Bhastrika breath, also known as “bellows breath,” is a traditional yogic breathing practice used to boost your energy. This breathing technique can help bring you out of energetic ruts by increasing your body temperature and getting your blood pumping.
According to Chopra.com, “Bellows breathing is also a practice to consider if you’re trying to lose weight. Performing a few rounds throughout the day can help increase your digestive power and boost your metabolism.”
Benefits of Bhastrika
Because of its ability to increase your energy levels, Bhastrika breathing is beneficial:
- First thing in the morning. To help start your day on the right track, use this breathing style to wake you up and get your heart pumping.
- During your afternoon lull. When you hit that point in your day where you’re trying to decide between a nap or an espresso, try this instead. The invigorating breathing will perk you up!
- Before a workout. This breathing style will warm you up and help you focus on the workout ahead of you.
According to Chopra.com, you should not practice Bhastrika if you:
- are pregnant,
- have uncontrolled hypertension,
- have epilepsy,
- experience seizures, or
- have panic disorder.
- Begin in a comfortable seated position like Sukhasana.
- To prepare, take several deep breaths through the nose. Allow your belly to expand and contract as you breathe.
- On your last preparatory breath, exhale forcefully and quickly.
- Immediately, take a quick inhale. Because you’re moving quickly (about one second for the inhale), your inhale may not feel like it’s very deep.
- Quickly exhale through your nose. The exhale should take about as long as the inhale, approximately one second.
Bruce Bowditch Recommends:
In his book, The Yoga Practice Guide 2: Sequencing and Pranayama for Energy Balancing, Bruce Bowditch recommends that you complete the above steps, then proceed as follows:
- Complete 8 full breaths, then take a break.
- Breathe a few slow, deep breaths.
- When you are ready, complete another cycle of Bhastrika breathing. The goal is to complete 3-4 cycles of breath. Eventually, you can work up to practicing this breathing style for up to a minute.
- After completing steps 1-5 of Bhastrika breathing, follow these directions.
- Complete 10 full breaths, then take a break for 15-30 seconds.
- In your next round, breathe 20 breaths.
- Take a break for 30 seconds.
- Complete your next round with 30 breaths.
If you feel light-headed while practicing this breathing technique, make sure to take a break for a few minutes to breathe normally. When you feel better, try again. This time, reduce your intensity and speed.
Do you have any other tips for practicing Bhastrika? Please let us know in the comments below.