Bhastrika; Bellows Breath
The Sanskrit word “bhastrika” means “bellows” mostly used by blacksmiths to melt metal. Like the bellows fan the fire similarly Bhastrika Pranayama surges the flow of air into the body to produce heat at both the physical and subtle level–stoking the inner fire of mind and body. This pranayama when done regularly removes blockages from the nose and chest. It is suitable for asthmatic patients and removes inflammation of the throat. Bhastrika increases the gastric fire. Pranayama improves appetite and digestion capacity. Bhastrika, when practised with Kumbhaka Pranayama, can generate heat in the body and keep it warm in rainy and cold weather.
Starting position: Do preliminary conditioning in Sukhasana or any other meditative posture. Sit on a firm chair with an upright backrest, if unable to sit on the floor. Keep the body above the waist straight and the spine erect. Eyes can be kept closed.
How to do Bhastrika Pranayama
The Sequence of steps:
- Take in a deep breath and breathe out forcefully through the nose, without any strain.
- Immediately, breathe in with the same force.
- Inhale and exhale repeatedly, deeply and thoroughly, using the diaphragmatic muscles with vigour. The abdomen moves out during inhalation, while the diaphragm descends. The converse happens while exhaling.
- The above movements should be slightly exaggerated. A strong nasal sound will accompany such breathing. The process should be rhythmic and controlled, maintaining the speed as per capacity.
- Do ten cycles to complete 1 round of Bhastrika Pranayama.
Recommended practice: Practice 3 rounds/session, with pause in-between rounds. Bhastrika Pranayama should be practised on an empty stomach, after evacuation in the morning.
Limitations / Contraindications: Heart ailments, hypertension, high BP, fever, vertigo, pregnancy, intestinal disorders, spinal abnormalities and eye ailments, e.g. like a detached retina, glaucoma.
Benefits of Bhastrika Pranayama:
- Favorable effect on the respiratory and digestive system.
- Drains excess phlegm from the lungs.
- Oxygenates the blood increasing the vitality of all the organs and tissues
- Strengthens and tones the abdominal region.
- Calms the mind
- Energizes the entire body and mind.
Shared by Krissy Gee