Bhastrika Pranayama

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Bhastrikameans “bellows breath” or “the breath of fire.” During this transitional period between winter and spring, practicingbhastrikaevery day helps minimize spring’s kapha-aggravating potential while encouraging the body to eliminate any excess kapha accumulated during the winter. It is a great pranayama practice for balancing kaphaand vata;but practicedin excess, it can aggravate pitta, so it should only be done in moderation for pittaconditions.

Practicing bhastrikacleanses mucus from the chest and sinuses; kindles gastric fire; improves circulation; and supports vigor, vitality, and proper elimination. It improves the tone of the bronchial, heart and diaphragm muscles, and helps prevent heart and lung diseases. It’s a very easy to perform and can be incorporated into your daily life no matter where you are. To practice bhastrika, follow the instructions below:

  • Sit cross-legged, keeping the right hand on the right knee, the left hand on the left knee, and the spine straight.

  • Do a slight chin lock, contract the anus, and begin to do bellows breathing, which means inhaling and exhaling forcefully. This involves rapid and vigorous inhalations and exhalations powered by the rhythmic contractions of the diaphragm. The movement of air as you inhale and exhale should be audible.

  • You can do 30 bellows breaths of equal vigor and duration and then rest.

  • When you’ve finished the required number of expulsions (30 per round is a good starting point), follow the final expulsion with the deepest inhalation possible. Hold this breath for as long as it feels comfortable to do so; then exhale very deeply and slowly.

  • The end of this deep exhalation completes one round of bhastrika. You may start with one or two rounds (30 each) and work yourself up to more inhalations and exhalations per round.

  • Contraindications include pregnancy, high blood pressure, glaucoma, hydrocele, hernia, ascites, and recent history of heart attack. 

Disclaimer
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure, or prevention of any