Breath of the Month for February: Kapalbhati
Welcome to our second breathing practice of this monthly series! Each month, I will share with you a new breath that is classified as either calming, energizing, balancing, or a breath to “put me to sleep.”
This is Kapalbhati pranayama.
Kapal = forehead; Bhati = shining; Pranayama = breathing exercise
This is a powerful pranayama practice and offers energy, weight loss, and overall health by removing toxins through the exhale. This is an excellent pranayama for cold and flu season to expel mucous and stagnant air. This pranayama will warm you up quickly if you are cold, making it a go-to pranayama in the winter months.
On an emotional level, this pranayama helps to reduce negativity and can assist you in changing old habits.
On a mental level, this pranayama will help you to improve focus and clarity of mind.
On a beauty level, yoga references Kapalbhati as the pranayama that will bring luster to your face.
There are certain cautions for this pranayama, please read about them at the end of this article before you begin.
Kapalbhati is better than espresso. It will wake you up and get you going! —Anna Laurita, Davannayoga
- With a straight spine, place your hand on your abdomen to make sure you are breathing in the correct direction ( Inhale, abdomen expands/exhale, abdomen contracts)
- Inhale, relax the abdomen – no force here, no sound
- Exhale and pull the navel toward the spine making the sound of blowing your nose
- Try this at a slow pace for 30 seconds – try 2- 3 rounds
- If you get dizzy stop and rest.
- Same as above, only breathe at a quicker pace.
- Same as intermediate although you can increase the amount of time you practice to 1 minute and try 3 rounds.
CAUTIONS for this Pranayama:
Avoid practicing Kapalbhati if you have heart issues (pacemaker, artificial valves), untreated high blood pressure, hypertension, epilepsy, vertigo, or if you are pregnant. If you are in menopause, be aware that this pranayama raises the heat level in the body. As always, ask your doctor if you are well enough to practice this pranayama if you are unsure.