When we drive the car and go to work, we may notice that the car traps dust. Over a week, the car starts to look dirty. If left like that for another fifteen days it will look like it definitely needs a wash.
Similarly, we trap dust and smoke in our lungs. Do we clean it regularly like the car? Even if we know that we need to clean our lungs, how do we do it?
In Yoga, Kapala Bhati or cleansing the breath technique is an effective way to detoxify and clean the lungs. It is a cleansing technique that is done by breathing rapidly in such a way that there is forceful exhalation and passive inhalation.
It is done by sitting in a meditative posture with the neck and spine erect and perpendicular to the ground. The whole body must be relaxed and the eyes closed. Hands can be rested on the knees.
Breathing is done by exhaling forcefully in quick succession. Inhalation happens automatically without effort. Exhalation is coordination with the flapping of abdomen. The pace of exhalation is progressively rapid so that at least sixty exhalations per minute is achieved. When the forceful exhalation is stopped gradually there is a natural pause in breathing till the lungs come to a restful state. Soon after, normal breathing is restored.
In Sanskrit “Kapal” means “Forehead” and “Bhati” means “Shining”. It means that this exercise makes the face bright and fresh. It removes lethargy and invigorates the nervous system.
It is a very good exercise for people with asthma and other respiratory problems as it cleanses the lungs and rest of the respiratory system. It oxygenates the cells and improves the blood circulation.
It is a useful technique if one wants to strengthen abdomen muscles and lose weight. This exercise is also very helpful to maintain a strong digestive system. It is a form of massage for the abdominal organs.
Kapala Bhati helps to improve concentration. It relaxes and calms down the mind.
There are certain precautions one needs to take before doing this exercise. It is important to practice this technique on empty stomach. It needs to be done correctly, only then it is effective. It is to be avoided by those who have high blood pressure, ischemic heart disease, hernia, spondylitis, gastric ulcer, paralysis and vertigo. Pregnant women and women during menses should avoid doing this exercise.