Some of you must have heard this term and some of you haven’t, so give me the honor to introduce you to this term (ha-ha)
Kapabhati is a pranayama (breath control) which is part of the shatkarmas (six processes) in traditional hatha yoga from 200 hour YTT in Dharamsala which aims at cleaning mind, body and speech even before starting yoga asanas just like we clean our hands before eating.
Kapalbhati is a great pranayama and there are various reasons why this pranayama is termed as great by not only me but by many professional yoga teachers and yogis.
This pranayama is a great source of cleaning our sinuses and throat area or in other words it is great for cleaning the air passages present in our head regions.
Kapalbhati is made up of two words- kapal meaning skull and bhati meaning shinning, it eventually means a shinning skull in the sense that our head will be pure and clean by doing it and it is very true.
Kapalbhati is not a true pranayama but nowadays it is classified as a pranayama so we also call it pranayama.
I can describe kapalbhati in a more technical way by including poorakas and rechakas but that’s not what I want, I want this to be in a simple and understandable English which everyone can understand, so lets begin.
Kapalbhati is done in a sitting position and not any sitting position but padmasana meaning sitting with legs crossed, this sitting way is recommended that’s why we also force on it otherwise it can be done by sitting with bended knees tucked under hips and other sitting position. You have to relax your complete body and mind from any thought- good or bad. Just relax and stay like this for five minutes so that you will feel more comfortable with it now real works start.
Start by taking a deep breath and exhale it fast, you need to take a handkerchief because there may be nosey in your nose (ew, don’t make face, its normal), it will be embarrassing in starting but it’s quite natural so don’t sweat about it, handkerchief is your knight in shining armor (ha-ha).
Now inhale again normally and then exhale fast, repeat this over and over, you should complete every exhale in one second, this way you will not get tired early and this is right pace-not fast, not slow.
You will feel tiredness after 3 or 4 minutes so take a break of minute or two but not more and then again start doing it. Remember not to overdo this pranayama at first day or week, it can make you frustrated and less enthusiastic towards it because of rush, so don’t rush.
Start with fifteen to twenty minutes in a first week and start raising the time period after some time and familiar-ness.
Now, after telling you how to do it, it time to dwell more deep in its effects for e.g.- sinus and throat cleansing, sinus and throat can have phlegm in it which causes coughing, rashes, tonsils and other nose and mouth diseases and is very bad for digestive system as well, so it should be kept in notice to not let phlegm develop and that’s what kapalbhati do, it burns phlegm but not only that, kapalbhati also strengthens our muscles which move while fast and noisy exhaling of breath, these muscles strengthens which make our capacity of digestion higher and better and also it helps for lungs by making them work properly and efficiently.
Now comes the time for precautions, ideally performance of kapalbhati don’t need expert guidance but it is compulsory in some cases and for some people.
As I have said before you should exhale every second meaning 60 exhales and 60 inhales in every minute, this number is ideal and can go up to 100 exhales and 100 inhales per minute but it can be done after long term practicing and full major over it. But remember, never to raise the number from 100 because it can cause problems related to lungs because our lungs have capacity and when we push that capacity, we only hurt ourselves.
It should be also noted that lungs patients, heart patients and diabetes patients should perform kapalbhati under expert guidance and supervision because these are critical cases and cause damage instead of profit if done improperly.
Now you all know why kapalbhati is great? Right…
Kapabhati is best for a started pranayama and that’s why it is included in cleansing process for starters in hatha yoga. Our yoga teacher training in Goa, Rishikesh, Dharamsala at Himalayas are great for every yoga enthusiast to try and develop your inner self and beautifully. Check our website for more details.