In Sanskrit, ‘Kapal’ means skull and ‘bhati’ means ‘shining/illuminating’. Therefore, this Kapal bhati Pranayam is also known as Skull Shining Breathing Technique. Himalayan Siddha, Grand Master Akshar says "Kapal Bhathi is one of the most powerful of the pranayama techniques, and helps you illuminate your brain. This means that this practice broadens your knowledge, giving you a greater understanding of everything inside and outside."

Formation

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Sit in any comfortable pose (such as Sukhasan, Ardhapadmasan or Padmasana). Straighten your back and close your eyes. Place your palms on your knees facing up (in Prapthi Mudra). Inhale normally and focus on exhaling with a short, rhythmic and forceful breath. You can use your stomach to forcefully expel all the air from the diaphragm and lungs by compressing it. Inhalation should happen automatically while you decompress your stomach.

Steps

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  • Sit in any comfortable pose, preferably cross-legged.  (such as Sukhasan, Ardhapadmasan or Padmasana)
  • Straighten your back and close your eyes
  • Place your palms on your knees facing up (in Prapthi Mudra)
  • Inhale normally and focus on exhaling with a short, rhythmic and forceful breath
  • Exhale through the nostrils with some force and sound, as though you are trying to clear your nostrils. And then inhale but without too much effort or force.
  • As you exhale, contract your belly muscles and pull your naval inward toward the spine. Put some effort into contracting and pulling the belly in. Then release the contraction as you inhale. Inhalation doesn’t require much effort. 
  • Practice at a slow speed first
  • Take a few more such breaths in a rhythmical fashion at a comfortable pace, relax. 
  • Repeat 2-3 times.

Speed

  • Begin first with Shanth Gatti
  • Awareness of deep inhalation to fill air in the abdominal region only and short, strong exhalation which is quick, forceful and rhythmic breathing to bring the abdomen in
  • Gradually move to Madhyam Gati where the inhalation happens automatically while ballooning the abdomen out and exhaling the abdomen in with short ,quick ,forceful breaths
  • Tivra Gati is advisable only for master practitioners

Time 

  • Minimum -2 minutes; maximum -5-10 Minutes
  • Preferably done on  empty stomach early in the mornings or 2 hours after last meal

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Benefits

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  • Consciousness grows
  • Attentiveness and sensory perception are heightened by a steady practice.
  • Weight loss 
  • Improves your metabolism
  • Kapal Bhathi triggers both the sides of your brain, the right and the left.
  • Balances and forms a connection between the two sides
  • It is a dynamic pranayama for the nervous system
  • Strengthens and stimulates the digestive system and abdominal muscles 
  • Strengthens the nasal passages and removes blockages in the chest 
  • Promotes blood circulation 

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  • Improves the complexion of the skin and brings a glow on the face 
  • Increases memory power 
  • Gives mental clarity and helps overcome stress and depression 
  • Removes any extra fat from body

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Grand Master Akshar also says "In the practice of Kapal bhathi, the posture is very crucial, it is the foundation as it prepares your stomach and abdomen to move in the right way to correctly and effectively practice this technique. This is because, in this training, the exhalation is done forcefully while the inhalation is a natural process."

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