Kapalabhati Pranayama or “Skull Shining Breath” is a great breathing exercise to brighten up your day – from the inside out.
To get started: Sit comfortably with your spine erect. Place your hands on the knees, palms open to the sky. Take a deep breath in. As you exhale, pull your stomach in, (a quick, powerful exhale generated from the lower belly). Pull your navel in back towards the spine. Do as much as you comfortably can. You may keep your right hand on your stomach to feel the abdominal muscles contract. As you relax the navel and abdomen, the breath will flow into your lungs automatically.
Once comfortable with the contraction, speed up the pace to one inhale-exhale, (all through the nose), every one to two seconds. Take 20 such breaths to complete one round of Kapal Bhati pranayama.
After completing the round, relax with your eyes closed and observe the sensations in your body. Do two more rounds of Skull Shining breathing technique (Kapal Bhati pranayama). Keep your awareness on breathing out.
Benefits: It’s abdominal-intensive, but Skull Shining breathing will work to warm up the body, shake off stagnant energy, and wake up the brain. A very powerful breathing exercise that not just helps you lose weight but also brings your entire system into a perfect balance. It has been said that 80 percent of the toxins in our body are released through the outgoing breath. Regular practice of Kapal Bhati pranayama detoxifies all the systems in our body. And the obvious sign of a healthy body is a shining forehead.” Kapal Bhati literally translates to ‘the shining forehead’ and this is exactly what happens with regular practice of this pranayama. A forehead that glows not just from outside but also an intellect that becomes sharp and refined. (Kapal = forehead; bhati = shining; pranayama = breathing technique). Also know to clear the nadis, (subtle energy channels), stimulate abdominal organs, and thus is extremely useful to those with diabetes, improve blood circulation and add radiance to the face, improve digestive tract functioning, absorption and assimilation of nutrients, calm and uplift the mind.
Note: Please avoid practicing this breathing technique if you have an artificial pacemaker or stents, backache due to slip disc, recently went through an abdominal surgery, or are suffering with epilepsy or hernia. Women should not practice Kapal Bhati pranayama during and shortly after pregnancy, as well as during menstruation – as it involves vigorous abdominal squeezes. People with hypertension and heart problems should practice this breathing technique under a yoga expert’s guidance.
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