Yoga for Cold, Cough, Headache, and Weight Loss
Expecting the real health benefits of doing yoga exercises without ‘Kapalbhati’ will significantly reduce the effectiveness of the benefits. It is an irreplaceable part of yoga exercises.
This is a simple form of practice that is noted back in Patanjali Yoga Sastra. It is also an important part of Shat Kriya.
It is one of the favorites among yoga practitioners as it is powerful in defending against cold, cough, and headache. It has also a special importance in losing weight along with the other exercises.
This is not a yoga pose, but a process that is known as kriya. This technique comes under the class of pranayama. The specialty of this practice is that anyone can master this technique with little or no practice.
It seems a very simple, yet most powerful form when compared with the other flexible poses of yoga. So, that’s why this is undeniably included in the routine list of yoga exercises. (Read also Yoga Exercise for Back Pain Relief)
Methods of Kapalbhati
The Kapalbhati is focused on the breathing process where it is operated on regulating the prana all over the body. Its name signifies the illuminating skull which is considered as the purity of the body and soul, where ‘kapala – skull’ and ‘bhati – shining’ in Sanskrit. (Read also What is Prana in Yoga?)
The technique is simple which has an active exhalation of the breath where the aspirant is duly focused on forcefully exhaling it with the sudden contraction of the abdomen and inhaled involuntarily where the abdomen is released instantly.
The practice should not be done violently with the whole strength of the body but gently and moderately with the rhythm of cycles.
The other form of this practice is a little difficult and is done with water.
The popularly known method around the world is done by placing the palms of hand in the knees or with the jnana mudra where the breath is exhaled and inhaled through both the nostrils simultaneously. The other technique which has a slight variation is done as the alternate nostril breathing.
Step By Step Procedures
- Sit in padmasana or with the crossed leg (sukhasana) with a straight back and head.
- Now close your eyes and take away the mind from the external distractions.
- Place the right palm in the navel area of the stomach where this area is pulled towards the backbone.
- The thumb and the middle finger of the left hand should be placed on either side of the nostrils with the thumb on the left side.
- Now, close the left nostril with the thumb and exhale the breath forcefully through the right nostril by contracting the abdominal muscle and instantly releasing the contraction, thereby inhaling the breath automatically. This seems like the tension in the elastic string is released thereby acquiring its resting position. The collective duration of the exhaling and inhaling of the breath will be approximately one second. The sound is such that a gentle way of sneezing without much pressure.
- It should be noted that one should actively exhale the breath with a force and the inhalation is passive and spontaneous.
- Now release the left nostril and close the right nostril with the middle finger and repeat the process.
- Repeat the alternate process 10 times. Pause for about 30 seconds and repeat the process for 2 more rounds.
Health Benefits of Kapalbhati
The benefit of practice is not concentrated on a single aspect of health, but it is related to the whole body having different organs and many functions.
- As the rhythmic contraction and expansion of the abdominal muscle are taking place, it will benefit the stomach internally and externally. Stomach disorder and intestinal problems will be cured.
- The gentle massaging and energizing technique of abdominal muscle reduces the abdominal fat in that area which is the result of obesity. Hence, daily practice is also effective in weight loss.
- More oxygenated blood will be pumped to the kidney and the liver ensuring its effective function.
- Respiratory allergies and sinus problems will be reduced.
- The regular practice will help a person to keep away from the discomforts of cold, else if affected, then it will be mild and relieved within 3 – 4 days naturally.
- The person has less chance to be infected by a chronic cough.
- This ensures complete freedom from headaches.
- The stress will be reduced and the body toxins will be eliminated.
Precautions for the Beginner
Unlike the other yoga asana, this has given a special precaution due to its powerful implications.
- It is mandatory to do this pranayama on an empty stomach as it has been continued through the ages.
- Yoga experts say that this has to be done after a few other simple asanas.
- The simplicity makes anyone practice it, but the correctness of the techniques should be checked with a proficient yoga expert as the wrong methods could harm the body and internal organs. This powerful process is effective in bringing defects for the person rather than the benefit and could complicate the existing health problems.
- It was strongly recommended not to practice for a person having, heart diseases, hernia, high blood pressure, asthma, severe respiratory disease, and epilepsy.
- Pregnant women and those in the menstrual period should be avoided.
- Persons having a chronic cold, severe nasal and sinus problems, migraines, stomach ulcers, spinal disorders should be done under medical supervision.