Kapal Bhati involves rapid exhalation and stomach crunches.
- Make Pranav Mudra of your right hand. Pranav Mudra is attained as follows,
- Open your palm
- Fold down index and middle finger, keeping thumb, small finger and finger of Apolo straight. This gets you Pranav Mudra.
- With the straight thumb close your right nostril. Deep inhale just once and then keep exhaling from left nostril.
- Close your eyes and keep other free hand on knees.
- While you exhale DO NOT attempt deliberate inhale (you inhale only once, in the beginning). It may or may not happen involuntarily.
- This exhalation makes sound from nostril when we throw air out in exhalation.
- While you exhale, pull the stomach inside as much as you can, with every exhale.
- Keep repeating fast exhalation, crunch stomach then release the crunch before next exhalation. Thus this forms a rhythm. Do not vary the pace.
- You only move your tummy in and out while exhaling rapidly, DO NOT move any other part of body, like shoulders etc.
- Count in your mind. Do upto ten counts with left nostril. (10)Now close your left nostril with the finger of apollo while releasing your thumb on right nostril and start exhaling from right nostril and crunching stomach with every exhale as described earlier. Count up to ten.
Once you get grip and can comfortably do 10 counts of this process, add following technique to it.
- On the 10th count, when you exhale, and crunch stomach in, stop and hold the same pose. So when you stop, you would have exhaled air out and your stomach is in. Do not exhale or inhale or release stomach and try remaining in this “Nil” or zero state as much as can you can, say few seconds initially. When we hold breath this way it is known as Kumbhak.
- Do not concentrate anywhere, just have the feel inside the body, try experiencing what you feel.
- When you feel like inhaling, open your eyes, and take deep breath.
Repeat this while doing from another nostril on the 10th count (or last count).
Kumbhak that we perform in cleansing process is important to attain better meditative state. As an example imagine the act of putting thread in the tiny hole of needle. When we try this, have you experienced that we hold the breath and immediately put the thread in hole? Holding breath helps us focus.
With this Kumbhak, the Prana Vayu which is above our navel and Apaan Vayu which is below navel unite, as Apaan Vayu starts going up due to pressure generated. This cleanses the layers of tridosha – Cough, Vata, Pitta from Kundalini to aid its ascension.
This makes one round of Kapal Bhati – once with left and then right nostril rapid exhalation along with stomach crunches. Starting from 10 counts each, right and left in the beginning, you can progress up to 80-100 each nostril within few weeks.
Also, you can simply do this process with both nostrils open, instead of closing any of the nostril. You shall find that you can do more counts with this.
Benefits of Kapal Bhati, other than as an aid to ascension of Kundalini is it reduces the fat in body. You shall notice cure or improvement with regards to some diseases, like constipation, cough and cold, migraine, diabetes, gynecological problems etc. There are examples of cure on cysts of ovaries, aiding pregnancy chances.
It builds pressure on Mooladhar Chakra, the coiled Kundalini, and awakens it. One can preferably concentrate on mooladhar chakra while performing Kapal Bhati, imagine that you are building pressure there.
- Kapal Bhat is banned if you have just undergone stomach operation, or have stitches there etc. Seek doctors advice and best attempt Kapal Bhati after few months of surgery and when stitches are completely removed.
- The heart and blood pressure patients should not attempt forceful exhalations and tummy crunches. They may rise your blood pressure aggravating problem. Be smooth as much as possible. See what your body is comfortable with.
This rises heat in body. Is best to be done in winters. Slow down or do less Avartans (repetitions) in summers or hot weather.