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Everything You need to know about Kapalabhati

Kapalabhati Pranayama, also known as Skull Shining Breath or Breath of Fire, is a rejuvenating breathing technique that clears the lungs, nasal passages, and mind. Kapal means "cranium" or "forehead" in Sanskrit, and bhati means "light," "perception," and "knowledge". As a result, Kapalabhati brings lightness and clarity to the frontal region of the brain. This is active pranayama that requires a rapid contraction and release of the abdomen and focuses primarily on the exhalation; the inhalation occurs passively and without effort. Kapalabhati is a tridoshic balancer.


  • Balances excessive Vata, pitta, and Kapha.

  • Lung cleansing.

  • Improves circulation, particularly in the head.

  • Reduces mental distractions, and encourages alertness.

  • Removes drowsiness while also energising the body and mind.

  • Increases sensory perception.

  • Improves Memory, concentration, and intelligence.

  • Mental work and meditation are made easier by preparing the mind.

  • Keeps the head cool.

  • Stimulates synovial circulation in the joints

  • Tones the digestive organs, improving Agni and appetite.

  • Cleanses the blood.

  • The nervous system is balanced and strengthened.

  • Immune support.

  • The pranic channels are cleansed.

  • Improves the voice's melodic qualities.


Pregnant or menstruating women should not practice kapalabhati. Individuals with high or low blood pressure, heart disease, hernia, gastric ulcer, epilepsy, vertigo, migraine headaches, significant nosebleeds, detached retina, glaucoma, history of stroke, and anyone who has recently undergone abdominal surgery are also contraindicated. If you experience vertigo during or after this practice, please stop and seek the advice of a qualified yoga teacher.

Before You Start:

Kapalabhati is more advanced pranayama that requires some knowledge of abdominal breathing. Before attempting kapalabhati, you should be comfortable with more fundamental pranayamas like Full Yogic Breath. These guidelines are intended to provide a safe general introduction to this practice. Of course, learning a new technique in person with a qualified teacher is always advisable.

How to Practice:

Kapalabhati should be performed on an empty stomach, so wait at least three to four hours after eating before engaging in this practice. Choose a sitting position that is comfortable for you. It is best to sit cross-legged on the floor with a cushion or blanket to comfortably elevate the hips if you are able. You could also sit toward the front of a chair, with your feet flat on the floor. Allow the spine to lengthen and the back, neck, and head to be erect.

Close your eyes gently and breathe in through your nose (you will be breathing through the nostrils throughout this practice). Begin with a few deep breaths to ground the mind and gently awaken the pranamaya kosha (the energetic body). When you're ready to begin kapalabhati, expel the breath forcefully through the nostrils (without strain or tension) while dynamically pulling the navel inward toward the spine, gently contracting the abdominal muscles. Allow the inhalation to happen passively as you release the abdomen; the lungs will fill without any effort. Initiate another forceful exhalation, drawing the navel inward once more, and then allow the inhalation to follow mindlessly. This process is repeated as quickly as possible—one exhalation per second or faster. Begin with 20 repetitions. Allow your breath to return to normal after completely emptying your lungs on the final exhalation.

The abdominal muscles will become stronger with practice, and you can gradually increase the number of repetitions to fifty to one hundred at a time. You can extend your practice by doing two or three rounds of fifty to one hundred breaths each. For example, you could begin with hundred breaths, pause for a minute or two to rest and observe, and then repeat hundred times.

When you're ready to call it a day, take a moment to observe how you're feeling. Allow your focus to shift to the frontal region of the brain and the space between your brows. Take note of your thoughts and mental state. Take note of how you physically feel. What sensations do you notice as a result of this practice, and where do you feel them in your body? When you feel finished, gently open your eyes, directing some of your awareness within as you slowly stand and offer your full attention to the rest of your day.

Love and Peace,

xx Khyati ❤

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