Benefits of Kapalabhati Pranayama
The breath control exercise which is known as “Pranayama” in Sanskrit, is one of the most important breath control exercises for developing your Yoga skills. These breath control exercises if done correctly can bring a sense of balance and deepness in your general well-being.There are numerous benefits of Kapalabhati Pranayama that we will discuss in this article.
The Yoga Sutras which were compiled by sage Patanjali thousands of years back are ancient texts written in the Sanskrit language, according to these texts Pranayama is one of the most important parts of the Yoga practice.
Pranayama does the work of cleansing, balancing, and purifying your vital life energy which is known as “Prana” in the Sanskrit language. The regular practice of Pranayama can help you to achieve the best health of mind, body, and soul.
Kapalabhati Pranayama mainly consists of small, powerful breathe out and passive breath in. This Pranayama is a “Kriya” and not Pranayama in a strict sense. It helps in toning and cleaning the respiratory tract of the body by encouraging the discharge of toxins and waste material from the body.
It functions as an energizer for the system, stimulating and rejuvenating the body and mind.
Kapalabhati consist of two Sanskrit words:
“kapala” means “Skull”
“Bhati” means “light”
This Pranayama is also sometimes known as “light skull breathing exercise” or “skull Brightener breathing exercise.” As one practices this Pranayama, one can feel the inner areas of his skull being filled with the brightness of illumination.
Benefits of Kapalabhati Pranayama
Kapalabhati is energizing and warming. It assists to cleanse the lungs, sinuses, and respiratory tract, which in return help to prevent diseases and allergies. When Kapalabhati Pranayama is practiced regularly it also makes the diaphragm and abdominal muscles stronger.
Kapalabhati Pranayam benefits in following diseases:
- Heart blockages
This breathing exercise also increases oxygen supply in the body, which stimulates and rejuvenates the brain cells. The regular practice of this pranayama lays the foundation for meditation and high focus jobs.
Kapalabhati Pranayama precautions
Kapalabhati Pranayama is a powerful breathing exercise, if you are not familiar with basic pranayama like “Ujjayi Pranayama” then you should not start practicing it on your own.
If you are planning to start Kapalabhati Pranayama for the very first time then start it under the expert guidance of some qualified yoga instructor.
Always make sure that you do Kapalabhati Pranayama with normal speed which is 60 exhales strokes per minute. Practicing Kapalabhati Pranayama at higher speed can cause problems to some people particularly to those who are old and have some or the other illness in their body.
Kapalabhati Pranayama should be avoided in following conditions:
- Heart disease
- Pregnant women
- High blood pressure
- If you have recently undergone any surgery or operation particularly related to the stomach area this Pranayama should be strictly avoided for at least 6 months.
- Always approach all breathing exercises with caution if you are having respiratory-related problems, like asthma or emphysema, in that case do Pranayama at slow speed.
- Never start doing any Pranayama without the help of a certified and educated instructor. Immediately discontinue the breathing exercise in case you feel weakness or dizziness.
- Do breathing exercises within your scope, limits, and capacity. If you have any clinical concerns, talk to your physician first before starting Kapalabhati Pranayama.
How to do Kapalabhati Pranayama
To start, sit in an easy position where your spine is straight and your stomach is comfortable. A few choices of sitting include:
- One option of doing this Pranayama is sitting on the floor in “Easy Pose” (Sukhasana)
- The Second option is sitting on heels, where your knees will be bent and shins will be tucked under the thighs in the “Hero Pose” (Virasana)
- The Third option is sitting on the chair with your feet flat on the floor.
Lay your hands on your knees, palms facing down.
Take your attention to your lower stomach area. To increase your mindfulness, you can put your hands, one on top of the other, on your lower midsection instead of on your knees.
Breathe in through the both nostrils deeply.
Focus on letting out the breath in a short burst, as a result, your lower stomach area will contract.
As you rapidly breathe out, your attention ought to be on breathing out only, in the process your inhaling breath ought to be passive and automatic.
Kapalabhati for beginners
Start gradually, focusing on 60 strokes per minute, which will be one breath per second. This rhythm of 60 strokes per minute is ideal for beginners and no harm will be caused to anybody.
If you are young and not suffering from any diseases then you can also do Kapalabhati Pranayam with higher speed. Although it is always advised that you start with 60 strokes per minutes and then you can gradually grow in your practice.
Step by step you can increase the speed, focusing on 120 exhale/inhale breath cycles every minute and later on you can also increase speed to 180 strokes per minute.
Always make it a habit of going at your speed you can comfortably handle and stop in case you feel dizzy or weak.
Maximum time for Kapalabhati
After starting from one minute practice of the kapalabhati Pranayama, you can day by day increase the duration from one minute to five minutes to higher. You can also take rest in between by breathing in profoundly through the nostrils, and afterward, breathing out gently through your mouth.
As per your level of experience, you can repeat this breathing exercise for up to a maximum of 15 minutes for maximum benefits. You can also do it twice in a day, preferably empty stomach in the morning and in the evening. In any case you should not go beyond 30 minutes of Kapalabhati Pranayama practice per session.
Tips for Kapalabhati Pranayama
Always make sure that you have had your meals at least 2 hour before starting your Pranayama. Preference should always be given to practice Kapalabhati Pranayama empty stomach in the morning after clearing your bowels for maximum benefit.
When performed correctly, Kapalabhati Pranayama will purify, empower, and fortify your brain, body, and soul. This Pranayama requires an understanding of and experience with basic Pranayama.
In case you are new to pranayama, first, have time to learn “Ujjayi Pranayama” which is also known as “Ocean Breath” and Ocean Breath (Ujjayi Pranayama) before bringing Kapalabhati into your training.
Apart from the above-mentioned points always keep in mind the following points when practicing Kapalabhati Pranayama:
- Keep your attention on your lower abdomen and exhalations all through the activity.
- Do not breathe in, when you inhale, it should be automatic.
- Keep your spine and your shoulders straight and erect all through the Pranayama, your lower abdomen should be the only area that needs to be moved.
- Never use force when you breathe in and breathe out.
- If your breath becomes stressed, or when you become restless or dizzy, stop the activity and return to your normal breathing rhythm.
The regular practice of Kapalabhati Pranayama can bring stability and purity in your life on many different levels that include emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental levels. Make sure to take it gradually from the outset, and expand on your experience as you acquire more control.
The regular practice of Kapalabhati Pranayama will remove all negativity from your life and its advantages will start showing up in all aspects of your life.