Our lungs are faced with a serious challenge day after day. We inhale not only oxygen, but also various harmful substances (carbon dioxide, dust). Kapalabhati exercise cleanses the pulmonary system, stimulates cardiovascular function, tones the body and clarifies the mind. It works according to a unique yoga technique. Here there is rapid breathing - inhalation-exhalation - and intense contraction of the abdominal muscles.
What is kapalabhati?
The execution technique is purifying breath. A distinctive feature of this practice is an active sharp exhalation and a passive breath, whereas in ordinary breathing, on the contrary, the breath is always more dynamic. Hatha yoga includes many techniques of pranayama with a long exhalation. In contrast, in Kapalabhati, all air emissions are sharp and intense, and breaths are calm and balanced.
The powerful breaths used here increase the amount of inhaled air. As a result, all tissues and organs of the body receive more oxygen than during normal breathing.
A long occupation of kapalabhati cleanses not only the lungs, but also all tissues in the body from unnecessary mucus, toxins and harmful gases.
Hatha Yoga identifies six basic cleansing practices. Kapalabhati refers to the latter. According to ancient sources, it is called bhalabhati.
According to Gheranda Samhita, three techniques are included in kapalabhati: watkrama, vyutkrama and sitkrama. The first is the most common, the second and third are rarely used because of the features of their implementation.
About the techniques of vyutkrama and sitkrama in kapalabhati
The technique of performing vyutkrama and sitkrama implies the vertical position of the body. Vyutkrama translates as "removal system." In its implementation, it is similar to jala neti. Before practice, it is necessary to prepare a container of warm water in which salt is added.
You need to lean forward and scoop up a little salt water from the prepared container with your palm. Pull it in through the nasal passages. In this case, water should drain through the mouth, from where it is spit out. Thus do several approaches.
When performing this technique, you need to relax and free your head from negative thoughts. If pain occurs during practice, it means that little or too much salt has been added.
The shitkrama in kapalabhati belongs to the third practice and is the opposite in the technique of performing vyutkrama.
The exercise is performed while standing, and in order to do it, you need a bowl of salty warm water. Water with salt is drawn into the mouth and pushed up into the nasal cavity. Where does she come from herself.
Here, as in previous practice, absolute relaxation is required. After the session is completed, the remaining water is removed from the nose or the first technique of kapalabhati - watkrama - is done.
Pranayama in yoga relieves sinus sinuses from unnecessary mucus, helps to prevent the aging process, rejuvenates, relaxes the muscles of the face and nervous system, makes the eyes radiant and clarified, cleanses thoughts, helps activate ajna chakra.
In kapalabhati, the technique of performing watcrama is as follows. Before practice, you should take a comfortable pose with a straight back. The chest should be straightened and the stomach relaxed. The fingers of both hands can be folded into the mud of “Chin” or “Gyana”.
After taking the desired position, intense and noisy exhalations through the nostrils are made. Inhalation occurs spontaneously, and the stomach relaxes at this time. Beginners perform the exercise at a speed of one exhale-inhale per second. More experienced practitioners take two breaths in a second.
Classical practice includes three approaches of 20-50 cycles, which takes about five minutes in time with interruptions.
If the technique is mastered sufficiently, you can increase the number of breaths in the approach or apply a breath hold.
Beginners are advised to do delays on exhalation, since in this case the cleansing process will be more active. Experienced yogis hold their breath as they inhale. Their body is already cleansed.
When you hold your breath while exhaling, practitioners perform three bandhas (locks). Typically, these are jalandhara bandha, uddiyana bandha, and mula bandha. Remove the "locks" from the bottom up. First, mulu, then uddiyana, and at the end they remove jalandhara. If the delay is made on inhalation, then two bandhas are used: mula and jalandhara.
The exhale here is strong, short and full. The breath is long and steady. At the end of the exhalation, the abdominal muscles are pinched, and air is quickly ejected through the nose. During the technique, only the anterior abdominal muscles should work. Inhalation goes immediately after exhalation. At this moment, the stomach lowers and relaxes.
Yoga (kapalabhati) requires certain skills. Therefore, at first, many make certain mistakes. Typically, these are:
- Alignment of exhalation and inhalation in its duration. Inhalation should be longer than exhalation by a third.
- Excessive abdominal muscle tension.
- Sharp manipulations in the sternum.
- Shoulder movements during exercise.
- Retraction of the abdomen.
- Flexion of the spine.
- Extraneous movements.
In kapalabhati, the technique of execution involves maximum relaxation of the body. All unnecessary thoughts are removed from the head.
The practice of kapalabhati should not be done to people with bronchopulmonary diseases, as well as people with cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure. The technique is forbidden to people with pathology of the lungs, to people with impaired function of the diaphragm and organs adjacent to it.
With caution, practice with a hernia in the abdominal cavity.
During the performance of kapalabhati, you should carefully monitor your well-being. Excessive zeal in performing the technique may result in dizziness and increased intracranial pressure.
Frequent practices provoke the occurrence of hyperactivity of the pineal gland, as well as inhibit the work of the reproductive organs in both men and women.
Kapalabhati: purpose and effect in therapy
Pranayama practice perfectly cleanses the lungs, which is a good prevention of tuberculosis.
It helps to remove carbon from the body or significantly reduces its amount. The rapid loss of carbon dioxide stimulates cellular activity. Very useful for people with a sedentary lifestyle, the practice of kapalabhati.
