Kapalbhati is a powerful pranayama practice which, traditionally, is used before meditation. It’s also one of the Shatkarmas — a series of traditional cleansing practices. This is because its forceful and cleansing effects allow any pent up emotion to be released, and clear the mind of repetitive thought patterns — leaving you feeling calm and ready to focus.
In Sanskrit, kapal refers to the cranium, and bhati means light, perception, or knowledge. Kapalbhati, then, is often translated as frontal cleansing breath. It awakens and moves energy through your brain, and both the subconscious and conscious mind. At the same time it revitalises the entire body by generating heat and building a rhythm from which momentum and motivation can grow.
When working with this technique, you put emphasis and force on the exhale, pushing the air actively out of the lungs; and allow the inhale to happen as a natural reaction to this forceful exhalation action. This is the opposite of our natural breathing process —