Sheetkrama Kapalbhati

Sheetkrama Kapalbhati is one of the variations of Kapalbhati or the skull shining breathing technique. It is mentioned in the yogic text Gheranda Samhita. In Sheetkrama Kapalbhati, water is sucked in through the mouth and expelled through the nose.It is an excellent way to remove mucous from the nasal cavity, throat and the pharynx.

Sheetkrama Kapalbhati is part of Shatkarma or the six purificatory practices of Hatha Yoga. In Sanskrit, Kapal means skull and Bhati means to shine. It cleans the skull of impurities and makes the face shine. This practice is usually done in the morning, preferably after brushing the teeth.

How to do Sheetkrama Kapalbhati?

  1. To start the practice, take a glass of water. Slight warm water can be used to avoid irritation in the nasal cavity while doing the practice. You may also add a pinch of salt. Warm salt water aids in cleansing the mucous lining of the nasal cavity and avoids irritation.
  2. Sheetkrama Kapalbhati practice is done in the standing position.
  3. Now curl the tongue to create a channel. Create suction and suck in water with the curled tongue making a hissing sound.
  4. Fill the mouth with water and hold it for few seconds.
  5. Bend your trunk forward with the head tilted downwards and nostrils pointing towards the floor.
  6. Try to expel the water through the nose which should happen naturally by gravity. Try to tuck the throat inside towards the back of the neck to make it easier for the water to flow from the mouth to the nasal cavity and out through the nostrils.
  7. In the beginning stages you can expel the water every few seconds in instalments. Spit out the remaining water from the mouth. Once you are an expert, you can expel all the water in one go.
  8. Repeat the process a few times till you finish the water from the glass.


Benefits of Sheetkrama Kapalbhati

  1. Sheetkrama Kapalbhati cleans the mucous from the nasal cavity and throat.
  2. In Gheranda Samhita, it is mentioned that this practice removes the wrinkles of the face and makes the face glow. It also mentions that the person who practices Sheetkrama kapalbhati can overcome disease and old age.
  3. It removes the Kapha Dosha (as per Ayurveda) and gives good health and vigour to the body.
  4. Spiritual benefits include activating some energy centers in the brain which have trigger points in the nasopharynx. It is said to activate the Bindu Chakra at the back of the head. When this center is awakened, nectar or Amrit flows and makes the body immortal.


In the beginning, there may be a fear of water entering the lungs. Sheetkrama Kapalbhati is easy once you understand that the water flows out through the nostrils by action of gravity and one doesn’t have to exert much. You have to bend and tilt the head at the right angle, so that gravity does the work automatically. Water flows naturally from the mouth to the throat, then to the nasal cavity and then out through the nostrils.