Kalpalbhati is a type of pranayama, a part of yoga asanas. If one wants to learn kalpabhati, they should try and do it early in the morning. Before we move onto the benefits of kapalbhati, let us check out a YouTube tutorial to help you understand how this exercise works. The video tutorial is by health and fitness influence Natasha Noel, who easily explains how to do it and how it will help your body and mind.
What is Pranayama?
Pranayama is the training of regulation of our breathing. It is the key element of yoga, which is an exercise that keeps us mentally and physically fit.
The exercise of pranayama contains exercises of breathing and its patterns. It would help if you breathed in, let your breath out and hold the breathing in a precise order.
In yoga, it is used for different practices such as asanas which the physical position of the body, and dhyana, which is meditation. Together both are beneficial for our physical and mental well-being.
What is Yoga?
Yoga does not mean repetition of some positions; it is actually about finding the stubble and delicate energy of our life.
These energies you can feel if you sit a place in silence and focus on the center of the forehead. Make sure your eyes are closed.
It is the best way to unit our soul, mind, and body. All you have to do is still and motionless.
Deep breathing when doing multiple asanas is important as it heals the body from inside and fixes all the imbalance in the body.
What does Kapalbhati pranayama means?
The word ‘kapal’ means skull or forehead, the word ‘bhati’ means shining or illuminating, and the word ‘pranayama’ means breathing technique or breathing regulation.
We can even break down the word pranayama. In Sanskrit, the word ‘prana’ means the energy of life, and the word ‘yama’ means to have control.
One of the main benefits of Kapalbhati is it helps in weight loss, but it also has other benefits.
Why should you do this Pranayama?
Kapalbhati pranayama removes 80 percent of toxins from the body. It happens while you are exhaling.
Regularly doing this asana will help you to detoxify the whole body. Yoga experts said a healthy body would show on one’s forehead. Their forehead will be shining.
How to do Kapalbhati?
First, sit on a yoga mat and keep your spine straight. The hands should be placed on the knees, and the palms should be open upwards.
Second, inhale a few times deeply.
Third, when you are breathing out, pull the stomach inside. The navel should be in the back near the spine. You can even place the right hand on the belly so that you can feel the muscles contractions.
Fourth, once you relax your belly and navel, breathing will inevitably flow in the lungs.
Fifth, to complete one set, you need to do 20 such breathing techniques.
Sixth, once you are done with one set, relax, keep the eyes close and try to feel and observe your body.
Seven, do 3 to 4 rounds if you are a beginner. However, if you feel any discomfort, then stop doing it immediately.
Four bits of Advice for Beginners
- The breathing out process of kapalbhati pranayama is strong, active, and powerful
- Always do this on an empty stomach. Do it once you get up in the morning
- Do not care about the breath; the minute you will relax the muscles of the abdomen, breathing will happen automatically
- Be mindful while breathing out.
11 Benefits of Kapalabhati Pranayama
Here are the top benefits of kapalbhati:
Oxygenizes the Lungs
Some of the very rare breathing methods where all the air inside our lungs is completely replaced. Every so often, specifically, as soon as we inhale inadequately, some bad air will be there at the lowest part of our lungs.
Two important benefits of kapalbhati are that the rapid, strong, and powerful breathing people do in kapalbhati asana cleanses the lungs.
It also prevents tuberculosis.
Strengthens the lower TA muscle
The TA or transverse abdominal muscle is a vital core muscle. Sadly, it gets ignored cause the rectus abdominal is situated near it, which is the six-pack, aka one of the most significant abs almost everyone wants. However, to have more stability for the core, this muscle is important. While doing uddiyana bandha asana, this muscle is used the most. Thus, it helps us to improve our breathing technique when we use it properly.
For beginners who just started kapalbhati asanas, their transverse abdominal muscles will wear out very quickly. The goal for beginners is to differentiate between the lower and upper transverse abdominal (TA). Though, within few weeks, you will overcome this issue.
Helps to Lose Weight
A lot of yoga trainers or ayurvedic medics will tell people who are overweight to practice kapalbhati asana. It is mainly suggested to people who have excess fat in their belly region. Because obesity is one of the indications of having extra Kapha, and kaplabhati is known to decrease the Kapha inside our body. Moreover, it as well increases the metabolic rate that helps us to lose weight as well.
Improves Digestive System
Other benefits of kapalbhati asana are that it stimulates our digestive system. Moreover, having a improve digestive system means the muscles will be stronger and responsive. Thus, it will stimulate the flow of the blood in that area.
Toughens Mula Bandha
Once someone practices kapalbhati pranayama efficiently with powerful contractions in the lower region of the abdomen, they will automatically practice Mula Bandha to produce more strength and force automatically.
The pelvic muscles will be strengthened due to the Mula bandha’s pulsation and will significantly progress their connection.
What are the benefits of having a strong Mula bandha?
It will help someone with their yoga techniques and exercises. Even prevent someone from unintentionally urinate in public.
Decreases Kapha Dosha
According to ayurvedic theories, our body has 3 ‘doshas’: Kapha, Vata, and pitta. Our goal should always be to have sync between all 3 of them. However, most individuals have an imbalanced dosha and thus leads to some sickness or weak health.
