Archive for Kapala Bhati

Kapala Bhati

Kapala-Bhati is the latest in the list of the Shat-karma i.e. the six processes of cleansing the Nadis. This practice holds a considerable spiritual value also. It is a breathing exercise but not a Pranayama in the strictest sense. There is no regular Kumbhaka in this practice. The exercise consists only of Rechaka and Puraka. A regular practice of it keeps the body fit and old age is delayed. Two distinct processes of Kapala-Bhati are in vogue. They are given as under :-


Process No. I :- ‘Slow Method’

Fill in the air through the left nostril and breathe it out through the right; then again taking through the right and breathe out through the left. This process should be continued for about five minutes in the beginning and then gradually increased. The breathing should be slow and gradual without holding of the air inside (i.e. without performing the Kumbhaka). In other words as soon as complete breathe has been taken in, the process of breathing out should begin.


Process No. II :- ‘Rapid-Method’

In this process the Rechaka (breathing out) and Puraka (breathing in) are rapidly don’t through both the nostrils simultaneously like the bellows of black-smith. However, Rechaka (exhalation) is the principal part of the exercise, while Puraka (inhalation) is only the supplementary.

A vigorous practice of Kapalabhati for few minutes will vibrate every tissue of the body. In Kapalabhati there is a play of abdominal muscles and diaphragm. They are suddnely and vigorously contracted, giving an inward push to the abdominal viscera. The diaphragm then recedes into the thoracic cavity which expels all the air from lungs.

In normal respiration inhalation is active while the process of exhalation is passive. In Kapalabhati this is reversed. Rechaka and Puraka are performed in quick succession by a sudden and vigorous in-stroke of the abdominal muscles. This is instantly followed by a relaxation of these muscle. Rechaka occupies about twice the time of Puraka. The relaxation is passive act, while the contraction is very active one. No time is allowed between these acts until a round is completed. In the beginning one should have ten to twelve expulsions in each round. Generally three rounds are performed at each sitting, a sitting being performed twice each day, morning and evening. As a rule ten expulsions may be added each week until about 40 expulsions can be done at each round.

Between successive rounds normal respiration is allowed to afford the needed rest. Those who feel themselves fit are permitted to double the usual number, but the minimum should be three rounds of three minutes each at a sitting.


Being a nervo-cleaning process as well, it is also practiced for awakening certain nervous centers which make the practice of Pranayama more efficient by quieting the respiratory centre. A few rounds of this practice should be performed daily before doing Pranayama. Five minutes is sufficient to induce a state of trance when one has fully developed the art of Kapalabhati.

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