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Kapalabhati (Sanskrit: कपालभाति, romanizedkapālabhāti), also called breath of fire,[1] is an important Shatkarma, a purification in hatha yoga. The word kapalabhati is made up of two Sanskrit words: kapāla meaning 'skull', and bhāti meaning 'shining, illuminating'. It is intended mainly for cleaning the sinuses but according to the Gheranda Samhita has magical curative effects.[2] The Technique of Kapalabhati[3] involves short and strong forceful exhalations and inhalation happens automatically.[4] There are three forms of Kapalabhati:

  • Vatakrama kapalabhati, a practice similar to the Pranayama technique of Bhastrika, except that exhalation is active while inhalation is passive, the opposite of normal breathing.
  • Vyutkrama kapalabhati, a practice similar to Jala neti, it involves sniffing water through the nostrils and letting it flow down into the mouth, and then spitting it out.
  • Sheetkrama kapalabhati, can be considered the reverse of Vyutkrama kapalabhati, in which water is taken through the mouth and expelled through the nose.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Anon (Gaia Staff) (13 December 2013). "5 Reasons to Practice Breath of Fire Yoga". Gaia. Retrieved 14 May 2019. Kapalabhati Pranayama or “Cleaning Breath” is an intermediate to advanced pranayama that consists of short, powerful exhales and passive inhales. This practice is also known as the “Breath of Fire.”
  2. ^ Kapalbhati - Frontal Brain Purification, in Yoga Magazine, a publication of Bihar School of Yoga.
  3. ^ "Skull Shining Breath - Kapalabhati Benefits | Beginners Tips & Variations". Yoga Vini. 2016-07-21. Retrieved 2020-04-03.
  4. ^ Video Discourse on Kapalabhati and Bhastrika by Anandmurti Gurumaa.