Headache due to Kapalbhati and Bhastrika!

Dear Ach. Agyaatdarshanji,

I was suffering from severe headache so i started doing anulom vilom, kaplbhati and bhastrika for 2 months, in terms of benefits my anxiety almost got relieved and i used to feel calm but my pain was getting increased after doing these pranayams. so i followed your above advice to stop the pranayamas for a while. i am feeling relief now. but i want to know when can i restart my pranayama practice?

- Sagar G


Beloved Sagar G,

It is clear from your message that you have observed relief after stopping the Pranayamas, which were worsening your headaches however it is also evident that you have a deep desire to return to your schedule of pranayama practice. On the cost of being repetitive I wish to tell you that pranayamas without having completed ‘Nadi Shodhana’ regime are not always beneficial to health.

refer to below shloka..

Hikkaa kaasastatha swaasah shirahkarnaakshi vedanaa

Bhavanti vividhaa rogaah pavanasya vyatrkramaat ||

which means ‘Hiccups, coughing, asthma, pain in head, eyes and ears along with innumerable diseases of unknown origin engulf the body if ‘vayu’ or ‘air’ gets angry due to indiscipline of breathing.’ You can yourself make out that yours was the early case of ‘pawan’ or ‘vayu’ getting disturbed and thus increased intensity of headaches. It is good you stopped it on time before more damage could be done to you.

So far as resuming the practices is concerned – my advice would be to consult a authentic qualified Yoga teacher first and start nadi-shodhana. Along with also focus of Ahaar Shuddhi. Once Nadi-Shodhana is completed (it takes 3 months to 1 year depending upon the routine you choose to follow) you can take up other pranayamas like kapalbhati or bhastrika. Anulom Vilom can be continued if you like however the rate of breathing (pace of inhale and exhale) should be very slow.


– Ach. Agyaatdarshan Anand Nath

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