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Does kapalbhati reduce blood pressure?

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Kapalbhati is one of the most advanced forms of Pranayam and is practiced by advanced practitioners of breathing exercises. Kapalbhati is a Sanskrit word which means Forehead for Kapal and Shining for Bhati. It is a highly energizing breathing exercise which involves the maximum number of abdominal muscles. The exercise involves natural inhalation and quick exhalation.

Kapalbhati is practiced in 3 simple steps:

Step 1 - Maintaining a straight back posture while sitting comfortably with legs crossed. The face
should be relaxed with a hand resting on knees.

Step 2 - Inhaling through both nostrils deeply while expanding abdomen and exhaling
forcefully by abdominal muscle contraction.

Step 3 - Inhalation should be repeated gently immediately after exhalation with minimum to
no effort. This process of exhalation and inhalation should be continued for 15 times for
maximum benefits. Gradually increase the number of exhalations and the number of
repetitions.

While starting Kapalbhati for the first time, one must do it at a slower rate and then gradually increase at a slower pace for maximum benefits and less stress.

Benefits of Kapalbhati :

- Energizes the mind for mental work
- Improved digestion
- Cleanses the entire respiratory system and lung purification
- Prepares the mind for meditation
- The body gets an increased supply of oxygen
- Blood is purified
- Strengthens the abdominal muscles

Preventions and Precautions:

- Firstly consult your doctor about Kapalbhati and seek their advice before starting these exercises, as they involve breathing

- Kapalbhati must be practiced on an empty stomach

- Patients above 40 years must seek the guidance of an Experienced Yoga Practitioner

- Yoga should be first implemented at the beginning to reduce mental tension and remove toxins from the body which will not only reduce stress but also aid in the smooth functioning of all the organs in the human body

- People with high blood pressure should avoid practicing Kapalbhati without consulting with their doctor/practitioner

- Patients suffering from heart disease and Hernia should not practice Kapalbhati

- People with frequent asthmatic attack should avoid this practice

- One should be comfortable with quick exhalation and should not be a forceful task

- If the person performing these exercises feels uncomfortable at any point of time, he/she should discontinue for immediate relief

- Kapalbhati should be practiced before meditation and after regular yoga practice

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