Kapalbhati benefits and 3 mistakes you should avoid while doing it

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.[1] A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep,[2] and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.

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Kapalbhati can help reduce workplace tension, relationship stress and anxiety – but only when you avoid making these mistakes pointed out by an expert.

When we think about the pick of the bunch, Kapalbhati Pranayam is said to be the easiest and most effective yoga asana. Known for its amazing effects on your mental well-being, Kapalbhati literally translates to ‘shining forehead’. How apt! A type of breathing exercise, Kapalbhati promotes overall good health. While this exercise is a treasure trove of goodness, some people fail to reap complete benefits from this exercise as they tend to make a few mistakes.

For absolute newbies, Kapalbhati is a rapid breathing technique that includes slow, passive inhalation and forceful active exhalation, using your abdominal muscles as you sit in a comfortable position.

Juhi Kapoor, fitness expert and yoga teacher, shared a video on Instagram about the don’ts of Kapalbhati that many people are guilty of making. She demonstrated the correct way to perform this wonderful pose along with its benefits on your health.

If you’re making these 3 common mistakes while performing Kapalbhati, stop right there! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3 major mistakes you must be making while doing Kapalbhati are:

  1. Shuddering shoulders

While breathing in and out, many people shudder their shoulders and it is an absolute no-no, according to Kapoor. If you’re performing Kapalbhati, it is advised to keep your shoulders relaxed and still. Over-straining and shuddering them will only cause more harm than good.

2. Squeezing your face

Another mistake that you must be making while performing Kapalbhati is squeezing your face as you inhale and exhale the air in and out of your lungs. Squinting your eyes or squeezing your face may cause wrinkles and fine lines on your face and have no benefits whatsoever.

3. Slouching

An erect spine is an essential part of all the yoga poses you do. Slouching while performing Kapalbhati may reduce the amount of oxygen that you push in and out of your lungs. Thus, cutting down the good effects of performing Kapalbhati.

Benefits of Kapalbhati

Motivating her followers to practice Kapalbhati daily, Kapoor captioned her post, “Kapalbhati is one of the most powerful Yoga kriyas which should be done everyday. It is great for detoxification, regulation and circulation of prana, helps boost metabolism and facilitates FAT LOSS! Kapal means skull and Bhati means to shine. This practice is truly skull shining. It will bring a glow to your face and at the same time it will help to illuminate your mind and spirit.”

If you’re making these 3 common mistakes while performing Kapalbhati, stop right there! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Recommending the correct way of performing this exercise, Kapoor says, “You must keep your eyes closed, spine erect, face muscles and shoulders relaxed while doing Kapalbhati.”

Calling it the best technique for detoxification, metabolism and weight loss, Kapoor recommends 100-300 strokes of this exercise daily for a noteworthy effect on your health.

Watch her do this amazing exercise with great poise and ease right here!

It’s time to find out the right way to practice this pretty technical kriya that comes with a plethora of benefits:

Step 1: As it is practiced in a quiet environment, make sure to choose the place accordingly. Now, sit comfortably on a yoga mat either in sukhasana, padmasana, or vajrasana, or any other pose you like.

Step 2: Place your hands on your knees, and raise them facing upwards. Next, fold the index fingers of both hands, such that their tips touch the tips of the thumb.
Step 3: Close your eyes, keep your head and back straight, and relax your shoulders.
Step 4: Inhale through both the nostrils deeply, while focusing on the belly region.
Step 5: As you exhale, pull your navel back towards the spine, as much as you can. Your exhale should feel like a light outburst; this means it should be fast, while you pull your stomach inwards. During exhalation, you should be able to hear a hissing sound.
Note: When you inhale, the stomach should come outwards, and upon exhalation, it should move inwards.
Step 6: Take 20 such breaths to complete one round of Kapalbhati Pranayam. Repeat four to five rounds per day.

Remember that your focus should be on exhalation. After a few days of practice, the exhalation and inhalation process will be automatic and smooth.

Benefits of doing Kapalbhati pranayama each day:

  1. This advanced practice of breathing helps to reduce the CO2 levels in the blood, thereby helping to increase the oxygen levels in the body.
  2. This breathing technique involves ‘active exhalation and passive inhalation’, and helps to correct the low blood circulation in the body. It also de-stresses the mind
  3. It increases the capacity of your lungs, and strengthens them.
  4. Kapalbhati is known to remove toxins and other waste materials from the body.
  5. This breathing technique also increases the pitta, and hence the metabolic rate which is known to support weight loss.
  6. It activates the brain cells, thereby improving memory and concentration power. Plus, it is a trusted technique to relieve anxiety and tension.
  7. It improves the health of your skin and gives you a radiant glow.
  8. Breathing exercises help to cure asthma and sinus.
  9. It improves digestive issues and eliminates all gastric problems. Practising kapalbhati helps to relieve gas, heartburn, and constipation.
  10. Practising this yoga asana can also cure insomnia.
  11. It boosts the production of endorphins, thereby helping to uplift your mood.

Although Kapalbhati has tons of benefits, it can cause certain troubles for some people. Kapoor especially advises to avoid doing Kapalbhati if you’re suffering from high blood pressure.

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