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Kapalbhati

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Pronounced as  kah-pah-luh-BAH-tee“

Kapala”— meaning “skull”

“Bhati”— meaning “light”

Kapalabhati / Skull Shining — is a  yogic breathing technique that consists of short, powerful exhales and gentle inhales. This technique internally cleanses and tones the respiratory system of toxins while purifying, rejuvenating, and refreshing the body and mind.  Since this involves breath focused technique, some yoga practitioners classify this as pranayama too.

Steps For Kapalbhati:

Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight. (You can sit on the floor or on a chair).

Inhale deeply.

As you exhale, contract your lower belly, forcing the breath out in a short burst. Bring your awareness to your lower belly. To heighten your awareness, you can place your hands, one on top of the other, on your lower belly rather than on your knees.

As you quickly release your abdomen, your inhalation should be automatic and passive — your focus should be on exhaling.

Take 30 such breaths to complete one round of Kapalbhati pranayama.

After completing one round, relax with your eyes closed and observe the sensations in your body.

Do two more rounds to complete your practice.

After completion of your rounds, inhale deeply through the nostrils, and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Depending on your experience level, you may repeat the exercise.

Note: The exhalation in Kapalbhati is active and forceful. Don’t focus too much on the inhalation. The moment you relax your abdominal muscles, inhalation will happen naturally. Just keep your awareness on breathing out.

Benefits:

  • It increases your metabolism, thus aiding rapid weight loss and tones the abdominal muscles.
  • It generates heat in the system to help dissolve toxins and waste matter.
  • It Clears the nadis (subtle energy channels) as well as the sinuses, lungs, and respiratory system of allergens
  • It removes stress from the eyes and erases dark circles
  • It adds luster and beauty to your face.
  • It improves memory and concentration power
  • Improves digestion, Improves the function of kidneys and liver.
  • Kapalbhati strengthens your lungs and increases their capacity
  • Daily practice of kapalbhati can cure the all intestinal problems.
  • It helps reduce stress in the eyes, thus curing dark circles around the eyes.
  • Improves the blood circulation problem in whole body parts.
  • It also helps in regaining poise in emotions.
  • It gives you a sense of balance and sensibility, making you feel pure and clutter-free
  • It helps in curing asthma, sinus, and hair loss
  • It keeps depression at bay and fills you with positivity
  • The process calms you and uplifts your mind
  • It eliminates acidity and gas-related problems
  • The practice clears and activates the chakras in your body

Precautions

  • People with high BP, heart conditions, asthma, emphysema, or any other respiratory condition should use caution when practicing Kapalbhati and seek the guidance of a professional yoga teacher.
  • People who are on an artificial pacemaker, have had recent abdominal surgery, or who are suffering from epilepsy or hernia should also avoid practicing this breathing technique.
  • Women who are pregnant, have just given birth, or are menstruating should avoid practicing Kapalbhati.
  • Kapalbhati is an advanced technique  , so you should be comfortable with other basic breathing techniques, such as Ujjayi pranayama (ocean breath), before attempting.
  • Never attempt any pranayama for the first time without the guidance of a qualified and knowledgeable teacher. Stop the exercise if you become dizzy. Always work within your own range of limits and abilities. If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.

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