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Learn The Significance Of Kapalbhati Pranayama & How To Do It

Learn The Significance Of Kapalbhati Pranayama & How To Do It

Kapalabhati is a compelling rapid breathing method that cleanses and balances the physical body. It is a traditional yogic breathing practice that is an essential part of the Shatkarma system of body cleansing techniques and prepares the body for more advanced techniques of Pranayama. Aside from being a vital cleansing practice for yoga practitioners seeking to practice higher forms of yoga, Kapalabhati is also highly beneficial for those looking to improve their overall health, breath, and bodily functions.

Significance Of Kapalbhati Pranayama

Though most Pranayama practices explained in the traditional Hatha Yoga Pradikipa scripture describe exercises where the breath is elongated and then retained, Kapalabhati uses quick and forceful breath with relatively minimal emphasis placed on retention.

In the practice of Kapalabhati, the practitioner inhales and exhales through the nose with a shorter length of breath, exhaling rapidly with force and allowing the subsequent inhale to follow automatically without force. With every exhale, the abdomen is pulled in, and will every inhale, it is relaxed. Enrolled in the 200 hour yoga teacher training in Rishikesh with us to purify your body.

The rapid breath and the quick movements of the belly create heat within the body which, in turn, has a purifying effect. Heat, or “tapa,” as it is called in Sanskrit, is written about extensively in the yogic scriptures as a vital element in the purification process. The heat that is created during the practice of Kapalabhati is therefore very effective for cleansing excess toxins, impurities, weight, and imbalances within the body and mind.

Some Notable Effects And Benefits Of Kapalabhati Pranayama Are:

The improvement of the respiratory system functions
Stabilizing and balancing hormone production and the endocrine system
Removing toxins from the body
Aiding weight loss and the removal of excess fat, particularly around the stomach
Improving respiratory health problems such as allergies, sinus problems, and asthma
Cure digestive issues such as sluggish digestion, hyperacidity, and constipation
Improve the mental health of the practitioner, relieving symptoms of depression and anxiety

How To Perform Kapalbhati Pranayama?

The simplicity of Kapalabhati practice makes it available to any level of yoga or pranayama practitioner. It can easily be practiced safely by the casual practitioner simply for the extensive physical benefits and by the more experienced practitioner in preparation for more advanced techniques.

Step 1: To practice Kapalabhati, the practitioner sits comfortably with legs crossed, ideally in the lotus or half-lotus position, with a straight spine and hands placed gently on the knees.

Step 2: Ideally, the stomach and the bowels are empty before beginning.

Step 3: To start a round of Kapalabhati, bring awareness to the movement of the breath, the abdomen, and the perineum area.

Step 4: Inhale deeply through the nose and exhale with a short, forceful hissing breath.

Step 5: The exhale should be incomplete, and the following inhale should come automatically and quietly without force and also should not be complete. The breath length should be significantly shorter than natural breathing, but beginners should maintain a relatively slower breath until becoming more established in practice.

Step 6: With every exhale, the upper and lower abdomen is activated and pulled tightly towards the spinal cord, and with every inhale, the abdomen is automatically released. As the abdomen moves in and out, the partitioner should also notice the subtle movement in the perineum area.

The length and force of the breath should be uniform throughout the whole practice and should not cause lightheadedness or agitation. After this series of rapid inhalations and exhalations has been practiced for a minimum of five minutes, to conclude one round, the practitioner forcefully exhales all the air out of the lungs and holds the breath outside (known in Sanskrit as Bahya Kumbhaka) while tucking the chin towards the chest to activate the Jalandhara throat bandha and lifting the perineum (Mula bandha) and navel (Uddiyana Bandha) to seal in the energy created by the breath.

The breath is held outside the body to the practitioner’s capacity. When the practitioner is ready to release the breath, try to exhale any remained air left in the lungs before lifting the chin, relaxing the navel and perineum, and slowly and deeply inhaling to refill the lungs completely. This is the completion of one round.

Note: People with high blood pressure, heart problems, or pregnant or menstruating women should avoid this breathing technique, but otherwise, Kapalabhati is accessible and beneficial for anyone.

To Conclude

People who practice Kapalabhati regularly are certain to notice an overall improvement in health, bodily functions, and state of mind. As the inhalations and exhalations are technically incomplete, there is a certain amount of breath retention in this practice. This, combined with the pulling in of the belly during exhalation, contributes to the cleansing heat that Kapalabhati produces.

Beginners should begin by practicing one round of Kapalabhati for two minutes and gradually increase the length of one round as the practice becomes more established. Sets of inhales and exhales are referred to as “strokes” and should eventually be counted by those looking to develop a more advanced practice.

More advanced practitioners can actively lift the perineum towards the navel to engage Mula Bandha lock and intensify the practice. This should only be done if one has a well-established Pranayama practice.

Kapalabhati is also a solid foundation for those looking to build a more advanced or profound yoga practice. If you are looking to strengthen your health or want to learn Kapalabhati Pranayama practice, join best yoga school in Rishikesh. Our expert yoga teachers will help you teach this ancient form of yoga.

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