Yoga has been around for centuries. Earlier it was associated with sadhus and yogis. Now, its numerous benefits are scientifically acknowledged and proven. Kapalbhati is one such yoga technique that focuses on your breath. It has incredible physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. When performed correctly, Kapalbhati can help you cleanse your abdomen, calm your mind, relieve worries, anxiety, and other types of stress.
This article will cover what Kapalbhati is, its step-by-step process, benefits, and tips for beginners.
What is Kapalbhati?
Kapalbhati, also known as Kapalbhati Pranayama, is a rapid breathing technique that reduces stress and promotes overall health. The name comes from the Sanskrit language; ‘Kapal’ means forehead, and ‘bhati’ means shining. It is named so because you can improve your mental well-being and physical health by practising Kapalbhati.
Kapalbhati is a rapid breathing technique that utilises abdominal muscles for forceful active exhalation followed by slow, passive inhalation. Since Kapalbhati removes toxins from the body, yoga experts call it ‘shat kriya’, which means the cleansing technique.
Kapalbhati is an intermediate to advanced yoga technique. It detoxifies your body, removes excess carbon dioxide, strengthens your core and chest, and energises your nervous and circulatory systems. If you are a complete beginner at breathing exercises, it is advisable not to start with Kapalbhati. You should learn basic breathing techniques before practising Kapalbhati.
Steps to do Kapalbhati
Many people perform Kapalbhati without knowing the proper technique. It is essential to do Kapalbhati the right way to gain its health benefits. Practising Kapalbhati is simple and easy. Here is a step-by-step guide to doing Kapalbhati:
Correct posture of Kapalbhati
The first and the most crucial step is sitting in the correct posture. To perform Kapalbhati.
- Sit in any yoga posture you feel comfortable with, such as sukhasana, padmasana or vajrasana.
- Place your hands on your knees and let your palms face the sky.
- Ensure your spine is straight, shoulders are relaxed, and neck is unstrained.
- Avoid taking backrest.
- Choose a quiet place and comfortable clothes.
Breathing technique of Kapalbhati
After sitting in the correct posture, you need to concentrate on your breathing technique:
- Take in a deep breath.
- Feel the air entering your abdomen.
- Exhale forcefully with the help of your abdominal muscles.
- While exhaling, pull your navel button as close to the spine. The movement should be fast, and you will be able to hear a hissing sound.
- You will feel abdominal muscles contracting and relaxing.
Repeat techniques of Kapalbhati
- Follow up the exhalation with automatic and immediate inhalation.
- After two to three repetitions, you will observe passive and automatic inhalation. All you need to focus on is rapid and forceful exhalation.
- Start with 15 to 20 repetitions and slowly increase the number and pace.
- If you have high blood pressure, do not exceed 20 slow repetitions. Take necessary precautions.
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Kapalbhati: tips for beginners
If you have been practising other breathing techniques and want to start Kapalbhati, do not worry, it is not difficult. If you know the correct method, Kapalbhati becomes simple and effective.
Here are a 7 tips for beginners:
- Kapalbhati involves forceful and active exhalation. So, exhale air with maximum force.
- Concentrate only on exhalation. The moment your abdominal muscles relax, inhalation will happen naturally.
- Practice Kapalbhati on an empty stomach in the morning. If your stomach is complete, you may feel vomiting after doing Kapalbhati.
- You may not feel comfortable in the initial days. After regularly practising for a few days, inhalation and exhalation will become smooth and automatic.
- Remember to start slow, do it right and then increase the number of strokes per second.
- If you suffer from ulcers, high blood pressure, heart diseases, slipped disc, and respiratory problems, practice Kapalbhati slowly. Consult your doctor before starting Kapalbhati.
- Pregnant or menstruating women should avoid Kapalbhati as it involves forceful contraction of abdominal muscles.
The rapid breathing technique has many benefits, but it must be performed with care and precaution. It is essential to do Kapalbhati the right way. You can learn the correct way of doing Kapalbhati from certified yoga trainers and practitioners.
Kapalbhati has numerous physical, mental, and spiritual benefits.
Physical health benefits of Kapalbhati
- Kapalbhati reduces abdominal fat, tones your abdominal muscles, and increases your core strength.
- It helps in fighting obesity.
- For people with acidity issues, Kapalbhati reduces acidity by removing excess carbon-di-oxide. It also helps in getting rid of gas and heartburn.
- It detoxifies your abdomen.
- Regularly practising Kapalbhati can help in relieving constipation.
- It improves the body’s immune system and helps fight against diseases.
- It slows the ageing process.
- It cleanses skin pores and eliminates toxins, making your skin glow.
- Kapalbhati makes your lungs stronger by increasing their capacity.
- It improves metabolism and aids in digestion.
- It improves blood circulation in the body and makes you feel energetic.
Mental health benefits of Kapalbhati
Kapalbhati helps in improving overall mental health and well-being.
- It declutters your brain and improves your focus.
- It stimulates your nerves and energises your brain.
- It increases the production of endorphins that make you feel positive, thereby helping to deal with depression.
- It reduces stress, anxiety, and worries caused by day-to-day life.
- It improves your memory and intellectual capabilities.
- Regularly practising Kapalbhati relaxes your neurons and calms your mind.
Kapalbhati is an age-old breathing technique that has numerous health benefits. It is a rapid breathing technique that is simple to learn and easy to practice. Practising Kapalbhati cleanses your abdomen, calms your mind, and reduces worries, anxiety, and other types of stress. Kapalbhati is also beneficial for people with mental health issues.