This year the winter spell stayed longer, and I am not complaining. It just so happens that winter is my hibernation period too meaning I gorge on hot cheesy delicacies, conserve my fat and rest (a lot). But as the spring slowly starts making the way I am forced out of my hibernation and into action to get back in shape (as much as I can) for spring/summer collection. But with the long winter this year my paunch is longer too. So, I need something tougher than brisk walking and the usual, my fall-back – kapalbhati came to mind. I learned this technique when I had someone to teach me, but over the years I have used it not as frequently as everybody says. Hence, I thought to dwell into it some more.
Thanks to Baba Ramadeva and many actresses who accredit their svelte figure to this yoga technique, everyone is well aware of what this is. But contrary to the famous notion of losing weight being the primary benefit of this yoga asana, it is actually much more than that. In fact, kapal means skull or forehead and bhati denotes luminance or shining. So truly its main aim is the wellness of mental health. Among its many benefits is beneficial against depression and stress, cleansing of the body, better skin and hair even goodbye dark circles, improved metabolism, aids digestion and hence results in weight loss, it energizes your body, brain, and nerves. And yes, tones your body and mostly abdomen. Now with so many benefits and the method, so simple everyone rides the kapalbhati wave.
All you got to do is sit with crossed legs (Sukhasana), back straight, inhale a breath of air normally without force, and then exhale it forcefully out of your nostrils. The crucial part while exhaling your stomach needs to be going in, almost like it wants to touch your back. You won’t be holding your breath at any time, just inhale easy and exhale with your stomach pulled in that automatically forces the air out of you. However, it isn’t as simple as it sounds. Your breathing has to be level, mostly it is suggested that beginners and people older than 40 should only attempt 1 exhalation per second and only do 20 rounds. Only after enough practice should you increase the numbers and never too much. People with practice and younger can do 2 exhalations per second. Also, it is best advised to not do it on your own at least initially, and have a known instructor guide you through the process. You may be wondering why?
This simple looking technique when done wrong can go horribly wrong. When you exhale it puts pressure on your heart and at worst can give you heart troubles. A lot of people complain of dizziness and headaches after practicing kapalbhati. There are chances of it shooting up your blood pressure levels. Among its benefits, it helps people rid of heartburn, acidity issues, but practiced incorrectly it may give you acidity and gas. Pregnant woman and shortly after pregnancy it is to be avoided as well as it can harm the unborn child. People with heart conditions, high blood pressure, acute asthma, slip disc should practice only after consulting an expert. A prolonged incorrect practice can eventually prove fatal as well.
In a nutshell, there is a very fine line in kapalbhati that can make this Holy Grail go derailed very quickly, so tread carefully.