to remove the toxic air and toxins from your body. It is an effortless exercise that only requires you to still stationary and still and let the breathing take control. It is a breathing technique in which you exhale rapidly, forcefully using your abdominal muscles. You can do it fast or slow. The perceived Kapalbhati benefits include clearing of the sinuses and lungs of allergens, increased metabolism, weight loss, improved circulation and increased oxygen supply. In recent years, the Pranayama has become very popular, with many yoga gurus promoting it, not just in person but through their various social media channels. Many social media influencers have also helped in reaching the technique and the benefits of Kapalbhati to millions of people.

 

What Does Kapalbhati Mean?

The word Kapalbhati is derived from the word kapal – meaning skull (including what underlies the skull) and bhati means shining, or illumination. If Kapabhati is not done correctly it can be detrimental to your health. Kapalbhati breathing should be performed while seated in Padmasana. The stomach muscles should be relaxed and allowed to move freely.

 

How to Do Kapalbhati?

 

  • First, seat yourself in a comfortable position or posture and close your eyes for a few slow and deep breaths. Straighten and lengthen your spine and let your shoulders relax.
  • Now gradually begin to deepen the breath and find an even length of inhalation and exhalation. Kapalbhati breathing should be done through the nose, during both inhalation and exhalation.
  • Concentrate on your breathing and, as your awareness becomes focused while breathing in and out of your nose, contract your stomach muscles while exhaling. Bring your belly button towards your spine as you release all the air from your body.
  • Gradually increase the speed of the breathing cycle. Maintain a balanced rhythm of breath. Remember to maintain the even length of inhalation and exhalation.

 

kapalbhati
Image credits: Jose Vazquez via Unsplash

 

Types of Kapalbhati

The basic form of Kapalbhati is generally known as Vatakrama Kapalbhati, where the focus is entirely on how you breathe, the technique mentioned above. The method is to do it rapidly, pulling your stomach in and doing it in short bursts. Then there is a variation called the Vyutkrama Kapalbhati, which calls for taking water in through your nostrils and spitting it out through your mouth. Then there is the Sheetkrama Kapalbhati, which is the opposite of Vyutkrama Kapalbhati, calling for you to take in water from the mouth and expel it through your nostrils.

 

The Benefits Of Kapalbhati Pranayama

Kapalbhati produces heat in your body and dissolves toxins from the body. It helps to improve the functioning of the kidneys and the liver. It helps us release stress from the eyes and to remove dark circles from under them. It enhances blood circulation and digestion. It also helps increase your metabolic rate, which aids in weight loss. It is beneficial for diabetic patients as it stimulates abdominal organs. It rejuvenates your brain and provides energy to your nerves. It calms you and uplifts your mental being. It is also know to reduce acidity and gas-related problems, if done correctly. With sustained Kapalbhati breathing, you can strengthen your lungs and increase their capacity.

 

Precautions

People who have high blood pressure should keep the rate of Kapalbhati low. If you are a heart patient you should go easy on the exhalation. The best time to practice Kapalbhati is in the morning – on an empty stomach. A health check up is recommended before taking it up. Learn the technique from a certified yoga teacher. It is also best to avoid Kapalbhati if you are pregnant or having your periods. It should be avoided if you have the following: a slipped disc or a stent, ulcers, or respiratory issues, such as asthma.

 

FAQs

 

What is Kapalbhati and what are its benefits?

Kapalbhati Pranayama is a breathing practice in yoga. It is believed to have mental, physical, and spiritual benefits. Over the centuries that this technique has been practiced, it has helped people with their overall well-being. The benefits are many but the main advantages are that it dissolves toxins, enhances lung capacity, the functioning of the liver and kidneys, blood circulation, and digestion, and fills you with positive energy.

How do you perform Kapalbhati?

Care should be taken to do it right. Close your eyes and relax the whole body. Inhale deeply through both nostrils and expand your chest. Exhale with forceful contractions of the abdominal muscles and relax. Continue active exhalation and passive inhalation.

How to do Kapalbhati?

Sit in Padmasana (lotus pose) at a quiet place. Concentrate on your breaths. Put both your hands on your knees and take deep breaths and exhale. Start small rounds of exhaling the breath. Focus only on exhaling not inhaling and remember to exhale only through your nostrils. While exhaling, the stomach should go inside with a deep pressure. Exhale the air with full force. Relax deeply while performing the Kapalbhati breathing exercise.

Is Kapalbhati good for the hair?

Kapalbhati Pranayam helps cleanse the toxins from the kapal, which means the entire head or face region that promotes clean oxygen supply. This is believed to help in hair growth.

Is Kapalabhati really useful?

If done correctly, Kapalbhati has many benefits, including rejuvenation, ridding your body of toxins, and increasing the functionality of your organs.

How many types of Kapalbhati are there?

There are three types of Kapalbhati. The first is Vatakrama Kapalbhati, where the focus is entirely on how you are breathing. Then there is a variety called the Vyutkrama Kapalbhati, which needs you to take in water through your nostrils and spit it out through your mouth. Then there is the Sheetkrama Kapalbhati, which is the opposite of Vyutkrama kind.

Check out more articles on yoga, meditation, and managing stress with Ayurveda.