Kapalbhati Pranayama Step by Step -by Subodh Gupta
Kapal in Sanskrit means FOREHEAD, and Bhati in Sanskrit means SHINING. Practicing Kapalbhati on regular basis leads to shining face with inner radiance. Kapalbhati is highly energizing abdominal breathing exercise.Please note: I have noticed some of the prominent yoga gurus in India prescribing kapalabhati pranayama exercise for even half an hour which is absolutely not needed & could be even dangerous in case of high blood pressure, hernia, etc.
What we do in Kapalbhati Pranayama
In Kapalabhati we do quick exhalation and natural inhalation. Normally exhalation takes one fourth of the time of inhalation. Quick exhalation and natural inhalation follow each other.
How to do Kapalbhati Pranayama
Step 1) Sit in comfortable crossed leg position with Back straight. Hands resting on knees in either chin or gyana mudra. Face to be relaxed.
Step 2) Inhale deeply through both nostril, expanding abdomen and exhale with the forceful contraction of abdominal muscles. (Pull the abdomen in by quickly contracting the abdominal muscles and exhale through the nose). The air is pushed out of lungs by contraction of the diaphragm.
Step 3) After exhalation again inhalation but inhalation should not involve any effort. To inhale just relax and the lungs will automatically expand and filled with air. One can begin with 15 respiration. After completing 15 quick exhalation and natural inhalation, inhale and exhale deeply. This is one round.One can start the practice of Kapalbhati pranayama with 3 such rounds for practice.
Benefits of Kapalabhati
1) Kapalabhati cleanses the lungs and entire respiratory system.
2) The blood is purified and body gets an increased supply of oxygen to all cells.
3) Digestion is improved.
4) Abdominal muscles are strengthened.
5) Prepare the mind for meditation.
6) Energize the mind for mental work.
Kapalbhati should not be practiced by those
a) Suffering from heart disease
b) High blood pressure
d) Should never be practiced when an asthmatic attack is in progress.
e) If pain or dizziness is experienced, it is preferable to stop the practice till the sensation has passed. Practiced can be restarted with less force.
f) Quick exhalation should be comfortable to oneself. i.e. quick exhalation should not be too forceful.
1) The abdomen is contracted while inhaling.
2) Shoulders are contracted to push the air out when exhaling.
3) Back and shoulders move during exercise.
Point to Note:
a) Exercise should not be done if you are feeling uncomfortable at any time during the exercise.
b) Rapid breathing used in this technique should be from the abdomen and not from the chest.
c) Kapalbhati should be practiced on an empty stomach only.
d) Ideally Kapalbhati should be practiced after the asanas or hatha yoga and Relaxation (at least 10 minutes) and before meditation
e) Chest should not move very much.
(f) It is always good and advisable that this exercise should be learned under the supervision of a yoga teacher after discussion with him about your health.