A Complete Guide To Kapalbhati Pranayama

Kapalbhati pranayama

What is Pranayama? Benefits

Kapalbhati Pranayama Benefits, Precautions Etc. Eons ago, there were a set of breathing techniques devised to help people with their health. Yogic breath was the name given to it, and it is an essential aspect of yoga. Kapalbhati yoga is one of the techniques that were devised

Pranayama is a combination of myriad techniques that are used to harness universal energy known as prana. Pranayama is an integral aspect of Kapalbhati yoga, and it is often incorporated into asana practice or used as an initial part of meditation, which is recommended by Auric.

The term Pranayama is derived from Sanskrit. Prana refers to “vital life force,” while yama means “control'' and ayama means “expansion.” The breath is symbolic of prana, and pranayama can be understood as a means to expand vital life energy through the control of respiration.

Yoga practitioners give a lot of importance to this meditation technique. It is Ideal for intermediate practitioners of yoga. The Kapalbhati yoga exercise remains a standard practice in yoga schools the world over.

In all of the cleansing routines of yoga, Kapalbhati yoga is the only one of the cleansing routines of yoga that can cleanse both mind and body using only breathing techniques. Kapalbhati yoga is a remarkable de-stressing tool and shows excellent results in that aspect. Also read A Comprehensive Look Into Kapalbhati Pranayama

What is Kapalbhati Pranayama?

The word Kapalbhati is divided into two parts in Sanskrit. Kapal means forehead, and Bhati means shining. Practising Kapalbhati on a regular basis will lead to a face glowing with an inner radiance. Kapalbhati yoga is an abdominal breathing exercise that is highly rejuvenating.

What Is Done In Kapalbhati Pranayama?

In Kapalabhati, the key steps are a natural inhalation followed by a quick exhalation. As a rule, exhalation has to take up one-fourth of the time of the inhalation process. Quick exhalation and natural inhalation follow each other in tandem.

Steps Involved In Kapalbhati Pranayama

The Kapalbhati yoga routine should be practised on an empty stomach. Early morning is an ideal time to practise the route to get the maximum Kapalbhati Pranayama benefits. It can also be practised in the evening as long as there is a gap of about 4 hours after the last meal. 

Pranayama is believed to be highly effective when practised sitting in Lotus Posture. If there is stiffness in the knees, many who can’t sit in the lotus posture can sit in the regular folded legs position. It is essential to make sure the spine is erect.

To do Kapalbhati yoga, sit comfortably in a meditative position with your head erect. Sit on the mat while extending your legs forward and place your right foot on the left thigh and your left foot on the right thigh. 

Palms should be placed on the knees with the palms open to the sky. Now breathe normally. Make sure the body is relaxed, and the spine continues to be erect. Having a correct posture will help derive the maximum Kapalbhati Pranayama benefits.

The next step would be to breathe in and out rapidly, with the focus on forceful exhalation. The inhalation should be normal. During exhalation, the abdominal muscles move inward. When you inhale, the abdomen should rise and fold when you exhale. While exhaling, you must expel the air quickly. During inhalation, you can relax and fill the lungs again with fresh air.

Initially, one can attempt 11 rounds every minute. As you become more proficient in the Kapalbhati Pranayama, you can increase it to 60 rounds in one minute. Each inhalation and exhalation should take one second. With gradual practice, you can increase the breathing cycles to 120 rounds per minute. When you get to this level, each inhalation and exhalation will take only half a second. Increasing the speed of Kapalbhati beyond this may not be very useful as the breathing will become shallow.

After completing the chosen number of rounds, relax and breathe normally. Keep at it till the rate of breathing returns to its regular pace. The relaxation phase should last between 30 seconds to a minute.

In the initial stages, this process can be repeated about three times which completes one sitting. Ideally, you can do two sittings in one day, once in the morning and once in the evening.

Kapalbhati pranayama

Advantages of Kapalbhati Pranayama

  •  Kapalbhati is a breathing routine that helps to reduce the excess amount of carbon dioxide in our blood. Kapalabhati Pranayama benefits have been scientifically proven. 
  •  The method of breathing increases the level of oxygen in the body.
  •  Kapalabhati Pranayama benefits include strengthening our respiratory system and increasing our lung capacity. Regular practice of Kapalbhati is also known for eradicating toxins and various other waste materials from within the body.
  •  Kapalbhati Pranayama benefits our body by boosting the metabolism rate, which in turn supports weight loss.
  •  Regular practice of Kapalbhati Pranayama benefits the brain cells by enhancing our memory and also assists in concentrating better. 
  • The exercise Kapalbhati Pranayama benefits us further by helping to de-stress the mind. It promotes mental well-being, relieves tension, uplifts mood and reduces anxiety by boosting endorphin production in the brain.
  •  Kapalbhati Pranayama benefits us in improving skin health, thus giving off a radiant glow.
  •  Kapalbhati Pranayama benefits asthmatics by helping in reducing symptoms of asthma and sinusitis.
  • Kapalbhati Kapalbhati Pranayama benefits the body by reducing issues of the digestive tract, and all gastric-related problems are either reduced or eliminated.
  • Kapalbhati Pranayama regularly benefits the person performing the exercise by relieving gas, constipation, and heartburn.
  • Curing Insomnia is among the other Kapalbhati Pranayama benefits obtained by doing this routine regularly.