Illnesses related to having excess Kapha in our body might be enhanced by doing asanas like kapalbhati pranayama, which significantly decreases Kapha.
Some symptoms which are related to Kapha are being overweight, excess phlegm, exhaustion, and laziness.
Increases the Metabolism or Pitta
Kapalbhati is known as heating pranayama because one can feel it extremely strongly after doing some sets.
In Ayurveda, it rises the pitta or the metabolic fire. That means your metabolism will be faster.
However, it can be a problem for those who already have a fast metabolism. Excessive kapalbhati pranayama can be harmful to them.
Specifically, in the summer months, because the metabolism increases naturally besides sometimes it is advisable do not to do kapalbhati pranayama in hot months.
But, for yogis having a high metabolism is necessary and is one of the benefits of kapalbhati pranayama. They do many yogic practices that convert the metabolism or pitta in the form of Agni, resulting in the powerful Kundalini energy.
Thus, it is fine if one has many pittas if they are doing different techniques.
Stimulates Manipura Chakra
This chakra is situated at the same level and closes to our navel, towards the back of the spine.
Once someone is at the advanced stage of kapalbhati pranayama, it lowers the transverse abdominal (TA) muscle and attacks Manipura chakra, thus triggering and stimulating the qualities of the chakra. Moreover, if you can visualize this process, it will be more powerful and have more accuracy.
Why is it beneficial? Manipura chakra is also known as the power chakra, and if the chakra is well balanced, it will help a person present their viewpoints and even influence others.
Might Lead to Spiritual State
If you are doing kapalbhati pranayama for a long time, it can help you reach the impetuous state of mind; it is called Kevala Kumbhaka.
Experts even said that if someone does a lot of high intense kapalbhati pranayama, then the oxygen levels in our blood will be extremely high, and the brain will not find any difficulty initiating the breathing. However, if it reaches a point where there will be no breathing movement, the mind is a suspend mode, and the person enters the state known as Samadhi.
This is one of the benefits of kapalbhati, but you can reach this state once you expect it. The strokes should be perfect, fast, and strong that only an advanced practitioner can achieve.
Boost Memory and Concentration
There is no scientific proof to this, but many people have said it has made them sharper and has more concentration level.
Even though our brain is situated inside the skull, it does rhythm with our breathing. It is repetitively rising and falling of the volume; it is a movement that helps blood circulation to every tissue of the brain.
That’s why the pulse movement of the brain rises while doing pranayama, such as Kalapbhati. Fresh blood is flushed out, and the stagnant blood goes out.
Some experts stated, this movement stimulates our memory, attentiveness, and concentration.
Easy to do
Beginner-friendly and is very easy to do and prepares a person to do more advanced asanas.
The fast and forced breath-in and breath-out technique used in this asana reduces the carbon dioxide levels in our body and creates more oxygen for the body.
Moreover, before doing kapalbhati pranayama, if someone practices some slow and easy breathing pranayama, an example is nadi shodhana, it will be easier to do this. The span of each breathing session will increase rapidly.
Since the cells already have a lot of oxygen supply, there will be less urgency to breathe in more air. Also, the breathing technique is powerful and forceful so that it will clear out the nose.
6 Side Effects of Kapalbhati Asana
If the asana is not done correctly or under any expect then it might cause some side effects. That includes:
- If not done perfectly, it might cause high blood pressure.
- Kapalbhati pranayama might be the reason for hernia.
- You might feel nausea or might urge to throw up if this pranayama is not on an empty stomach.
- Some individuals complain of shakiness and fatigue after they have done their first session of breathing practice.
- Either you will have a dry mouth, or you might have excess saliva after you are done kapalbhati pranayama.
- Kapalbhati needs energy, so that you might sweat a lot after the session.
9 Precautions before doing the Asana
When you are doing Kapalbhati pranayama, there is some precaution that you need to be considered:
- If you have heart conditions or recently suffered from any heart illness, then when you are exhaling, do it slowly.
- Kapalbhati pranayama should not be done right after you have a meal. Give at least an hour or two gaps.
- You should do it slowly and softly if you are suffering from hypertension.
- It is best to learn from a professional yoga expert and Kapalbhati from a certified yoga instructor. If possible, do talk to a doctor before considering doing it.
- If you are pregnant, then do not do this asana.
- Do not practice kapalbhati pranayama if you have slipped a disc or have a stent.
- If you are suffering from ulcers, then do not do this asana. Be very cautious if while practicing it.
- Beginners should not do this asana. Once you know the basic levels of pranayama, then start doing kapalbhati.
- When practicing kapalabhati pranayama, be very cautious, specifically if you have asthma or have other respiratory issues.
There are so many benefits of kapalbhati, and we highly suggest you include it in your daily routine.
It calms and enhances the mind, strengthens the nervous system, raises the metabolic rate, revitalizes brain cells, improves blood circulation, faster absorption, and gives a glow in the face.
If you are serious about pranayama and yoga, then it is a great way to start it. Talk to an expert or Ayurvedic practitioner to see if it is for you and will help you or not.