Kapalabhati (Cleaning Breath)
Kapalabhati is a breathing technique used specifically for cleansing. If we have a lot of mucus in the air passages or feel tension and blockages in the chest it is often helpful to breathe quickly. In this practice we deliberately breathe faster, and at the same time use only abdominal (that is, diaphragmatic) breathing, not chest breathing. In kapalabhati the breath is short, rapid, and strong. We use the lungs as a pump, creating so much pressure as they expel the air that all the rubbish is cleared from the air passages, from the lungs up through the nostrils. Kapala means "skull," and bhati means "that which brings lightness." Kapalabhati is a good thing to do when we feel heavy or foggy in the head. If we have problems with the sinuses or feel numb around the eyes, kapalabhati can help to clear this area as well.
The kapalabhati and bhastrika breathing techniques share the same general principle, namely that we clear the nasal passages with the force of the breath. As mentioned under bhastrika, we must be very careful with these techniques because there is a danger of creating tension in the breath. We may also become dizzy when we breathe rapidly; for this reason we always conclude the practice of kapalabhati with some slow breaths. It is important not to breathe rapidly too many times, but after a few rapid breaths take several slow ones in which we emphasize the long exhalation.
Go To: Bhramari (Nasal snoring)
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