Kapalabhati is a breathing technique used specifically for cleansing. Kapalabhati is a technique, which makes the skull (and face) shine or glow.
Kapala means “skull,”
Bhati means “light or that what shines light”
This technique is one of the the Shat Karmas (six cleansing processes in Hatha Yoga), which not only let your skull shine but also helps to clean your entire respiratory track.
In this practice, we only use the abdominal breath. In Kapalabhati the breath is rapid, short and strong.
How does it work
A forceful exhale will be generated by contracting the abdominal muscles. Air will be pushed up as the lungs work as a pump. With the air pressure all the waist will be pushed from the lungs up through the nostrils.
- Helps to remove too much mucus in the air passages
- Releases tenses and blockages in the chest
- Boosts the supply of oxygen and purifies blood
- Tones your abdominal muscles
- when you are pregnant
- during menstruation
- in case of high blood pressure
- when you suffer of any heart problems
- stop when you become dizzy, it might be that you practise with too much tension
When to practise
The best time to practise kapalabathi is in the morning on an empty stomach. In the sequence it is after the asana practise before meditation.
How to do Kapalabathi
- Take two normal breaths
- Inhale – Exhale, pulling in your abdomen (kapalabhati)
Start with 20 repetitions, gradualy you can increase the number up to 100. Always stop when you become fatigue. Keep a steady rhythm and slow down on the last few breaths. The emphasize is the on the exhalation, since the inhale will happen automatically.
- Inhale and exhale completely one time with a normal breath
- Take a deep inhale and hold your breath for as long as you comfortably can.
- Slowly exhale
You can repeat the cycle one or two times.
It is recommended to first learn the technique from an experienced teacher, before you start practise it at home, to learn the correct technique. The pranayama practise is really powerful and can have opposite effects when done incorrect.