Kapalbhati and Springtime in Albuquerque

It’s that time of year again—springtime. In lovely Albuquerque that means the time of year when a cool, fresh 60 degree day is immediately followed by several lovely, sunny days of 80 degrees. And on the heels of that, the temperature drops back down to 70 degrees. That doesn’t sound so bad, until the onslaught of 25 to 50 plus mile per hour winds accosts the city with the accompanying dust, sand, tumbleweeds, and litter. This is a scenario with which Burquenos are all too familiar. These drastic changes in weather, and dry, dusty winds, combined with rising levels of pollen can wreak havoc with our sinuses and lungs. One way to combat this is to practice kapalbhati pranayama. This translates as “skull shining” or “forehead shining” breath.

A brief internet search on kapalbhati will result in a myriad of claims as to its benefits from clearing the sinuses to curing disease and improving well-being. While I cannot validate all of these claims, I do know from my own personal experience that it is very useful in clearing sinuses. Just based on the increase of oxygen in the system, and the physical mechanics and biological warming effects of the practice, the following claimed benefits make sense from a physiological perspective:

  • Clear the sinuses

  • Increase lung capacity

  • Improve circulation

  • Oxygenate the body

  • Strengthening the muscles of the stomach and abdomen

  • Flatten and tone the belly

  • Treat common cold, pneumonia and asthma

  • Improve respiratory disorders

  • Facilitate increased and more efficient oxygen and carbon-dioxide exchange

  • Enhance the functioning of brain cells

  • Improve memory and concentration

  • Purify the blood