Definition - What does Kapalabhati Pranayama mean?
Kapalabhati pranayama is an advanced yogic breathing technique believed to clear the nasal passages, lungs and mind through forced exhalation. The name comes from the Sanskrit, kapala, meaning “skull” or “cranium”; bhati, meaning “knowledge,” “light” or “perception”; prana, which is life force energy; and yama, which means “restraint” or “observance.”
To perform kapalabhati pranayama, inhale deeply, then contract the lower belly, forcing the exhale in a short burst. The contraction is then released and the inhalation allowed to occur passively and naturally.
In English, it is known as skull shining breath or skull brightener breath.
Yogapedia explains Kapalabhati Pranayama
The category of breathing exercises known as pranayama is one of The Eight Limbs of Yoga as described by Patanjali in The Yoga Sutras. Each type of pranayama has its benefits. By cleansing the respiratory system, kapalabhati pranayama helps prevent illness and allergies. It also offers these additional benefits:
- Oxygenates the blood and improves circulation
- Energizes and stimulates the brain
- Heats the body, thereby dissolving waste and toxins
- Improves function of the digestive system, liver and kidneys
- Stabilizes the emotions
- Boosts concentration and memory
- Eases intestinal problems
Yogis with high blood pressure, heart disease or epilepsy or who have suffered a stroke should skip this pranayama.