Kapalabhati (Hatha Yoga)
Kapalabhati is an important part of Shatkarma , the yogic system of body cleansing techniques. The word kapalbhati is made up of two words: kapal meaning 'skull' and bhati meaning 'shining, illuminating.' Due to the process, the organs in and under the skull mainly the brain, small brain and any of the spaces inside the head that are connected to the back of the nose are influenced in a good manner. Hence the word is used in that way. It is intended mainly for cleaning the cranial sinuses but has many other effects including curing anemia, according to the Gherand Samhita and other sources. The Technique of Kapalabhati involves short and strong forceful exhalations and inhalation happens automatically. There are three forms of Kapalabhati:
- Vatakrama kapalabhati, a practice similar to Bhastrika, a technique of Pranayama, 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 then expelled through the nose.