Kapal = forehead; bhati = shining; pranayama = breathing technique
Here’s a very powerful breathing exercise that not just helps you lose weight but also brings your entire system into a perfect balance. Dr. Sejal Shah, Sri Sri Yoga teacher, explains the importance of Kapal Bhati, “80 percent of the toxins in our body are released through the outgoing breath. Regular practice of Kapal Bhati pranayama detoxifies all the systems in our body. And the obvious sign of a healthy body is a shining forehead.” Kapal Bhati literally translates to ‘the shining forehead’ and this is exactly what happens with regular practice of this pranayama. A forehead that glows not just from outside but also an intellect that becomes sharp and refined.
How to do Skull Shining breathing technique (Kapal Bhati pranayama)
- Sit comfortably with your spine erect. Place your hands on the knees, palms open to the sky.
- Take a deep breath in.
- As you exhale, pull your stomach. Pull your navel in back towards the spine. Do as much as you comfortably can. You may keep your right hand on the stomach to feel the abdominal muscles contract. Pull the navel in.
- As you relax the navel and abdomen, the breath flows into your lungs automatically.
- Take 20 such breaths to complete one round of Kapal Bhati pranayama.
- After completing the round, relax with your eyes closed and observe the sensations in your body.
- Do two more rounds of Skull Shining breathing technique (Kapal Bhati pranayama).
The exhalation in Skull Shining Breathing Technique (Kapal Bhati Pranayama) is active and forceful. So just throw out your breath. Don’t worry about the inhalation. The moment you relax your abdominal muscles, inhalation will happen naturally. Just keep your awareness on breathing out. Learn this technique from a Sri Sri Yoga teacher and then you can practice it at home on an empty stomach.
Benefits of Skull Shining breathing technique (Kapal Bhati pranayama)
- Effective in reducing weight by increasing the metabolic rate
- Clears the nadis (subtle energy channels)
- Stimulates abdominal organs and thus is extremely useful to those with diabetes
- Improves blood circulation and adds radiance to the face
- Improves digestive tract functioning, absorption and assimilation of nutrients
- Results in a taut and trimmed down belly
- Energizes the nervous system and rejuvenates brain cells
- Calms and uplifts the mind
Who should avoid doing Skull Shining breathing technique (Kapal Bhati pranayama)?
- 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 (Kapal Bhati 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.
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