Did you know that sleep debt is a real thing? If you sleep even an hour lesser than what your body and mind need, then expect to pay back in sleepy and unproductive weeks! Poor sleep can result in anger, agitation, and anxiety, among other things. To nip the problem of sleeplessness in the bud, our experts suggest yoga, particularly a breathing technique called Kapalbhati Pranayama. Kapalbhati can help reduce work place tension, relationship stress, other worries and anxieties, by soothing your mind and ultimately putting you to sleep.
What is the Kapalbhati Pranayam?
Kapalbhati Pranayama is a breathing practice in yoga. It gets its name from the Sanskrit words, Kapal, meaning skull, and bhati meaning “to shine”.
This kriya is an intermediate to advanced breathing technique that strengthens your chest, cleanses your abdominal organs and energizes your circulatory as well as nervous systems.
How to perform the Kapalbhati Pranayam?
- To perform the Kapalbhati, sit in Vajrasana or Sukhasana. Remember to keep your spine straight, your shoulders relaxed, and neck unstrained.
- Now press gently on the right nostril while you exhale through the left with force. Repeat on the other side. This step is to clear the nostrils.
- Now that both the nostrils are open, take a deep breath and start exhaling with force while squeezing in the stomach.
- Breathe in softly, and breathe out completely and with force.
You should practice 100 rounds of Kapabhati Pranayama. For those with BP, 20 slow rounds should be more than enough.
What are the benefits of Kapalbhati Pranayam?
Now that we know how Kapalbhati Pranayama is performed, let us talk about its benefits. Here are some of them:
- Since this kriya requires a lot of energy, it generates body heat, thus dissolving toxins and waste matter.
- The breathing technique is known to enhance the functioning of the kidneys and liver.
- Kapalbhati pranayama relaxes the eyes, and as a result of that, can help do away with dark circles as well as premature signs of aging.
- It improves blood circulation and digestion.
- It is known to help with weight loss since it increases your metabolic rate rapidly.
- The kriya stimulates the internal organs, especially the abdominal ones, and therefore, helps people with diabetes.
- This breathing technique refreshes the brain.
- It energizes your nerves.
- Since Kapalbhati Pranayama calms your mind, it can help with mood swings and minor anxiety.
- The kriya gives you a sense of balance, thus making your brain feel decluttered and de-stressed, and therefore relaxed and ready for bed.
- You can bid goodbye to your gas-related problems.
- The kriya helps with acidity.
- This pranayama enhances the capacity of your lungs and makes them stronger.
- Since it makes you sweat, it opens up your skin pores and cleanses it of the toxins. Your face is likely to glow after performing the kriya.
- It activates the chakras in your body.
- It helps with sinus and asthma.
- It is known to cause hair growth.
- It fills you with positive energy.
Side effects of practicing Kapalbhati Pranayama
Kapalbhati, if not performed correctly, or under supervision, can lead to some side effects. These include:
- The kriya can lead to high blood pressure.
- Kapalbhati may also cause hernia.
- A vomiting sensation is likely if kapalbhati is not performed on an empty stomach.
- Some people complain of dizziness and headache after their first session of this breathing technique.
- The kriya can cause your mouth to either dry up or salivate excessively.
- Since kapalbhati requires a lot of energy, it can cause excessive perspiration.
Precautions to be taken while practicing Kapalbhati Pranayam
Here are some words of caution that should be considered when practicing kapalbhati pranayama.
- If you are a heart patient, then go slow while exhaling.
- The kriya must not be performed immediately after a meal.
- If you suffer from hypertension, then go slow and soft with the asana.
- Kapalbhati should be learnt from a certified yoga instructor, and preferably, after a health check-up.
- Pregnant women should avoid this breathing technique.
- Those with a slipped disc or a stent should refrain from practicing kapalbhati pranayama.
- If you have ulcers, then you have to be very careful while practicing this kriya.
- Only those who have crossed the basic level pranayama should practice kapalabhati since it is an advanced technique.
- When practicing this kriya, be very vigilant, especially if you are an asthmatic patient.
Kapalbhati pranayama helps you breathe correctly, and breathing correctly calms your mind. A calm mind tends to fall sound asleep quickly.