Kapalabhati

       Affirmation- I invite the glow and warmth of the Sun in me.            

    • Kapala”- means “skull” and “Bhati”- means “light”.  Kapalabhati is one of the Shatkarmas or cleansing/purifying techniques. Therefore the purpose of this exercise is not deep breathing but cleansing of the frontal passages. So, it should be performed as a preparatory technique before doing other pranayamas.  This technique consists of short, powerful exhales and passive inhales. This exercise is a traditional internal purification practice, or kriya, that tones and cleanses the respiratory system by encouraging the release of toxins and waste matter. 

CAUTION

Kapalabhati should always be approached with caution especially when the practice is new and much is needed to be done to understand proper technique and build stamina.

  1. Do not attempt it if you are not proficient with basic pranayamas, eg., Three-Part Breath  and Ocean Breath (Ujjayi Pranayama).
  2. Also avoid practicing Kapalabhati if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, or a hernia.
  3. Avoid Kapalabhati if there is are problems with eyes or ears.
  4. Women who are pregnant should avoid practicing this exercise.
  5. Always approach the practice with caution, especially if you have a respiratory condition, such as asthma or emphysema.
  6. Never attempt for the first time without the guidance of a qualified and knowledgeable teacher.
  7. Stop the exercise if you become faint or dizzy.

Instructions

  1. To begin, sit in a comfortable position where your spine is straight and your abdomen is not compressed like in Easy Pose (Sukhasana) or Hero Pose (Virasana). When the practice is established and is prolonged, it should only be practiced  in Lotus posture (Padmasana).
  2. Rest your hands on your knees, palms facing down.
  3. Bring your awareness to your lower belly.
  4. Inhale through both nostrils deeply.
  5. Contract your low belly toward the spine actively.
  6. 6. As you quickly release the contraction, your inhalation should be automatic and passive, focus has to be on exhaling.
  7. Begin slowly, aiming for 3 rounds of 10 exhalations each. Gradually quicken the pace, aiming for 20 exhalations in each round. Pause between rounds from few seconds to about a minute, as body demands. Always go at your own pace and stop if you feel faint or dizzy.