How to Practice Kapalbhati Pranayama with rhythmic strokes

Kapalbhati is a powerful pranayama practice which, traditionally, is used before meditation. It’s also one of the Shatkarmas — a series of traditional cleansing practices. This is because its forceful and cleansing effects allow any pent up emotion to be released, and clear the mind of repetitive thought patterns — leaving you feeling calm and ready to focus.
When working with this technique, you put emphasis and force on the exhale, pushing the air actively out of the lungs; and allow the inhale to happen as a natural reaction to this forceful exhalation action.

How to Practice Kapalbhati with rhythmic strokes

  • Get comfortable. Find a seated posture that works for you. If you do sit on a chair, make sure both feet are flat on the ground and your back is comfortably upright and supported. Rest the hands on the knees, and take a few minutes to come into the present moment by practising natural breath awareness.
  • Take a breath in and then exhale through both nostrils with a forceful contraction of the abdominal muscles. This shouldn’t feel strained, but fast and light. The inhalation that follows is natural and effortless — an automatic process.
  • Swami Ramdev have demonstrated as how to pace your exhalation - one stroke per second. Play this video and pace your strokes with it

The benefits of Kapalbhati include:

  • You’re given a break from mind-chatter during kapalbhati practice. It clears muddled thoughts and interrupts emotional states, freeing you from overthinking, anxiety, and distractions
  • Improves memory, cognition and concentration by creating new neurological connections. The passive inhale means that a low basal volume in the lungs is maintained during this practice, and this contributes to the expansion of versatility in the brain centres which control breathing.
  • It purifies and cleanses the body, and increases the metabolic rate — improving digestion and boosting your energy.
  • It purifies and unblocks two of the main energy channels in the body; Ida and Pingala.
  • Physically, this practice is hugely beneficial for lung health — its positive effects are particularly noticeable for those who suffer from asthma, bronchitis, tuberculosis or other lung conditions. However, if you are feeling unwell you should always discuss with your doctor whether or not this technique is suitable for you.
  • It energises and invigorates the brain and paves the way for you to access deeper meditative states.

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