Unlock vitality with expert Kapalabhati Pranayama insights. Master the methods and techniques for a transformative breathwork experience.

Know-Hows of Doing Kapalabhati Pranayama Methods & Techniques

Meaning/Definition of Kapalabhati (Breath of Fire)-

The term ‘Kapalabhati’ is derived jointly from the word ‘Kapala’ denoting ‘skull’ and ‘Bhati’ which means ‘shine’. It comes under the category of kriya as well as the Pranayamas of the yoga asanas. If breathing of Kapalabhati follows retention, then it may be inferred that Kapalabhati is a pranayama.
Kapalabhati Pranayama Techniques involve breathing, which tends to cleanse and make shine the kapala-the skull or the brain. The brain cells get their doses of stimulation by performing this Kapalabhati Pranayama Techniques or Kriyas.

In Classical Book Hathayoga Pradipika, Kapalabhati is termed as:

• Bhastravallohakarasya recapurau sasambhramau.
• Kapalabhatirvikhyata Kaphadosavisosani.

Kapalabhati Pranayama Techniques & Methods:

• Sit in any sort of comfortable asana such as padmasana, with the back and neck in a straight manner and the hands in jnana mudra on the knees.
• In the beginning, inhale deeply expanding the abdomen in a passive manner, and follow it up by exhaling forcefully and contracting the abdominal muscles simultaneously.
• Next inhalation must be passive enabling the abdominal muscles to expand and inhalation should be spontaneous passive recoil with no force whatsoever. One inhalation and exhalation tend to make one cycle of Kapalabhati Pranayama Techniques. Do 15 cycles to start off with. After completing 15 cycles of breath, inhale and hold the breath as long as you feel comfortable to do so. Fifteen cycles of breath make one round of Kapalabhati.
• After completion of one round of Kapalabhati Pranayama Techniques and practice, shift your focus on the third eye center and go on meditating for few minutes and then commence the next round.

Breathing Instruction/Dos & Don’ts of Kapalabhati Pranayama Techniques:

The breathing applied in Kapalabhati Pranayama Techniques must be from the abdomen most of the time, and the focus should not be the chest. The breathing rate should be enhanced at a slow pace with the increase in stamina or tenacity. During the onset of practicing Kapalabhati Pranayama Techniques, take one breath in two seconds and then proceed towards one breath in one second and thereafter two breaths in a second.

Duration of Kapalabhati Pranayama Techniques:

• 3 to 5 rounds of 15 breaths along with meditation in-between two rounds.
• Advanced yoga practitioners can extend their numbers of rounds as per the practice.

Awareness Regarding Kapalabhati Pranayama Techniques:

• Physical-on breathing
• Spiritual-on third eye center

How to Sequence Kapalabhati Pranayama Techniques?

Kapalabhati Pranayama can be practiced prior to or post the yoga asanas or neti and before meditation or concentration. One should practice it any time of the day on an empty stomach.

Preventive Measures:

If one experiences dizziness, then it’s advisable to stop the practice of Kapalabhati Pranayama Techniques, and relax for some time before resuming the practice, and that too with much awareness, caution and less force.
• Do not bend the spine in forward position, backward or sideward whilst practicing Kapalabhati. Such a bending may result in muscle sprains in the neck or back for beginners or freshers.
• Contortions of the face is a strict no-no in Kapalbhati pranayama.
• People suffering from high blood pressure, heart ailments or disease, slip disc, spondylosis, etc., should refrain from doing Kapalabhati.

The Physiological Impact/Effects of Kapalabhati Pranayama Techniques:

Kapalabhati is defined as a Kriya which tends to detoxify and stimulate all your activities throughout the length and breadth of the body. However, the effects of Kapalabhati Pranayama on the major systems and functionalities of the human body include:
‣ Nervous System-The practice of Kapalabhati activates the sympathetic nervous system, with the Sympathetic-Parasympathetic balance being well kept up or maintained. The brain cells are subjected to continuous invigoration, with increased circulation of blood combined with higher oxygen level enhancing the functions of the brain cells. As a result of which, memory along with will power and determination accentuate the practice of Kapalabhati Pranayama.
‣ Muscular System-The abdominal muscles are exercised vigorously for bringing in more blood circulation thereby increasing the digestive power and gut health of the person concerned. A person has more nutrient absorption capacity owing to improved blood supply or circulation. It also activates and tend to massage the abdominal organs of the body.
‣ Circulatory System-During the course of doing Kapalabhati Pranayama Techniques, increased heart rate pumps the blood throughout the system. Blood saturated with higher level of oxygen concentration activates and energizes all other cells’ activity levels. The lethargy and weariness of the cells is eliminated owing to the enhanced activity and oxygen level.
‣ Respiratory System-Owing to the rate of breathing 120 breaths per minute in Kapalabhati Pranayama Techniques as compared to the standardized breathing rate of about 15 per minute, there’re two effects:
‣ Cleansing of carbon dioxide from lungs and
‣ Increased oxygen concentration in the lungs.
The stale air at the end of exhalation procedure is not emptied out during the course of normal breathing. Kapalabhati Pranayama with its rapid, forceful exhalation aids in getting rid of this stagnated air thereby helping in the total cleansing and purification of the lungs.
‣ Glandular System-Kapalabhati Pranayama tends to bring the balancing effect on the glandular system. Both exocrine and endocrine glands get stimulated in the process.
‣ Therapeutic usage of Kapalabhati-Kapalabhati Pranayama Techniques increases the body’s healing power thereby subjecting it to one’s overall wellbeing. As the rate of respiration increases, it also tends to accentuate the prana flow of the body. Well, Prana forms the base of all kinds of healing that the body undergoes. People suffering from diabetes, obesity, respiratory ailments or disorders, constipation, gastritis, hyperacidity, and other forms of diseases, get immensely benefitted from Kapalabhati Pranayama which add up to their healing.

Overall Impact/Effects of Practicing Kapalabhati Pranayama Techniques:

• Cleansing, Activating & Revitalizing of varied systems of the body.
• Getting moved or shifting gears from Tamas to Rajas.

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