Kapalbhati Pranayama is a breathing practice in yoga. It gets its name from the Sanskrit words, Kapal, meaning skull, and bhati meaning “to shine”. Kapalbhati can help reduce workplace tension, relationship stress, other worries, and anxieties, by soothing your mind and ultimately putting you to sleep.
Kapal = forehead; Bhati = shining; Pranayama = breathing technique
Here’s a very powerful breathing exercise that not just helps you lose weight but also brings your entire system into a perfect balance. Yes, Kapalbhati Pranayama or Skull Shining breathing technique.
Why to do Kapalbhati Pranayama?
When you do pranayama, 80% of the toxins in our body are released through the outgoing breath. The regular practice of Kapalbhati Pranayama detoxifies all the systems in our body. And the obvious sign of a healthy body is a shining forehead.
Kapal Bhati literally translates to ‘the shining forehead,’ and this is precisely what happens with regular practice of this pranayama- a forehead that glows not just from outside, but also an intellect that becomes sharp and refined.
How to do Kapalbhati Pranayama Step by Step
- Sit comfortably with your spine erect. Place your hands on the knees with palms open to the sky.
- Take a deep breath in.
- As you exhale, pull your stomach. Pull your navel in the back towards the spine. Do as much as you comfortably can. You may keep your right hand on the stomach to feel the abdominal muscles contract.
- As you relax the navel and abdomen, the breath flows into your lungs automatically.
- Take 20 such breaths to complete one round of Kapal Bhati Pranayama.
- After completing the round, relax with your eyes closed and observe the sensations in your body.
- Do two more rounds of Kapal Bhati Pranayama.
4 Tips for Kapalbhati Beginners
- The exhalation in the Skull Shining Breathing technique is active and forceful. So, just throw out your breath.
- Don't worry about the inhalation. The moment you relax your abdominal muscles, inhalation will happen naturally.
- Keep your awareness on breathing out.
- Practice this technique at home on an empty stomach.
8 Benefits of Kapalbhati Pranayama
- Increases the metabolic rate and aids in weight loss
- Clears the nadis (subtle energy channels)
- Stimulates abdominal organs and thus is extremely useful to those with diabetes
- Improves blood circulation and adds radiance to the face
- Improves digestive tract functioning, absorption, and assimilation of nutrients
- Results in a taut and trimmed down belly
- Energizes the nervous system and rejuvenates brain cells
- Calms and uplifts the mind
Who should avoid doing Kapal Bhati Pranayama?
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.
Practicing Yoga helps develop the body and mind, yet is not a substitute for medicine. It is essential to learn and practice yoga under the supervision of a trained Yoga teacher. In case of any medical condition, practice yoga only after consulting your doctor.