Jan 23, 2009

Pranayama > kapal bhati > IV : more questions

On a reputed website, the correct method of doing db is stated to be when you do it in fast motion. Another site says, you should do it like a bellow – fast. Will doing kapal bhati in slow pace as advised by you give the benefits that are supposed to accrue by doing it fast?
One branch of yoga believes that kapal bhati MUST be done in fast motions. But that is for yogis, the ones who master yoga. For others, fast movement are fraught with more harm than good in the same way as a casual driver driving car very fast. I have explained elsewhere that exhaling fast and wrongly can lead to problems of nasal tract, throat and eyes. There is also risk of sudden rise in blood pressure and undue load on heart. In fact, there are reports that lung neurons are found damaged in people who have tried to take breath with undue force drawn from lungs.
Doing kapal bhati slow will get you all the benefits.

Are there different types of kapal bhati?
Yes, according to different treatises on yoga. Mostly these arise from variations in taking breath. For lay practitioners, it is the best to do it the correct way, without experimentation.

I am 75 year old. Can I do kapal bhati safely?
Yes, unless you have a grave health problem and you have been medically advised not to do even moderate exercise. 75 years is too young to think this way; pose this question when you turn 90!

For how long should I perform kapal bhati?
If you do it moderately and slowly as recommended in this blog, you can do it even up to 15 minutes. In fact, Baba Ramdev [the renowned yogi who teaches simple yoga procedures on TV channels and through camps] recommends that people suffering from chronic ailments do it for 15 minutes a day. For maintaining overall good health one can do it as recommended in an earlier post or till one can do it very comfortably, say, for five minutes.

I am told, kapal bhati is best done in the open, before sunrise.
Fine as long as you are comfortable with that. The air should be clean and cool, not cold. It should also not lead you to mosquito bite or such other problems.

I smoke. I am told I must quit it before doing any yoga. Can I practice kapal bhati?
Yes, you can, but it is like every day sawing into a tree’s trunk while also watering it. At least take care not to do kapal bhati in a smoke filled room.

Should I do kapal bhati [and other pranayamas] before or after asanas?
After.

Can I do kapal bhati in the evening?
Yes, but you should have taken meals at least 2 hours before doing kb; you should not have taken too much water or other drink within the last one hour; you should not be too tired with the day’s work; and you should not have remained without food all the day.