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Kapalabhati Pranayama

Kapalabhati Pranayama, often referred to as the “skull shining breath” or “shining skull breath,” is a powerful breathing technique that cleanses the lungs and energizes the body. It involves rapid, forceful exhalations and passive inhalations. Here’s a detailed process on how to perform Kapalabhati Pranayama

Step by Step Guide to Kapalabhati Pranayama

a. Sit Comfortably:
Find a quiet and clean place to sit comfortably. You can sit in a cross-legged position (Padmasana or Sukhasana) on a cushion or yoga mat.
Keep your spine straight and shoulders relaxed.

b. Relaxation:
Take a few deep breaths to relax your body and mind.
Close your eyes and maintain a calm and focused state.

Place your hands on your knees with palms facing upward and the index finger touching the thumb (Dhyana Mudra).

a. Inhalation:
In Kapalabhati, the emphasis is on the exhalation. The inhalation is passive and happens naturally after each forceful exhalation.

b. Exhalation (Active Phase):
Inhale normally to about 25 to 30% of your lung capacity.
Exhale forcefully and quickly by contracting your abdominal muscles. Focus on the exhalation being sharp and quick. Allow the inhalation to happen passively and naturally without effort.

c. Rhythm:
Start with a moderate pace, and as you become comfortable, gradually increase the speed. The recommended rhythm is around 100 to 120 breaths per minute.

d. Duration:
Begin with 30 seconds to 1 minute in the initial stages.
With regular practice, gradually extend the duration to 5 minutes or more.
  • Keep your awareness on the forceful exhalations and the natural, passive inhalations.
  • Focus on the movement of the abdominal muscles as you contract them during the exhalation.
  • A session of Kapalabhati may consist of multiple rounds with short breaks in between.
  • Start with 3 rounds, and as your stamina increases, you can gradually add more rounds.
  • After completing the desired number of rounds, stop the forceful exhalations and take a few deep, natural breaths.
  • Sit quietly for a moment, allowing the effects of Kapalabhati to integrate.

Tips

Start Slowly

If you are new to Kapalabhati, start with a slow pace and gradually increase the speed as your comfort level improves.

Abdominal Contraction

: Focus on the abdominal contraction during exhalation, keeping the chest relatively still.

Avoid Strain

If you feel dizzy or experience discomfort, slow down or stop the practice.

Consistency

Regular practice is key to experiencing the full benefits of Kapalabhati.

It’s important to note that Kapalabhati Pranayama is not recommended for individuals with high blood pressure, heart conditions, hernia, or other abdominal issues. If you have any medical concerns, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional or a qualified yoga instructor before attempting Kapalabhati or any other pranayama practice.

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