Ardha Kapalbhati Pranayam

or Kapalabhati (pronounced KAH-pah-lah-BAH-tee) is an important part of Shatkarma (sometimes known as Shatkriya), the yogic system of body cleansing techniques. The word kapalbhati is made up of two words: kapal meaning 'skull' (here skull includes all the organs in and under the skull too) and bhati meaning 'shining, illuminating.' Due to the process, the organs in and under the skull mainly the brain, small brain and any of the spaces inside the head that are connected to the back of the nose (sinus) are influenced in a good manner. Hence the word is used in that way. It is intended mainly for cleaning the cranial sinuses but has many other effects including curing anemia. The Technique of Kapalabhati involves short and strong forceful exhalations and inhalation happens automatically. 

     Precaution of ardha kapalbhati pranayam

  • Avoid practicing this breathing technique if you have an artificial pacemaker or stents, backache due to slip disc, recently went through an abdominal surgery, or are suffering with epilepsy or hernia.
  • Women should not practice Skull Shining breathing technique (Kapalbhati pranayama) during and shortly after pregnancy, as well as during menstruation as it involves vigorous abdominal squeezes.
  • People with hypertension and heart problems should practice this breathing technique under a yoga expert's guidance.
  • Those are heart patient should do this slowly while exhaling. You can do kapalbhati pranayama in morning or evening both the time, but keep in mind that you should do this on empty stomach.
  • High blood pressure patient should practice kapalbhati at a slow rate. Means 3 exhalations per 5 seconds and force of exhalation should be reduced.
  • Practice pranayama in the supervision of an expert yoga teacher after informing about your whole health.
  • Those women’s, feel comfortable practicing pranayama during periods, can go ahead otherwise avoid it. 

    Procedure of ardha kapalbhati pranayam

  • Kapalbhati has to be practiced on an empty stomach. Early morning is the best time for the practice. In the evening also one can practice, if there is a gap of about 4 hours after the last meal.
  • To do Kapalbhati, sit in a steady posture. Padmasana, Siddhasana or Vajrasana are the most suited.
  • Place the hands on the knees and breathe normally.
  • Relax the whole body and make sure the spine is straight.  
  • Close your right nose with right hand thump.
  • Now with left nose, breathe in and out rapidly, with exhalation being forceful. The inhalation should be passive and normal. During exhalation the belly goes inside towards the thorax, forcing out the air from the lungs. Inhalation is done with relaxation to fill the lungs again with fresh air.
  • Initially one can start with 11 rounds. Later increase it to 60 rounds in one minute. Each inhalation and exhalation should take just one second. Subsequently, with enough practice, you can increase the speed to 120 rounds per minute. Here, each inhalation and exhalation takes only half a second.
  • Increasing the speed beyond this may not be useful as the breathing will become very shallow.
  •  After the number of rounds, relax and breathe normally, till the breathing rate comes back to normal. The relaxation period can be roughly between 30 seconds to a minute.
  • Repeat this process about 3 times in the initial stages. For example, if you are practicing at a rate of 60 rounds per minute, then you would have completed total of 180 rounds (with gap in between after every 60 rounds, for relaxation).  This completes one sitting. One may have multiple sittings – one in the morning and one in the evening.
  • Repeat same for right nose by closing left nose with left hand thump. 

    Benefits of ardha kapalbhati pranayam

  • Kapalbhati cleans the cranial sinuses and can relieve cerebral thrombosis.
  •  It purifies the nerves and the pranic channels.
  • Excess of Kapha (one of the Doshas in Ayurveda) is removed from the body.
  • Kapalbhati gives a clear mind and helps to control thoughts.
  • The word ‘Kapala’ means skull and ‘Bhati’ means to illumine. This practice adds lustre to the face.
  • The Hatha Yoga Pradeepika claims that all impurities of the body can be removed by practice of Kapalbhati.
  • Kapalbhati is the best practice available to oxygenate the blood.
  • It helps to remove abdominal fat and is an excellent practice for obesity.
  • It strengthens the abdominal muscles.
  • The practice of Kapalbhati helps to regulate the breathing mechanism. It prepares the body and mind to take up advanced practices of Pranayama.
  • Kapalbhati pranayama is very effective in curing stomach disorder, obesity, digestive disorder and many problems related to stomach. Those trying to loose weight can practice Kapalbhati regularly and see 100% results. Benefits of Kapalbhati Pranayama.
  • It improves the function of the lungs and other respiratory system.
  • Improves the function of reproductive system. Cures erectile dysfunction naturally.