Six Cleansing Techniques

20 Excellent Health Benefits of Kapalbhati and how to do it?

‘Kapal’ means ‘forehead’ and ‘Bhati’ means ‘light’. Hence, it is the technique of making your skull shine.

Kapalbhati, Kapalbhati-Pranayam, skull-shining-breathing-technique, Benefits-of-kapalbhati-pranayam

Table of Contents

  1. Meaning of Kapalbhati
  2. Kapalbhati in Gheranda Samhita
  3. How to do it?
  4. Types of kapalbhati
  5. Difference between bhastrika and Kapalbhati
  6. 20 Untold benefits of Kapalbhati
  7. Precautions and Contra-indications
  8. Preparatory Poses
  9. Follow-up Poses
  10. Beginner’s tips
  11. Duration

Kapalbhati (कपालभाति )

‘Kapal’ means ‘forehead’ and ‘Bhati’ means ‘light’. Hence, it is the technique of making your skull shine.

Also known as ‘Balabhati‘ and ‘Forceful Exhalations‘.

Note: People call it pranayam since it involves inhalation and exhalation but in actual; it comes under the Shatkarmas (Six Cleansing techniques).

Gheranda Samhita


In the Gheranda Samhita, it is known as ‘Bhalabhati‘. ‘Bhala’ means the ‘Cranium’, whereas the ‘Kapal’ means the ‘forehead’. Bhati means the ‘light’ or ‘splendour’ but it also means ‘perception’ and ‘knowledge’.

How to do it?

1). Sit in a meditative posture, keeping your spine erect.

2). Place your hands on the knees or make chin mudra or jnana mudra.

3). Close your eyes and head should face forward.

4). Relax your entire body and take a deep inhalation and then slowly exhale out.

5). Now, perform exhalation and inhalation rapidly, like the bellows of a blacksmith. This is called ‘Kapalbhati‘ which destroys all mucous disorders.

6) Practise it for 10 breaths which makes it one round and then relax for a few normal breaths.

7). Continue practising 3-4 such rounds.

8). Make sure the facial muscles and shoulders are relaxed.

9). In the last breathing, inhale deeply and exhale it through the mouth.

This is how you do, Kapalbhati.

Note: In normal breathing, inhalation is active and exhalation is passive, but here in kapalbhati, this process is reversed i.e. exhalation becomes active and inhalation becomes passive.

Watch the following video:

Difference between bhastrika and kapalbhati

In Bhastrika, inhalation and exhalation are equal, but in kapalbhati it is not so. Besides, exhalation is emphasized in kapalbhati and inhalation is the result of forcing the air out.

Three types of Kapalbhati

  1. Vatakrama
  2. Vyutkrama
  3. Sheetkrama
1. Vatakrama Kapalbhati (Air Cleansing)

Sit in a comfortable meditative posture, close the eyes, keep the spine erect, place your hands on the knees in chin or jnana mudra. Inhale deeply and perform 50 fast respirations through both your nostrils.

Note: Inhalation is short and more emphasis is given on exhalation.

After the last exhalation, inhale deeply through the nose and exhale quickly through the mouth. However, in Gheranda Samhita, it is mentioned to inhale through one nostril and exhale it through other nostril like we do in Alternate Nostril Breathing. Do this vice versa as well.

2. Vyutkrama Kapalbhati (Sinus Cleansing)

It is like jala neti but instead of taking pot; we take the bowl of warm saline water. Lean forward, lift the water up in the hand’s palm and sniff the water in through the nostrils and spit the water out from the mouth. Practice this several times.

Caution: Practice it under the guidance of an expert yoga instructor.

3. Sheetkrama Kapalbhati (Mucus Cleansing)

This practice is the reverse of Vyutkrama Kapalbhati. In this Kapalbhati, we take the mouthful of warm, salty water and instead of swallowing it, we push it up through the nose and let it flow out.

Caution: Practice it under the guidance of an expert yoga instructor. Also, remove the excessive water from the nose by doing the exercises prescribed under jal neti.

20 Untold Benefits of Kapalbhati

1) It cleanses your respiratory system.

2) Removes blockages in the nasal passages.

3) This forceful exhalations can cure your asthma by removing the spasm in bronchial tubes provided it is practised regularly.

4) Makes your blood pure by removing the impurities.

5) Kapalbhati Pranayam releases the carbon dioxide on a very large scale, therefore a large scale of oxygen is supplied to tissues and cells.

6) This Pranayam helps your heart to work efficiently.

7) Forceful exhalations keeps you fit and healthy by expelling out the used air.

8) It tones your circulatory and respiratory system.

9) Diseases like diabetes, blood pressure problems, asthma, etc. can be cured if it is practised under an expert yoga instructor. More importantly, it can help you take out from the depression for which even the medical science has no answer.

10) It balances and strengthens the nervous system and tones the digestive organs.

11) It purifies the nadis and removes sensory distractions.

12) It energizes the mind for doing any type of mental work and refreshes your mind by removing sleepiness.

13) It reverses the normal breathing process which involves active inhalation and passive exhalation. Hence, it has profound effects on nervous system and all over the body.

14) It helps in losing weight.

15) It calms the mind, making you stress-free.

16) It also enhances the beauty of hair, face, body, etc.

17) It helps in increasing your memory, making you more intellectual.

18) Good Pranayam for removing dirt accumulated in lungs from pollution, or from any other way.

19) It cures constipation and digestion problems, making an excellent digestive system.

20) It gives a positive attitude towards life by removing blockages, improves focus and concentration.

Precautions and Contra-indications

1) People suffering from heart disease, high blood pressure, vertigo, epilepsy, gastric ulcer, etc. should avoid this pose.

2) In case of pregnancy, one should not do it.

3) It should be practised after asana or neti, but before meditation.

4) If you experience dizziness while practising, it means you’re breathing too forcefully. Then, Stop the practice and sit quietly for a few normal breaths, and then continue. Do it with less force now.

5) Inhalation should be continuous rather than controlled.

6) Spine should be erect, eyes closed, and face should be in a forward direction.

7) Have a smile on the face, release all the strains, anxieties, pressures, etc.

8) It should be perform early in the morning or on an empty stomach (3-4 hours after meals).

9) Make sure we do not practise it in night since it can prevent sleep.

10) It should be done before pranayam.

11) Keep shoulders and face muscles relaxed, and breathing should be done through abdomen.

12) Practice of this kapalbhati must be done under an expert yoga instructor.

Beginner’s tips

Beginners may find it difficult to do this practise continuously. If this is the case, beginners may take several free breaths and then continue the practice.


Initially, one should practice it for 10 counts and then increase it to 50 counts. Advance practitioners can do 60 to 100 breaths per round.

Preparatory Poses

We should do this practise of Kapalbhati after doing the asanas and neti.

Follow-up Poses

We can practice different pranayams like Alternate Nostril Breathing, Bhastrika, Ujjayi, Bhramari, etc. after this practice of Kapalbhati. Besides, we should practise Meditation after doing kapalbhati.

This is all about Kapalbhati. Practise this to make your life stress-free, peaceful, harmonious, steady, calm, etc. This will bring miracles for you and make you disease free till the end of your life provided it is practised under an expert yoga instructor.

This also prevents you from getting various diseases.

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