What is Kapal Bhati?
Kapalbhati is a shatkarma or one of the shat kriyas used to cleanse ourselves from within. Kapalbhati is translated as “Kapal” which means “Skull” and “Bhati” which means “Shine”. It is a rapid exhalation process that cures many diseases, helps to detoxify the body and cleanses internally. Regular practice of this breathwork maintains the proper working of body organs. It is said that this practice focuses on the mind and brings a shine on the face.
This particular kriya requires a lot of energy as it generates a lot of body heat and thereby helps in dissolving the waste and toxins from the body. If you are someone suffering from insomnia or restless sleep patterns, this benefits a lot as it helps in giving you a sense of balance and making your brain feel decluttered and de-stressed. The active exhalation generates stress in the body after which instant relaxation becomes very easy. It also works on strengthening the core muscles and all the organs in the pelvic area and the digestive systems.
Types of Kapalbhati Kriya:
- Vatakrama: This is one type of Kapalbhati where you sit on the floor with your legs crossed over. Perform breathing with a passive inhalation and active exhalation.
- Vyutkrama:This is the second Kapalbhati exercise which is performed by taking in water through the nose, letting it go to your mouth, and then spitting it out.
- Sheetkrama:Sheetkrama kapalbhati exercise is the opposite of Vyutkrama. Here the water is let in through the mouth and expelled through the nose.
How to do Kapalbhati Kriya?
- Sit in a comfortable position : vajrasan, sukhasan, padmasan or just a cross legged posture
- Place your palms on the knees with palms facing up
- Take a long deep breath inside.
- While exhale, pull your stomach inward. Draw your stomach in such a way that it touches the spine. Do as much as you can. You can feel the contraction of the abdominal muscles by placing a hand on your stomach. Draw the navel inward.
- As soon as you release the muscles of the stomach, the breath automatically reaches your lungs.
- To complete one sequence (round) of Kapalbhati Kriya, exhale 20 breaths.
- After a round is over, relax and close your eyes. Feel the excitement manifested by Kriya in your body.
- Complete two more rounds (rounds) of Kapalabhati Kriya
Kapalbhati for beginners
- .As a beginner, it will be difficult to focus actively only on exhalation with only abdomen contraction.
- Place one hand on the abdomen and another on the chest and make sure that with every exhale the movement is only from the stomach and not from the chest.
- Focus on quality more than quantity. It is okay even if you do only 20 strokes at a time versus 100 strokes of an advanced practitioner. Let the 20 strokes be of good quality.
- Progress slowly as you get comfortable with it.
Benefits of Kapalbhati Kriya
- Kapalbhati Kriya improves the flow of blood in the body and helps in the detoxifying process.
- It increases the metabolic process and helps in reducing weight.
- Kapalbhati Kriya Improves digestion and transmits nutrients to the body.
- This Kriya activates abdominal muscles, which are extremely beneficial for patients with diabetes.
- It fixes blood circulation and increases radiance on the face.
- Regular Practice of Kapalbhati makes the respiratory system healthy.
- It energizes the brain and tantric system.
- Kapalbhati Kriya calms the mind and helps in releasing stress and anxiety.
Precautions of Kapalbhati Kriya
- If you are new to Yoga and a senior citizen, it is better to start this practice at a slow pace and progress very slowly
- Always perform this practise on an empty stomach
- This practice should be avoided during menstruation and pregnancy for females
- Anyone with high BP and heart issues should avoid this practice
As this is heating pranayama, avoid practising this intensely during summers
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