I have been a yoga practitioner for years. It has been very instrumental in overall wellbeing in my life.
Kapalabhati in Sanskrit means ‘skull cleaning or shining’. It is a breathing technique practised as Pranayama in yoga. Though the word sounds awkward, it is a breathing exercise of successive, rapid, forceful exhalations followed by brief passive inhalation.
The procedure is quite simple:
- Sit comfortably in Padmasana or simply legs crossed.
- Rest your hands on your knees.
- Follow your normal breathing for some time.
- In a quick moment, contract your abdominal muscles, and forcefully exhale air from both of your lungs.
- Then allow air to fill your lungs slowly without effort.
- Perform this cycle for 10 times at a stretch, then return to normal breathing. With daily practice, the cycle can easily go up to 120 times with each round.
Since this is an ancient old practise, in spite of having tremendous benefits, it has some contraindications.
- Not to be practiced by women who are either pregnant or during menstrual cycle.
- As there is too much of abdominal movements, not to be practiced by someone having abdominal hernia.
- Not to be practiced by a person with slip disc, back pain or neck injury.
- If you suffer from acute respiratory infections, it is better to rest, and let the infections go before doing any Pranayamas.
This practice has ample benefits. 7 important ones are.
1.It is a very useful tool to release congestion and volatile toxins from the body. It also cleans the nasal passage and respiratory system. It is powerful detoxifying method.
2.Since there is a contraction, relaxation of abdominal muscles, it stimulates and improves digestion.
3. It increases heart rate and blood circulation.
4. It is known to reduce stress, anxiety and tensions.
5.The endocrine system and glands are stimulated and regulated.
6.Since you focus entirely on your breathe, your mind gets rid of unnecessary thoughts, hence helps in concentrating. Therefore, a useful tool during the examination.
7. This breathing technique helps to treat diseases related to the nervous system, endocrine system and mental health.