Kapalabhati

There are two school of thoughts providing alternative views on Kapalabhati Pranayama:

  • Kapalabhati Pranayama (according to the first school of thought)
  • Kapalabhati Pranayama (according to the second school of thought)

Kapalabhati Pranayama (according to the first school of thought)

Kapalabhati is basically a type of Pranayama. In certain ancient yogic scriptures it has also been mentioned as one of the Shat Kriyas or Yogic cleansing processes. It not only purifies the frontal area of brain, but also gives adequate massage to the abdominal organs and regulates respiration.

It is of three categories:

• Vatkarma
• Vyutkarma
• Sheetkarma

Vatkarma

• Sit in a comfortable posture.
• Sit straight with the spine erect.
• Close the eyes.
• Relax the body.
• Inhale through the left nostril.
• Exhale through the right nostril.
• Then inhale through right nostril and exhale through left nostril.
• Breathing should be effortless.

Vyutkarma

• Sit in a comfortable posture.
• Sit straight with the spine erect.
• Close the eyes.
• Relax the body.
• Draw water through both nostrils.
• Expel the water through mouth very slowly.

Sheetkarma

• Sit in a comfortable posture.
• Sit straight with the spine erect.
• Close the eyes.
• Relax the body.
• Suck water noisily through the mouth.
• Expel the water through the nostril with a sneezing sound.

These procedures need to be done cautiously especially the wet method

Kapalabhati Pranayama (according to the second school of thought)

The word Kapalabhati has been derived from the combination of two words Kapala- Skull and Bhati – light or lustre.

It is the milder form of Bhastrika Pranayama. The inhalation is slow and exhalation is vigorous in Kapalabhati. After each exhalation there is split second of retention. Lie down in shavasana after completing one session.

BENEFITS:

  • It is known to activate the liver, spleen, pancreas and abdomen muscles. It improves digestive power; drains the sinuses and is known to instill a sense of well being.

CAUTION:

  • It generates Prana to activate the entire body. Long practice of Kapalabhati is detrimental to the system as the breathing process is forceful.
  • It is contraindicated in persons suffering from ear or eye complaints viz. pus in the ear, detachment of the retina or glaucoma.

  • It is contraindicated in persons suffering from high or low blood pressure.

  • Stop Bhastrika or Kapalabhati if your nose starts to bleed and ear starts aching or throbbing. Do not practise it for sometime.