“Kapal” means head or skull and “Bhati” means to clean or shine. It is a practice which utilizes rapid breathing and holding of the breath to increase the oxygen content of the body, energizing, revitalizing, and recharging the entire nervous system with fresh prana.
From a comfortable seated position with your spine straight, take a few deep breaths and relax.
Inhale through your nostrils and allow your belly to expand as if inflating a balloon.
Exhale forcefully through your nostrils by contracting the abdominal muscles, and then passively allow the inhalation to happen. Repeat several times slowly, then pick up the pace finding your own comfortable rhythm.
At the end of several expulsions, exhale fully and hold the breath out for as long as is comfortable.
Inhale and hold the breath in for a few seconds or as is comfortable.
Exhale and relax. Focus your awareness on the third eye point between the eyebrows on the forehead.
Repeat one or two rounds beginning with 10 – 20 slow repetitions until you feel comfortable enough to speed up. Over time gradually progress up to 70 – 11 repetitions per round.
Benefits of Kapalabhati
- Brings mental clarity and alertness.
- Massages the abdominal organs.
- Stimulates digestion and elimination.
- Strengthens the diaphragm, heart, and nerves.
- Removes toxins and stale air from lungs.
The emphasis is on the exhalation which comes from a swift and dynamic contraction of the abdominal muscles. The inhalation will happen naturally. If you find that you are short of breath or feel dizzy, slow down and allow more time for the inhalation to happen. If you find that you are having difficulty with the rhythm of kapalabhati, place your hands on your abdomen and press your belly in as you exhale forcefully. As you inhale, release the belly and allow it to expand fully. Be sure to keep your chest and rib cage lifted, but in a relaxed way. Relax your shoulders and face.