Pranayam is the regulation of breathing cycle in accordance to one's capacity. In another world 'Prana' means vital energy and ayama means 'to expand' so in actually this means Expansion of the range of the vital energy. In Sanskrit Kapal means 'skull', 'forehead' and bhati means 'luminous' and also 'perception' or 'Knowledge', Kapalbhati is the practice which brings a state of 'luminary', or 'clarity' in mind as well as in body.
Kapalbhati can be practiced as follows;
- It should be practiced empty stomach or 2-3 hours after meal. Sit in Padmasana, Sukhasana or Sidhasana and those who are unable to sit they can perform it on chair, keeping the spine straight and body firm.
- Begin inhalation through nostrils which results contraction of abdominal muscles and proper aeration to blood.
- So in Kapalbhati more attention is to be given on act of forceful exhalation while the inhalation is passive, silent and short, during abdominal contraction force is applied to the Manipura, Swadhisthan and Muladhar Chakra.
- Healthy individuals can practice it for 10 – 15 minutes regularly.
- Whereas individuals suffering from various disorders can practice it for about 20 minutes to half an hour. And the positive effects of this pranayam will be visible to them as they will observe a major downfall in their diseased state.
The benefits of Kapalbhati Pranayam are:
- This provides an individual with the mental well being.
- Improves vitality in abdominal organs.
- Also helps to stimulate pancreas to release insulin that helps in controlling diabetes.
- Improves liver and spleenic functions.
- When practiced regularly it relieves constipation, acidity, and anorexia.
- Regularizes the endocrine and the exocrine system.
- Provides relief in back pain.
- Strengthens the muscles in back and abdomen.
- Improves posture.
- Maintains and increases the flexibility of muscles, ligaments and tendons.
- Increases the bone mass index and its density.
- Purifies the blood. Thus providing beautiful and lustrous skin.
- Cures respiratory diseases as asthma, allergies, and sinus.
- Cures disorders of heart, lungs and brain.
- Blood sugar levels are maintained at a normal level.
- Helps in attainment of calmness and stability in mind.
Precautionary measures that are to be followed;
- During pregnancy and menstruation this pranayam should be strictly avoided.
- Patients must not practice this exercise during asthma attack.
- Stop immediately in case you are feeling any discomfort.
- Individuals suffering from high blood pressure and severe cardiac disorders should avoid practicing this.