Skull Shining Breath

Last Updated: October 2, 2017

Definition - What does Skull Shining Breath mean?

Skull shining breath is both an advanced pranayama (yogic breathing exercise) and kriya (internal cleansing technique) that entails forced exhalation. It is also known by the Sanskrit name, kapalabhati pranayama.

To practice this technique, the yogi begins with a deep inhalation through the nose, then quickly contracts the diaphragm, forcing a quick, short burst of exhalation. The muscles are then relaxed, allowing a natural and passive inhalation to occur. The forced exhalation is thought to clear the mind and to clear the body of toxins, thereby preventing illness and other ailments.

Yogapedia explains Skull Shining Breath

Because of its energizing and warming properties, skull shining breath is often practiced in the morning, but it is also appropriate any time energy lags or when the body needs to be warmed up. It is believed to have a wide range of benefits, such as:

  • Oxygenates the blood
  • Improves brain function
  • Improves digestion
  • Stabilizes the emotions
  • Boosts concentration, focus and memory
  • Relieves intestinal problems
  • Tones the abdominal muscles
  • Clears the lungs and nasal passages
  • Helps promote weight loss

Yogis who have high blood pressure, abdominal pain, dizziness, heart disease, anxiety or epilepsy should skip skull shining breath. Pregnant women should also avoid this kriya.

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