Kapalbhati The Yogic Breath of Fire

Kapalbhati The Yogic Breath of Fire

This post was originally published on 07/07/2014 and updated on 03/011/2020

Breath of Fire is one of my regular Pranayama practices. It’s great in the morning because it wakes you up. And on top of that, it is great preparation for meditation as it clears the mind. 

Kapalbhati or Breath of Fire is an advanced Pranayama practice that clears and energizes the mind and the respiratory system. And because it focuses on the abdomen and increased heat within the body, it also stimulates and improves digestion (Agni).

It’s also great for clearing and energising the Solar Plexus chakra.

But that’s not all! Kapal is Sanskrit for ‘forehead’ and bhati means ‘light’, ‘splendour’ or ‘knowledge’ and so apparently its a stimulating massage for the brain too!

It is great to clear away the cobwebs, wake you up and prepare you for meditation.

Enough said really. 

Important points to remember-

  • The emphasis is on the out-breath with the in-breath occurring naturally and passively.
  • Breathing should be from the abdomen and not the chest.
  • Stop if you feel dizzy, sick or your nosebleeds

How to do breath of fire

  1. Sit in a comfortable relaxed position with your spine nice and straight.
  2. Close your eyes and bring your awareness to your breath and relax.
  3. Take a deep breath in and release the breath forcefully through your nose and pull your navel back towards your spine. The exhalation should be forceful but without strain, like if you were blowing your nose.
  4. Breath in again into your belly, abdomen and chest
  5. Pull your belly into your spine and release the breath.
  6. Continue in this manner increasing speed as you go.
  7. Count 21 breaths and then rest

breath of fire

Benefits

  • Cleanses and detoxifies the lungs
  • Clears sinuses
  • Improves digestion
  • Balances and strengthens the nervous system
  • Aids digestion as it stimulates and tones the digestive organs
  • Removes sleepiness
  • Clears the mind of distractions
  • Prepares the mind for meditation
  • Purifies the subtle energy channels, in particular, Ida and Pingala.
  • Cleanses the lover chakras especially the navel and solar plexus chakra
  • Is said to help with childbirth
  • Energizes

breath of fire benefits

Contraindications

Don’t do this if you suffer from any of the following. Pranaya, especially Breath of Fire is a very powerful practice. 

  • high blood pressure
  • heart disease
  • hernia,
  • epilepsy
  • vertigo
  • gastric ulcer
  • are pregnant
  • are menstruating

Related post and another great pranayama practice that I do every morning –How to do alternate nostril breathing

Please try this amazing practice for yourself. Add it to your meditation practice and see how much clearer and easier your meditation is. You’ll be amazed at how good it is!

 

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