What Is Bhastrika Pranayama (Bellows Breath)?
Bhastrika Pranayama or ‘bellows breath’ is a practice involving quick inhalation and exhalation, often regarded as the yogic breath of fire. It energizes you while pumping more oxygen through deep breathing. Whether you are physically exhausted (say, through continuous exercising) or feeling stressed, Bhastrika benefits your body.
Sit in a padmasana position while erectly positioning your spine. Keeping your eyes closed, inhale and exhale deeply yet forcefully, at least ten times. Hold your breath for 15-20 seconds.
Bhastrika Pranayama Benefits
- Supports Dosha balancing: The proper technique of Bellows Breath forms the balancing agent, harmonizing the three doshas of a body, viz, Pitta, Vata, and Kapha.
- Boosts mental health: When we consider Bhastrika Pranayama benefits for brain, following the correct steps supports and balances the parasympathetic nervous system and autonomic nervous system.
- Energizes mind and body: This yoga is the natural way to vitalize one's mind and body. Whether you are physically strained or mentally low, revitalize your body through Bhastrika Pranayama benefits.
- Good for lungs: People suffering from respiratory disorders like allergies, cold, breathlessness, and flu must try this yoga. It clears the air passages and strengthens the lungs.
Bhastrika Pranayama Benefits for Skin
As this technique involves forceful breathing, it is also known as the ‘Breath of Fire’. It increases the oxygen supply to the skin, thereby clearing the accumulated toxins in the blood. The forceful exhalation removes unwanted toxins from the blood, providing healthy and glowing skin. The increased oxygen supply maintains the health and glow of the skin.
Bhastrika Pranayama Benefits for Brain
One of the Bhastrika Pranayama benefits for brain is that it helps people with anxiety and depression. It is the better alternative to heavy medications and a safer technique to deal with stress, anxiety, and depression.
It has lots of mental benefits like rejuvenating and calming one's mind, improving memory and focus. It boosts the central nervous system functioning, which further enhances the motor system, particularly in children.
Bhastrika Pranayama for Weight Loss
Forceful and rapid inhalation and exhalation provide warmth and heat to the body. Although there is no proven scientific claim regarding Bhastrika Pranayama for weight loss, it is shown to improve cardiovascular and respiratory functions.
The increase in oxygen supply boosts the metabolism level of the body. High metabolism burns body calories at a faster rate, helping in quick weight loss. However, regularity in practice is very important to obtain maximum benefits.
Bhastrika Pranayama Steps - How to Do Bhastrika Pranayama (Bellows Breath)?
Here are the Bhastrika Pranayama steps to perform in a perfect sequence:
- Sit in the Vajrasana or lotus pose.
- Take a deep breath and breathe out forcefully, without too much strain.
- Breathe in immediately the moment after you breathe out. Hold the breath for 5 seconds before breathing out.
- Use the diaphragm muscles to inhale and exhale air repeatedly, thoroughly, and deeply.
- The abdomen moves out, and the diaphragm descends while inhaling and vice versa. Do it with slight exaggeration.
- In a single round, perform ten cycles of Bhastrika Pranayama.
Things to Keep in Mind Before Practicing Bhastrika Pranayama (Bellows Breath)
It is the initial yoga practice that one should follow before starting any exercise.
- Follow it with Kapalbhati for better benefits.
- Do it on an empty stomach for enhanced Bhastrika Pranayama benefits.
- The body type of every individual is different. Hence, if you feel dizziness, increase the break duration and do the practice at your own pace.
- People with panic disorders or hypertension should seek expert help and guidance to eliminate Bhastrika Pranayama side effects, if any.
- Pregnant women and those experiencing migraines should not try this exercise.
- Never perform it on a full stomach or at night as it may interfere with your sleep pattern.
Bhastrika Pranayama Side Effects
There are hardly any side effects to Bhastrika Pranayama, but it may lead to mild or severe complications if not performed rightly. If one breathes more forcefully than required, they may faint or experience hyperventilation. Hyperventilation reduces the blood flow in the brain, which results in agitation and confusion.
Hence, stop doing the practice if you feel dizzy at any point. Consult with an experienced practitioner and take the necessary Bhastrika Pranayama precautions for more benefits.