The benefit of the technique is visible in the stimulation of venous circulation, because the incoming amount of arterial blood in the heart increases. Continuous exercise makes the diaphragm of the lungs more powerful. As a result of this, oxygen penetrates into all tissues of the human body faster and in larger quantities. This helps not only to feel good, but also to look great. Minute ventilation in this practice stabilizes blood circulation, removes metabolic products. During the exercise, a minimum amount of energy is expended.
Kapalabhati helps to keep the abdominal muscles in good shape, develops muscles in this area, removes excess fat folds, makes the skin more elastic, even.
Kapalabhati's breath massages internal organs. This improves the digestive tract, peristalsis and the activity of the endocrine glands. There is a release of gas in the intestines and constipation.
Practice positively affects the nervous system, tones it, especially the neurovegetative area.
Pranayama technique gives vigor, freshness of thought, activates the pineal gland and pineal gland, cleanses the nasopharynx. Continuous exercise restores sleep, helps to cope with insomnia, makes morning awakening more joyful, develops clairvoyance.
Activation of the pineal gland promotes the production of more melanin. It is he who is responsible for the activity and passivity of the human body, slows down the aging process, relieves stress and prevents the progression of tumors, is a powerful antioxidant.
How to adapt to the load
Kapalabhati exercise carries one important detail - the number of repetitions of exhalations and inspirations. With an increase in the minute volume of breathing, one should not rush, and the load on the body should be increased gradually.
In the first week of classes do three approaches, each of which consists of ten respiratory cycles. After each approach, take a break of 30 seconds and breathe normally.
Ten exhalations and breaths are added weekly. The minute volume of breathing should be close to 120 cycles per minute. This indicator is considered the norm level. The breath in yoga with this technique is increased six times.
If there is no breath holding in the exercise, then the jalandhara bandha is not performed, and the mula bandha is obtained spontaneously, without any effort. This means that the technique is performed correctly; in another situation, they do not do mulu bandha.
Concentration of attention
Breathing in yoga is undoubtedly important, but you should not forget about concentration of attention when doing the exercise .
At the first stage, all attention should be directed to the correctness of the exercise, in particular to the force of exhalation, evenness of inspiration and respiratory rate.
It is necessary to monitor the position of the body. The chest should be straightened, the back straight, and the face relaxed.
After mastering the practice, attention should be transferred to the navel. It is in this part that intense muscle contraction occurs during exhalation. During the break between approaches, you need to carefully listen to your feelings in the body.
Proper breathing in yoga is not an easy thing, so during regular classes a lot of questions arise. The practical tips described below will help you master the execution technique more thoroughly. So:
- Kapalabhati should be practiced in a position when the spine and head are straightened. At this time, you do not need to be distracted by asanas, and all attention should be focused on breathing.
- During exercise, take a vertical position. Shoulders straighten, and chest open. Inhalations, in contrast to exhalations, are incomplete. With active contraction of the diaphragm into the lungs, more air is drawn in when inhaling.
- The technique is performed on an empty stomach and in complete silence. Do not practice exercises on the go or while doing any business. Otherwise, the abdominal muscles will not get the necessary relaxation.
- During practice, only the front muscles of the peritoneum work, all other parts of the body should be in a relaxed position. Do not make unnecessary movements, as they reduce the effectiveness of kapalabhati.
- Inhalation is performed only with a relaxed diaphragm and abdominal muscles, while during exhalation, the peritoneal region is tensed.
- During the execution of pranayama, the nasal cavities should be maximally expanded to allow more air to enter inside and out.
- The tongue is pressed against the sky during the exercise, and the lips and teeth are closed without tension.
- Uddiyana bandha (abdominal retraction) should be used to increase diaphragm mobility. In practice, the kapalabhati diaphragm should be relaxed. The abdomen should be relaxed quickly after each exhalation. The practice of uddiyana bandha will help to master this moment.
- Mula bandha should be performed spontaneously, if this does not happen, then do not have to do asana forcibly.
- During the execution of kapalabhati, a handkerchief should be at hand, as intensive breathing removes mucus from the nostrils.
- The number of breaths in one approach can be brought up to two hundred within a month.
- Kapalabhati is advised to do before performing neti, meditation and before concentration. This practice is useful before and after the asanas.
- The occurrence of dizziness during exercise indicates an excessive intensity of their implementation. In this situation, you need to interrupt the exercise and relax for a few minutes.
- Inhalation should be spontaneous, and exhalation so that there is no feeling of lack of oxygen, there was a desire to make breathing more intense.
- During exhalation in kapalabhati, the compression of the diaphragm decreases and decompression appears. A brain massage occurs, and the respiratory process increases by 3-7 times. This allows you to remove from the lungs a greater amount of carbon and other no less harmful gases than with gradual habitual breathing.
- Performing the kapalabhati technique is not so simple. At first, you may feel discomfort in the form of dizziness, which indicates an oversaturation of the body with oxygen. When these symptoms appear, you should stop, calm down and take a breath. Exercise should be resumed at a calmer and slower pace.
- If at first it will be difficult to exhale sharply through the nose, then you can try to exhale through the mouth. At this point, you can imagine that you need to put out a candle, which is located at a distance of a meter. Then again you need to try exhaling through the nose. You should feel the compression of the peritoneum at this moment.
- Beginners must first do everything slowly and carefully, control their every action and try to hone the technique as much as possible. Then you can bring the practice to 40-60 respiratory cycles.
Hatha yoga requires careful attention when performing pranayama practice, but all the effort expended pays off over time. The result of the cleansing process in Kapalabhati has a positive effect on health, improves well-being, appearance and overall quality of life.