Kapalabhati Pranayama is one of the pranayamas that I have adopted in my daily routine since the start of YTT. Its the first thing I do when I get out of bed. In my experience, I feel that it has helped me greatly in digestion and ability to expel negative thoughts in my head, thus, making me largely more productive daily.
Kapala means “skull” and bhati means “shining”. Kapalabathi is known as a method to cleanse the overall body system so much that when practised regularly, the face will shine radiantly with good health, hence, its terms Shining Skull. This pranayama involves passive inhalation and active forceful exhalations through the nose, using abdominal muscles.
How to practise Kapalabathi:
- Come to comfortable seated position such as Padmasana (lotus) or Sukhasana.
- Place your hands on your knees with palms facing the sky.
- Take a few deep breaths to prepare for Kapalabathi.
- At the end of the last inhalation, contract the abdominal muscles quickly. This will forcefully push air out of the lungs, making it an active forceful exhalation.
- Relax the abdominal muscle, and this will naturally result in passive inhalation.
- Repeat this by contracting and “pumping” your abdominal muscles quickly. Passive inhalation will follow. This is considered one pump.
- After 20-30 pumps, end on the exhalation. This is considered one round.
- Take a few deep breaths after 1 round. Repeat this for 2 more rounds.
- Aids digestion
- Strengthens and increases the capacity of the lungs
- Strengthen abdominal muscles
- Stimulates blood circulation
- Balances oxytocin
- Improves concentration and memory
- Removing any blocks in nadis
- Activates chakras in your body
- Regulates the flow of prana
Important things to take note of:
- It is best to practise this with no food intake.
- Women who are pregnant or on moon cycle should NOT practise this.
- People with major illnesses such as cancer or high blood pressure should also NOT practise this.