In Kapalbhati, the exhalation (or Rechaka) is forceful and rapid, while the inhalation (or Puraka) is normal. Holding of breath (or Kumbhaka) is not done in Kapalbhati (except when practiced along with the three Bandhas). Only inhalation and exhalation is practiced. Exhalation is the main part of Kapalbhati. The forceful exhalation throws out the carbon dioxide from the lungs and the deep inhalation increases the oxygen content in the blood. Kapalbhati purifies the nerves and the pranic nadis. It also removes excess of Kapha (one of the three Doshas in Ayurveda) from the body.
Sitting Posture for Kapalbhati Pranayama
Kapalbhati has to be practiced in a very steady posture. Padmasana, Siddhasana and Vajrasana can be used with hands resting on the knees. These asanas are most suited to maintain the posture during the rapid breathing motion. During the practice, every part of the body vibrates and it is difficult to maintain the posture unless it is properly locked into position.
In normal breathing, inhalation is the active process while exhalation is passive. In Kapalbhati this is reversed. The abdominal muscles and the diaphragm are used to forcefully exhale the air. The abdominal muscles forcefully move inwards towards the diaphragm thereby throwing the air out. The inhalation is done in a passive relaxed way to fill the lungs with fresh air. Practice without any gap between two respirations.
All pranayama practices should be learned under the guidance of a qualified yoga instructor. Also, if you have any medical condition, one should consult the doctor before taking up the practice. Kapalbhati should not be practiced by those suffering from heart ailments, high blood pressure, stroke or epilepsy. Those with ulcers should do it with caution. If you had any recent surgery of the thorax and abdomen, you should avoid the practice.
How to do Kapalbhati Pranayama?
- Practice Kapalbhati on an empty stomach. Early morning is the best time for the practice. In the evening also one can practice, if there is a gap of about 4 hours after the last meal.
- To do Kapalbhati, sit in a steady posture. Padmasana, Siddhasana or Vajrasana are the most suited.
- Place the hands on the knees and breathe normally.
- Relax the whole body and make sure the spine is straight.
- Now, breathe in and out rapidly, with exhalation being forceful. The inhalation should be passive and normal. During exhalation the belly goes inside towards the thorax, forcing out the air from the lungs. Relax during Inhalation to fill the lungs again with fresh air.
- Initially one can start with 11 rounds. Later increase it to 60 rounds in one minute. Each inhalation and exhalation should take just one second. Subsequently, with enough practice, you can increase the speed to 120 rounds per minute. Here, each inhalation and exhalation takes only half a second. Increasing the speed of Kapalbhati beyond this may not be useful as the breathing will become very shallow.
- After the number of rounds, relax and breathe normally, till the breathing rate comes back to normal. The relaxation period can be roughly between 30 seconds to a minute.
- Repeat this process about 3 times in the initial stages. For example, if you are practicing at a rate of 60 rounds per minute, then you would have completed total of 180 rounds (with gap in between after every 60 rounds, for relaxation). This completes one sitting. One may have multiple sittings – one in the morning and one in the evening.
Practice of Kapalbhati with the three Bandhas
Advanced practitioners can practice Kapalbhati along with the three Bandhas. The three Bandhas are the three locks – Mula Bandha (the perineum lock), Uddhiyana Bandha (the abdominal lock) and Jalandhara Bandha (chin Lock). This is also called Tri-Bandha or Maha Bandha.
- In this version, after 60 rounds (or 120 rounds) do a deep and forceful exhalation. Hold the breath.
- Simultaneously perform the three locks – Mula Bandha , Uddhiyana Bandha and Jalandhara Bandha, while holding the breath outside (also called Bahya Kumbhaka).
- Remain in this position for as long as you are comfortable. One can hold the breath outside for just few seconds in the beginning stages. As one progresses one can increase it to about one minute. Later on, one may even increase it up to two minutes. Only advanced practitioners can reach the Bahya Kumbhaka of two minutes. This is dangerous if there is no proper guidance. Always take the help of an advanced yoga instructor before you try it.
- While holding the breath, one can meditate on the void at the eyebrow center.
- Release the three Bandhas and inhale deeply. Do few deep inhalations and exhalations, till breathing comes back to normal. Then perform the next round.
Benefits of Kapalbhati Pranayama
- Kapalbhati cleans the cranial sinuses and can relieve cerebral thrombosis.
- It purifies the nerves and the pranic channels.
- This Pranayama removes excess of Kapha (one of the Doshas in Ayurveda) from the body.
- Kapalbhati gives a clear mind and helps to control thoughts.
- The word Kapala means skull and Bhati means to illumine. This practice adds luster to the face.
- The Hatha Yoga Pradeepika claims that Kapalbhati pranayama removes all impurities of the body.
- Kapalbhati is the best practice available to oxygenate the blood.
- It helps to remove abdominal fat and is an excellent practice for obesity.
- Kapalbhati strengthens the abdominal muscles.
- The practice of Kapalbhati helps to regulate the breathing mechanism. It prepares the body and mind to take up advanced practices of Pranayama.
From the Yogic Way of Life website.
I must reiterate the importance of the PTSD and CPTSD Breathing Track exercise, which I learned of and began practicing in 2012. I was one of the first people to be recognized with PTSD, in 2005. Prior to that, it was seen as something only military, emergency rescuers developed. A lifetime of satanic ritual abuse is the cause of CPTSD. One can recover, although it is said to be impossible… they just want you to believe that to keep you from realizing it was done to you because of who you are: a DIVINE LIGHT BEING WITH A HIGH VMAT2 GENE EXPRESSION.
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