Kapalbhati Pranayama is a conscious breathing exercise that can detoxify the body and clear nasal congestion.
The Sanskrit word Kapalbhati breaks down into kapal meaning “skull”, and bhati meaning “to shine”. Another translation for this Kapalbhati Pranayama breathing exercise is “skull shining breath”, or “the shining forehead”.
What exactly does having a shiny forehead have to do with detoxifying the body? The ancient Yogis say that regular practise of Kapalbhati Pranayama makes the forehead glow. This is known as a sign of good health and sharper intellect.
How Is Kapalbhati Pranayama Good For Detoxifying The Body?
It is said that Kapalbhati Pranayama can remove 80% of the toxins within the body and mind! How true that is, we don’t know. No one’s ever measured that!
Removing Bodily Gases
Kapalbhati Pranayama is best used to detox your body of built up gas.
If you have been experiencing more gas than usual (flatulence, belching) your body might be trying to tell you that something else is not right inside. Sometimes we experience excess gas if we have food intolerances or sensitivities, changes in the gut microbiome, constipation, or if we have been doing activities that cause us to swallow more air than usual.
Excess gas can build up in our bodies and we end up with bloating, indigestion, even a distended abdomen. It can cause discomfort and pain too.
Kapalbhati Pranayama can greatly assist you in the removal of this gaseous build up in the body. This then cleanses and purifies the entire digestive tract for overall improved digestion and nutrient absorption.
Removing Nasal Congestion and Mucus Build-Up
Kapalbhati Pranayama is great for clearing out your sinuses thanks to the forced exhalations it requires. If you are experiencing blocked sinuses due to allergies or a common cold, this exercise can bring some added relief to your current symptoms.
Clearing Nadi Channels
This breathwork exercise is also said to improve the flow of energy along channels known as “Nadis”. The Sanskrit word Nadi, means “motion”, or “flow”. When we have blocked energy channels within the body this blocks the flow of energy, and leaves our bodies susceptible to illness and disease.
When we detox the Nadi energy channels and remove blockages, they can function more smoothly, allowing for the energy to flow through the body with more ease.
How To Do Kapalbhati Pranayama
- Do this first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
- Sit comfortably in an upright position with your back straight.
- Inhale fully through both nostrils.
- Force the exhalation through both nostrils while at the same time pulling in your belly. Your belly will go back naturally to a normal position and by the natural force of pressure you will inhale a small amount of air again.
- Then immediately force the exhalation through both nostrils again.
- Keep repeating this continuously for around 20-30 repetitions. You can use your mala beads or fingers to count.
- You may feel heat in your body and a tingly sensation around your head. This is a sign of energy building up inside.
- Optionally, you can perform the breath hold component of Longevity at the end of the exercise, followed by Energy on the final inhalation.
It is important with this breathing exercise to keep your breaths moving in a circular, continuously connected rhythm. It is also helpful to put your attention on the abdomen, while sucking it in, and blowing air out the nostrils. This blowing of air out the nostrils is actually a “forced exhalation”. As you are performing this “forced exhalation” you will be simultaneously sucking in your abdomen.