Kapalabhati Pranayama Benefits

Kapalbhati Pranayama Benefits for Skin

There are several benefits of Kapalbhati yoga for the skin.  It prevents the occurrence of acne if practised regularly. The breathing exercise helps to fight the effects of ageing and also eliminate toxins from the body. The Kapalbhati yoga exercise is believed to be instrumental in clearing clogged skin pores.

Kapalbhati Pranayama Benefits for Belly Fat Loss

While practising Kapalbhati yoga, the process of inhaling and exhaling involves the abdominal muscles getting a workout, which tones the midsection and reduces belly fat. 

The detoxification process through Kapalbhati yoga can aid in weight loss. Studies show that detoxification is directly related to the reduction of the belly.

Kapalbhati Pranayama Benefits for Teeth

It's also a known fact that practising Kapalbhati yoga every day helps to enhance the supply of blood to the facial muscles, teeth, and even gums. The regular practice of this routine can strengthen the teeth and maintain oral health.

Kapalbhati Pranayama Benefits for Liver

The Kapalbhati yoga technique stimulates the liver to regenerate and fight any infections.

The practice of Kapalbhati yoga keeps the liver healthy. It helps maintain the level of albumin and globulin levels and prevent conditions like jaundice, cirrhosis, hepatitis and other liver-related ailments.

Kapalbhati Pranayama Benefits for Brain

Kapalbhati helps to stimulate the brain nerves, which promotes the well being of the brain. The stimulation energises the mind and helps to be calm and maintain a sense of balance. The practise of Kapalbhati is known to improve memory and concentration.

Kapalbhati Pranayama Benefits for Weight Loss

The benefits of Kapalbhati for weight control are many. This method of yoga is helpful for people looking to manage their weight, for people with diabetes, as it regulates blood sugar levels within acceptable levels. It does this by promoting the liver to produce sufficient insulin and helping at reducing stress.

Less stress leads to lower cortisol levels hence aiding in weight loss because stressed-induced cortisol release leads to increased weight gain.

The abdominal movement required in Kapalbhati helps tone abdominal muscles, reduce abdominal fat, and even increase core abdominal strength, thus contributing to reduced obesity.

Different Kinds of Kapalbhati

Kapalbhati Pranayama can be practised in three distinct ways. Let us look into the different types of Kapalbhati Pranayama:

Vatakrama: This is the basic technique in which we inhale passively and exhale actively.

Vyutkrama: This Kapalbhati technique is one in which we have to sniff water through the nostrils and allow it to go to the mouth. The water can then be spat out. 

Sheetkrama: Sheetkrama Kapalbhati is opposite of the Yutkrama technique. In this, the water has to be taken in through the mouth and expelled through the nose.

Precautions To Be Taken 

Just as in the case of any other physical activity, it is imperative to take certain precautions while practising Kapalabhati Pranayama. Suppose any artificial pacemaker or stent has been implanted, or you have epilepsy, hernia, etc., or have undergone abdominal surgery recently. In that case, the Kapalabhati Pranayama technique should be avoided in the interest of safety.

Kapalbhati Pranayama should also not be performed by those suffering from a hernia, vertigo, epilepsy, high blood pressure or are prone to getting gastric ulcers.

Also, avoid practising the Kapalabhati Pranayama technique if you experience any of the following sensations, discomfort, dizziness or pain. Pause the practice immediately, be calm and breathe normally. You can restart the yoga routine once the sensation has stopped but at a slower pace. If the problems persist, then discontinue and consult a yoga teacher before resuming.

Women should not practise 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 only practice this breathing technique under a yoga expert's guidance.

Conclusion

Kapalbhati Pranayama is a highly effective and easy way to improve a person’s overall health. Its benefits include lowering blood pressure, improving eyesight and hair growth, helping to burn excess fat in the abdomen, and also strengthening the lungs, heart and other internal organs.

Doing this exercise every day for at least 30 minutes, along with an excellent, effective diet and sleep regime, will help to improve health.

Pranayama is also known as the  ‘controlled breathing’ technique and has many health benefits. Along with Kapalbhati Pranayama, other forms of yoga can also be practised as yoga, on the whole, provides for a holistic approach to an individual’s well being. 

 We must practice the different pranayama exercises on a regular basis as they not only bestow a myriad of health benefits but also help promote a blissful and meaningful way of life. Also read 

 

Authored By : Poorvi Chhajer

About Author : Poorvi is a psychology graduate with a knack for writing and belief in ayurveda.


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