What is Kapalabhati Pranayama?
In Sanskrit kapal means “skull” and bhati means “shining.” Together they mean “shining skull.” Kapalabhati is considered to be so cleansing to the entire system that, when practiced on a regular basis, the face shines with good health and radiance.
Kapalbhati is an excellent breathing exercise to warm up the respiratory system and internally warm up your body in preparation for the following physical practice. It is an easier version of the pranayama Bhastrika and suitable for most levels of experience and fitness.
I have recently started Kapalabhati pranayama first thing in the morning to wake my body and mind so I can energise my day with an awaken body and breath. I can definitely feel the positive difference!
How to do Kapalabhati pranayama?
Let’s begin with the setting up
Let’s begin Kapalabhati
- Inhale deeply through both nostrils, chest expands
- Expel the breath through forceful contractions of abdominal muscles with belly in and relax
- complete 30 rapid breath in 1 round.
- After each round, deep passive long inhalation and relax before next round
- Recommended 3 rounds and also on empty stomach
What are the benefits?
It has been proven and shown that by including Kapalabhati in one’s daily routine, it has many benefits :
- 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
- Cleanses the skull
- 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 practicing Kapalabhati 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 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.
In our 200hr YTT, we have been introduced to different pranayamas and I am super grateful to learn all different types.
I personally practice Kapalabhati pranayama first thing in the morning when I wake up on an empty stomach to awaken my body and mind. I also practice it during times of mental stress or hectic at work just to cleanse my skull for a better concentration and focus. It definitely helps me overall in for my health and mental.