Developing a sequence of 8 Breathworks: Daily Pranayama: 2nd in the sequence: Kapalabhati follows Bhastrika

“Shining Skull Breath” Kapalabhati invigorates the brain and awakens the dormant centres which are responsible for subtle perception.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Definition: Kapalabhati is the “skull shining” breath -a dynamic and energizing purification breath that helps clear and move out stagnant energy and is life promoting. Kapala means “head”, bhati means “shining”.

  • Tones the digestive organs, thereby improving agni (digestive fire) and appetite.
  • Keeps forehead cool. Brings alertness, light and consciousness to the body.
  • Removes sensory distractions from the mind.
  • Cleanses the blood.
  • Clears the pranic channels without creating heat. Not incredibly drying and heating (like Bhastrika).
  • Supports immunity (any time the abdomen is engaged, the immune system is supported). Energizes the body and brain.
  • Massages the hear therefore has a cardiovascular benefit equal to running without the impact stress on the joints.

Instructions: This practice is best done on an empty stomach.
You will feel like you are throwing/pushing air out from the belly similar to the action of coughing.

  1. Begin from a comfortable seated position to align spine over the pelvis.
  2. During this practice, the focus is on the exhalation; the inhalation happens naturally, without effort.
  3. Expel and push the breath out through the nose by forcefully contracting the abdominal muscles in
    and up – pushing the diaphragm into the lungs to expel the air out.
  4. Allow the inhalation to fill the lungs naturally, without effort. The inhalation is spontaneous and
    involves no effort while the exhalation is strong and active.
  5. After your round is complete. Sit comfortably and breathe.

Progression: Start with two rounds progressing to two rounds. Slowly increase 10 repetitions per week. Start at 50/50 and can work up to 500/500. This will take quite a few months to accomplish.


  • Low immunity,
  • inability to focus,
  • poor digestion,
  • poor circulation,
  • thyroid conditions,
  • cardiovascular conditions which involve high cholesterol, diabetes (helps pancreas release insulin),
  • stimulates the liver and gallbladder.

Caution: Use caution for the following conditions Detached retina, glaucoma, very high or very low blood
pressure, heart problems, nose bleeds, hernia, ulcers, recent history of epilepsy, recent abdominal surgery.
No pranayama during pregnancy and menses.

Signs and Symptoms of Improper Kapalabhati: Headaches, overactive upward moving circulation (udana vayu), sensations of being overheated

The information on this handout is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For more information pertaining to your personal needs, please see a qualified medical professional.