What Is Kapalbhati Yoga Pranayama (Kapal Bhati Breathing Exercise):
Of the many wonderful pranayamas that Yoga gives us, Kapalbhati (aka Kapaal Bhati) is one of my favorite breathing exercises. It is not at all complicated to do and yet, when done even for a short time consistently, it’s benefits are undeniable. If there was only one pranayama that you elected to do, Kapalbhati might well be the one to pick - it’s that good!
Kapalbhati of course dates back to the Yoga Sutras of Sage Patanjali, but recently its popularity has been revived by the work of Ramdev Swamiji. Kapalbhati is part of Ramdev Swamiji’s set of 6 pranayamas and the practice of this set has spread like wildfire across India as well as the rest of the world. Kapalbhati, in my view, is like the corner stone of this set and many of the absolutely unbelievable benefits that practitioners have been getting from practicing Ramdev Swamiji’s set, I am sure, can be attributed to this powerful breathing exercise.
Below are the details of Kapalbhati Yoga Pranayama.
Benefits of Kapalbhati Yoga Pranayama (Kapal Bhati Breathing Exercise):
- Works on the Heart Center (Anahat Chakra) and associated organs and systems of that region. Thus improving respiration, lung capacity and blood circulation. Kapalbhati helps cure associated diseases of this region (asthma, bronchitis etc).
- Works on the Naval Center (Manipura Chakra) and associated organs and systems of that regions. Thus improving digestion and elimination. Cures diseases and imbalances associated with this region such as indigestion, gas, diabetes, etc.
- Practiced over time, Kapalbhati Pranayama also helps reduce abdominal fat, fight obisiety, tone abdominal muscles and bestow core abdominal strength and power.
- From an emotional stand point Kapalbhati Pranayama puges the system of accumulated emotional debris such as anger, hurt, jealousy, hatred etc., thus dissolving the blockages and removing the imbalances such emotional history causes in the energetic pathways. The cleansing of the energetic pathways (nadis) increases the magnitude and flow of prana (life-force) and Kundalini Shakti (energy) throughout all regions of the body.
- From a mental stand point Kapalbhati Pranayama assists in throwing out all negative thoughts from the psyche. thus, helping to cleanse and illuminate the mind.
- From a body stand point Kapalbhati Pranayama should be used to eject any illnesses, diseases, weaknesses from the body thus allowing it grow in health, vitality and vigor.
- Generates heat in the system to help dissolve toxins and waste matter.
- Adds luster and beauty to your face.
Cautions for Kapalbhati Yoga Pranayama (Kapal Bhati Breathing Exercise):
If you feel dizzy or nauseous you should slow down the force and pace of Kapalbhati pranayama or stop entirely and return to normal breathing.
- If you have acid or heat related gastric issues such as ulcers you should use caution with Kapalbhati Pranayama.
- Kapalbhati is not to be practiced by those suffering from high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke or epilepsy.
How To Do Beginner’s Kapalbhati Yoga Pranayama (Kapal Bhati Breathing Exercise):
To practice this breathing exercise sit up in a comfortable position, cross legged is best.
- Elongate your spine upwards, lengthen your neck and subtly bring your chin back and in like a soldier at attention. This will align the spine with the back of your head.
- Close your eyes.
- Have your hands in Gyan Mudra. In Gyan Mudra have your thumb tips and index finger meeting, with the wrists resting gently on the knees and the palms turned slightly upwards.
- Relax your stomach muscles.
- Now expel the air as forcefully as you are comfortable with through the nose. This should cause the abdominal muscles to contract sharply and should draw the abdomen inwards towards the spine (like when you suck in your stomach). Then allow the inhalation to occur completely passively without any additional effort. To repeat, the exhalation is done using conscious sharp force, while the inhalation is just a recoil action bringing the air back into the lungs. All the breathing takes place through the nose. Right after the passive inhalation, exhale again forcefully and continue at a steady rhythm.
- Do a round of 10 repetitions.
- Work your way up to doing 5 rounds, while taking a break between each round.
- Practice Note: Unlike doing Bhastrika Yoga Pranayama you use force during both the inhalation and the exhalation, in Kapalbhati force is only to be used during the exhalation.
How To Do Intermediate Kapalbhati Yoga Pranayama (Kapal Bhati Breathing Exercise):
Once you feel comfortable with the Beginner’s version of Kapalbhati Yoga Pranayama, perform the breathing exercise with more force if possible and also increase the number of repetition per round to 50. You may also prefer to do a single round, but, with many more repetitions instead (up to 5 minutes worth)
How To Do Advanced Kapalbhati Yoga Pranayama (Kapal Bhati Breathing Exercise):
Build up to doing this pranayama for 15 minutes straight or equivalent number of rounds with more repetitions per rounds.
Secret of Kapalbhati Yoga Pranayama (Kapal Bhati Breathing Exercise):
The secret of the success of Kapalbhati Yoga Pranayama lies in where your mind is when doing this terrific breathing exercise. If you need to cure your body, then with every exhalation imagine that disease is being purged from your system. If you need to regain emotional balance, then again, with every exhalation visualize the negative emotions or weaknesses being thrown out of your system. If negative thoughts are the issue, let every exhalation expel them from your heart and mind.
The power of the mind has been well documented, you are read about some of it’s incredible capability in this article Mind Power to Manifest Intentions & Desires Instantly, so use your mind to help you accomplish that which you have intended and unleash the full potential of Kapalbhati Yoga Pranayama.