Kapalbhati pranayama is a yogic breathing technique that dates back to ancient times. Kapalbhati, when broken down, translates to ‘Kapal’ which is ‘foreheard’ or ‘skull’ and ‘Bhati’ which means ‘shining’ or ‘illuminating’ in Sanskrit. Just as the name suggests, this pranayama is practiced for de-clouding your mind. This breathing technique not only promotes mental health but also benefits other parts of the body such as the lungs (the vital part of any pranayama) and the abdomen. Read on to learn more about this pranayama.
Types of Kapalbhati Pranayama
There are three types of kapalbhati pranayama:
Vatakrama Kapalbhati: This technique involves passive inhalation and active exhalation which will be further described below.
Vyutkrama Kapalbhati: In this technique, you are required to sniff water through your nostrils, let it flow down to the mouth and eventually spit it out.
Sheetkrama Kapalbhati: This is the reverse of Vyutkrama Kapalbhati where you take water through your mouth and expel it out through your nostrils.
How to perform Kapalbhati?
- Sit in padmasana (lotus position) with your back erect and eyes closed.
- Inhale through your nostrils deeply, let air fill your lungs completely.
- Exhale through your nostrils with good force while simultaneously letting your belly move inward towards your spine (if you’re a beginner place your hand on your belly to ensure correct movement).
- While exhaling there will be a hissing sound, imagine you are letting go of all the negativity.
- Repeat this process for ‘10’ breaths
- Relax in padmasana for a few minutes breathing naturally; let your body free to feel all the sensations and then repeat '2' more sets.
When to perform Kapalbhati?
Before your yoga routine or exercise this pranayama improves energy flow in your body.
If you are in a slump or in a creative block, this technique can relax and clear your mind.
You can perform this pranayama every morning as this strengthens your respiratory system.
If you want to perform a cleanse, kapalbhati pranayama will help detox the body and improve metabolism.
- It produces a fire in the body and promotes energy flow.
- It promotes healthy digestion and circulation.
- It strengths the respiratory system.
- It promotes detoxification by increasing metabolic rate.
- It improves memory and focus.
- It adds positivity to your life, boosting your mental health.
- It improves lung capacity preparing you for a more higher level of pranayama such as Bhastrika pranayama.
Precautions to be taken
Do not perform this pranayama if you are pregnant, menstruating or have been diagnosed with a medical condition.
If you are a beginner understand your lung capacity before proceeding.