Kapalbhati offers health benefits. BUT is not a pranayama/ breathing exercise either for weight loss or for getting a flat stomach.
Kapalbhati ‘breathing exercises’ ramps up the breathing system, making us conscious that we need to keep the diaphragm – breathing muscle, active for a 24*7 breath-work. Kapalbhati Pranic ‘Breathing Exercise’. Its Benefits, Practice Steps and Contraindications.
Yes! Conveniently called a Pranayama, this Kriya offers immense potential health benefits as it keeps the body system optimised. AND NO! 30 minutes of any pranayama. Kriya or Yoga Asana is never recommended for any intended weight loss or as the new fad suggests – flat stomach and/or flat belly.
Using Kapalbhati for weight loss or flat stomach/flat belly is not only a bad idea but no yoga teacher should recommend it too. This goes against the Truest Yoga Philosophy. Yoga is about leading a wholesome Body-Mind-Karmic Lifestyle, using it for short term perceived benefits is damaging its essence.
Weight gain and the resultant weight loss is a lifestyle adjustment and a 24*7 correct sine wave diaphragmatic breathing can help, in this regard.
Yes! We exhale around 70% of our spent energy through exhalation but It has to be a process of 24×7… relaxed in-out correct breathing.
Body doesn’t like to hold onto excess Fat
The human body, with its millions of years of evolutionary process, always worked towards keeping itself optimised BUT with changing lifestyle we have become inefficient breathers and our bodies have no other choice but to ‘adapt’ resulting in the 21st century health issues; obesity being one of the biggest.
The only solution to lose weight is to optimise the blood sugar levels by oxygenating (correct breathing) and eating right food.
A person with normal breathing pattern takes about 2 hours to digest a regular meal whereas a compromised breather takes more than double the time to process the same food.
Breathing correctly aids weight management
People who need to lose weight don’t take in enough oxygen; they just don’t breathe right.
When we breathe incorrect, ‘fight-or-flight’ sympathetic stress response is activated. Besides a systemic state of heightened ‘cortisol driven’ arousal, the body starts slowing down the perceived non-essential body systems and starts storing energy (glucose) for the impending attack. Primal instincts take over; glucose levels plummet in the brain.
Since glucose is crucial for the brain well being, it triggers the drive to eat which consequently increases blood sugar levels up to the norm.
This Blood glucose imbalance can become a vicious circle; over 75% people “naturally” gaining weight when they don’t breathe right.
We Breathe out FAT…
According to a research done by the University of New South Wales, for every kilo of fat processed by the body, around 80% is exhaled out from the lungs, in the form of Carbon dioxide. The rest is excreted in the urine, feces, sweat and water molecules through the breath, tears and other bodily fluids.
In a paper published in the British Medical Journal, the authors show that losing 10 kilograms of fat requires 29 kilograms of oxygen to be inhaled and that this metabolic process produces 28 kilograms of carbon dioxide and 11 kilograms of water.
Fats we eat + O2 = CO2 + H20 + Energy
Fat molecules are constituted of oxygen (O2), carbon (C) and hydrogen (H) particles and when the oxygen (O2) we breathe, reaches these molecules, they get converted into carbon dioxide (CO2), energy and water (H2O). The blood, then picks up the carbon dioxide (CO2) and returns it to the lungs to be exhaled. Therefore the quality of oxygen (O2) determines the quantity of fat that we have and how fast we lose weight.
“Breathing incorrectly reduces CO2 (a muscle dilator) in the arterial blood, resulting in loss of tone of the intestines, which in turn produces extreme intestinal congestion leading to life threatening ailments including obesity.“
Kapalbhati can help unlock the Diaphragm
Kapalbhati helps in bringing the focus back on the gated Diaphragm, helping unblock it. Like mentioned earlier, it should not be used as a breathing exercise to get a flat stomach/flat belly.
Sine Wave Diaphragmatic Breathing takes metabolism up by a factor of around five, triggering a faster weight loss. Optimised Gaseous exchange (Oxygen & Carbon Dioxide percentile) speeds up metabolism; helps burn fat.
Breathing right keeps the delicate balance of Oxygen and CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) in check, keeping the body internal processes cleansed and optimised, thereby helping a natural weight loss.
A Writers Note: What irks me when a few grand masters, who have full understanding of kriyas and pranayama, push Kapalbhati as a tool for weight loss and/or getting flat stomach. I hope better sense prevails and we understand the true essence of these potent practices.