By Anil K Rajvanshi
(COURTESY ECONOMIC TIMES)
Kapalbhati is a part of Pranayam Kriya where one forcefully exhales rapidly and in short bursts. Practitioners claim that is helps in cleansing lungs and in exercising abdomen muscles. It is recommended for reducing abdominal fat. Kapalbhati means skull illumination. Yogis claim that practising it cleanses the brain and makes one glow.
Medical researchers have known since 1941 that small amounts of fine particles that were inhaled through nose could be lodged in the brain by breaching the blood-brain barrier: In the 1990s when scientists, alarmed by rising environmental pollution, revisited the early research they started discovering the harmful effects of toxin invasion of brain through breathing.
A small part of the polluted air we breathe through our nostrils goes directly to the brain via the olfactory lobes and the major portion goes to the lungs supplying oxygen to the blood. Thus, the action of inhaling affects both the mind and body directly. Recently, scientists have shown that increase in the incidence of cancer, dementia and Alzheimer’s has been attributed partly to the toxin invasion of the brain caused by pollutants.
There are indications that some of these small particles might be flushed out by the cerebrospinal fluid that flood the brain. But particles that remain could be flushed out by the forceful exhalation of Kapalbhati. This follows the principle of equivalence. The forceful exhalation creates a venturi effect in the nasal passage, thereby creating a partial vacuum that might suck out these particles from the olfactory lobes.