Skull Shining Breathing Technique (Kapalbhati Pranayama)

Learning the art of aligning and controlling your breath during different yoga poses is one of the most important aspects of your yoga routine. Breathing techniques, or Pranayama, is one of the eight limbs of yoga and helps to detox and balance your body and mind.

The Skull Shining Breath is an example of a powerful breathing technique that works to purify and cleanse various organs and systems of the body.

Skull Shining Breath (Kapalbhati Pranayama)

Kapalbhati is made up of two Sanskrit words, “Kapala,” which means skull and “Bhati,” which means light. Kapalbhati Pranayama is a Kiya yoga practice that consists of intense exhales and more passive inhales.

This practice is a more cleansing one that helps to detox and purify the system while rejuvenating and refreshing the mind and body.

Skull Shining Breath Directions:

The following directions will help you practice the proper technique of Kapalbhati Pranayama. It is recommended to find a quiet, meditation-friendly corner where you won’t be disturbed.

Step 1

Sit in an easy seated position with your spine erect and place your hands on your knees, palms facing down. Take a few inhales and exhales and relax.

Step 2

Start by taking a long, slow inhale through your nostrils, and once you complete inhaling, exhale forcefully as if you are throwing the air out from your lungs. You should feel your abdominal muscles expanding and contracting.

Step 3

Repeat this breathing technique several times, focusing on the strength and power you exert while exhaling. Do not put the same effort when inhaling as this should be done more passively.

Step 4

Start with 15 breaths (you can add more later). End the Pranayama with a few deep, relaxed inhales and exhales.

Benefits of Skull Shining Breath:

There are various benefits that come with regularly practicing Kapalbhati Pranayama, such as detoxing and cleansing the entire system.

Added benefits of practicing Kapalbhati Pranayama include:

Skull Shining Breath Precautions:

Before practicing Kapalbhati Pranayama, make sure to consult your doctor if you suffer from any chronic illnesses or have recently been through any surgeries of the abdominal region.

It is best to avoid practicing this technique under the following circumstances:

  • If you are menstruating, pregnant or have recently given birth
  • Hernia
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiac problems
  • If you have an artificial pacemaker
  • Asthma

Quick FAQs

1. How many times should we practice Kapalbhati Pranayama?

Kapalbhati Pranayama can be done 60 times in one minute or 300 times in five minutes.

Updated by Siya Rajan on 07/10/2018

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References: (n.d.). How to Practice Kapalabhati Pranayama in Yoga. Retrieved from

Kapalbhati (Skull Shining Breath). (n.d.). Retrieved from