Kapaalbhaati is the best breathing exercise
The word kapaalbhaati accurately means ‘skull-shining’. Kapaal meaning skull and bhati means shining. Regular practice of kappalbhaati reduces stress while helping to calm the mind. Over a period one develops a healthy natural glow on the face.
Kapalbhati is not difficult; it can be practiced by novice yoga practitioners also. One can learn it within 2-3 instructional sessions from a good yoga teacher. One needs to focus on exhalation. Inhalation should be normal whereas the exhalation should be made with force. The force should be equivalent to what the individual can manage repetitively while exhalation. It has great relaxing and physical benefits. But, most practitioners perform kapalbhati for weight loss. It stimulates the respiratory system and the abdominal muscles, helping one tone out abdomen muscles which also helps improve body tone. Kapalbhati clears the respiratory passages which minimize risks of infections and allergies in the respiratory system. Due to the vigorous breaths of kapalbhati, the allergens and the infectious materials in the lungs and the respiratory passages are blown away which help in cleaning the body.
The kapaalbhaati technique helps improve the flexibility of the diaphragm. Because of the breathing technique used for this yogic kriya, the diaphragm gets ample of exercise and it becomes suppler and improves capacity of the lungs. As the diaphragm becomes stronger and more flexible, the risk of developing hernias also reduces radically. This pranayama is very effective in curing stomach disorder, obesity, digestive disorder and many problems related to stomach.
Kapalbhati practice helps improve blood circulation, especially in the lower half of the body hence it helps improve the functioning of the entire body. The technique also helps in increasing the lungs capacity and improves respiratory efficiency because it making more oxygen available to the body. When more oxygen flows into the body, the tissues and cells become more able to perform the cleansing. While practicing this pranayam you can feel very energetic both physically and mentally. Your concentrations power increases and you feel less tired.
How to practice Kapalbhati?
- Sit straight with your spine straight with crossed legs on floor.
- Keep the right palm on right knee and left palm on left knee.
- Take in a deep breath and exhale quickly and repetitively, making a hissing sound. Focus on exhaling powerfully and not on the inhalation.
- When you exhale think that your disorders are coming out of your nose.
- When you exhale, draw your abdominal muscles inward concurrently. Your abdomen should rise when you inhale and fold when you exhale.
- Continue for 10 breaths and then take a break. Repeat the exercise two more times.
Kapalbhati is described as the cure-all remedy available to mankind that works by balancing all bodily functions. Please try with every exhalation your intention for letting go of the unwanted emotions such as anger, disgrace, low confidence, jealousy, resentment etc. You will experience more clarity and peace. Since it works on the Heart Chakra (Anahat Chakra) and associated organs and systems of that region, it improves respiration, lung capacity and blood circulation. Kapalbhati thus helps cure associated diseases of this region such as asthma, bronchitis etc. It works on the Manipur Chakra also. The associated diseases of this region are – indigestion, gas, diabetes, etc.
Words of caution: the side effects of Kapalbhati:
While kapalbhati has many plus points to improve body tone and relaxed mind, it is not recommended for everyone. Experts believe that certain diseases and disorders may become intricate if kapalbhati is performed regularly and unsupervised. Kapalbhati is not recommended for people who suffer from cardiac problems, hernia and spinal disorders. In addition, those suffering from severe respiratory infections, colds and nasal obstruction should also not perform this breathing and cleansing technique. Physicians usually ask people suffering from high blood pressure and diabetes to refrain from performing kapalbhati. Those with abdominal ulcers should also avoid performing the technique. Therefore, it is advisable to consult your doctor before starting practice; please start it only after consultation with your doctor and a qualified yoga instructor. It is best to avoid performing it on your own. Please remember that though kapalbhati pranayama steps are usually very simple, please ensure that you perform it properly or you may end up hurting physically.