Sunday, November 2, 2014

get that healthy glow back with Kapalbhati Pranayama

Ahhh…the glow of youthful, healthy skin! If you are menopausal or post-menopausal you may have noticed that your skin is losing tone and radiance and wonder what to do about it.

The good news is that it's easy to achieve and will cost you nothing.

Forget skin care products that cost more than caviar, they are a complete waste of money.

If you have money to burn, you'd be better off sharing a bottle of champagne and a dozen oysters with your friend(s). The glow may not last, but at least you will have a good laugh, and maybe more :-)

The problem with hedonistic pleasure is that it's impossible to turn it into a routine without it losing its appeal.

So, save the champagne and oysters for special occasions and start doing some Kapalbhati instead.

Kapalbhati is derived from the Sanskrit work ‘kapal’ meaning forehead and ‘bhati’ meaning light. The practice of Kapalbhati breathing appears in ancient yoga texts where this breathing exercise is used to illuminate the mind and increase vitality.

To perform Kapalbhati you need an empty stomach.

Sit in Padmasana (Lotus Pose) and keep your spine straight and lengthened.

Let your hands lie on your knees in Gyan Mudra (the tips of your thumb and index finger touch each other)

Start with forceful exhalation followed by smooth inhalation through both nostrils.

Ribs are kept slightly raised and contracted throughout the practise of Kapalbhati. The muscles which move freely are the diaphragm and the front abdominal muscles. The fall and rise of the ribs are very slight during Kapalbhati and are almost negligible.

Inhalation in Kapalbhati breathing is completely involuntary and happens naturally.

After the passive inhalation, exhale once again forcefully. Repeat this for at least 50 times and as you progress in your practice you will be able to reach a count of 100 effortlessly.

Ideally, you should practice Kapalbhati for ten minutes a day to see some benefits. The best time to practice is in the morning, as soon as you get out of bed.

This type of breathing exercise works on the heart and lungs and helps maximize their functioning.

Kapalbhati improves digestion and reduces stomach problems such as gas, indigestion, and constipation.

The intense movements of the abdominal muscles help tone the area and reduce fat around the stomach.

According to ancient yoga texts, Kapalbhati breathing can remove negative thoughts through the process of skull cleansing. This cleansing also extends to the other chakras or energy pathways in the body and improves the flow of ‘Prana’ or Life Force through all parts of the body.

Kapalbhati breathing can generate heat within the body. This helps rid the body of harmful toxins and prevent illnesses.

Kapalbhati and Formation of Mula Bandha

The vibrations created during Kapalbhati positively result in contraction of the perineum and anal sphincter. This action involuntarily forms Mula Bandha, the Root Lock. It tones the uro-genital and excretory systems, which is particularly beneficial to menopausal women.

On a spiritual level here is where the realignment of the physical, mental and psychic bodies takes place.


Vigour and speed, number of rounds should be determined judiciously. If there is a feeling of giddiness one should not continue the practice.

In between rounds breath naturally to give rest to the system, avoid fatigue or dizziness.

People suffering from heart disease, high blood pressure, epilepsy, spondylosis, slip disc and hernia should avoid Kapalbhati.

Do not practice if there is any serious injury in the respiratory tract especially in the nose (bleeding). if there is pain in the abdomen or chest, if you suffer from fever or headache.

Women during menstrual periods and pregnancy should not practice Kapalbhati.

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