Bhastrika Pranayam in Yoga is said to be a type of breathing exercise. An individual practicing this pranayam will be filled with energy and power. This is also known as the Bellows Breath since it is known to be mimicking as a working bellow used to flame a fire. While performing Bhastrika Pranayam a person pumps air or prana (life force or breath) vigorously throughout the entire system. When doing so it benefits by raising the metabolic functions at the cellular level thus burning out the unwanted fat and toxins that are present in the body promoting health, natural weight loss and release of toxins.
In Bhastrika Pranayam air or prana is inhaled and exhaled fast and forcefully. The energy is drawn from the Manipura Chakra (Naval center) or Coelic Plexus which creates a sound just like the bellow when it is used. Thus rapid succession forcible expulsion and inhalation is the characteristic feature of Bhastrika.
To perform Bhastrika sit in Padmasna keeping the body, neck and head erect. Close your mouth inhale and exhale quickly about 10 times. This produces a hissing sound. Rapid expulsions of breath should follow one after another in quick succession. After at least 10 expulsions a deep inhalation should be taken. The breath is suspended as long as possible with comfort. Then deepest possible exhalation is performed but very slowly. The end of this deepest exhalation completes one round of Bhastrika. Now rest for a while taking in pranas or breath normally. Repeat this two to three times daily. Since one profusely perspirates or sweats so if one feels giddiness he should take in some normal breaths. Continue to practice once giddiness is gone. Breathing should be at the level that the lungs are full and the diaphragm is stretched. So one can summarize as:
- At least 4 vigorous breaths.
- At least on release mildly and followed by lengthening relaxing breaths (Ujjayi).
- Holding of the breath after these relaxing breaths. (Kumbhaka).
- Performing back vigorous breaths after retention of inhalation for a measured period. And calming breaths.
Benefits of Bhastrika Pranayam:
- This stimulates the gastric organs or the Jathragni (digestive fire). Increasing appetite.
- It dissolves or releases toxins present in the body that are produced from the excess of air, bile and phlegm.
- Provides relief in various throat inflammations.
- Raises the body temperature thus making the body warm.
- Provides relief in disorders of the nose, chest and even helps to eradicate asthma.
- Purifies the Nadis.
- Extremely useful in oxygen deficiency disorders and muscular dystrophy.
- Brings and maintains a proper balance in the three doshas that are present in the body.
- Purification of blood and body is freed from toxins or foreign material.
- Stabilizes the Prana and produces calmness in mind.
- This stabilization of the Prana brings the calmness of the mind helping in the upward journey of Prana from the Muladhara Chakra (Sacral or Coccygeal Plexus) to the Sahashara Chakra (Brain).
- Helps to burn fat naturally promoting weight loss.
- Curing disease like Obesity and Arthritis.
Precautions: (For Bhastrika Pranayam)
- This pranayam is strictly prohibited for individuals with heart problems and high blood pressure.
- If one experiences giddiness one should stop practicing immediately taking rest and normal breathing.
- Should be done only in morning in summers when the atmosphere is cool. But can be done twice in morning and evening during winters.
- While breathing the abdominal area should not blow up. The air or prana should be filled in the lungs to the fullest raising the chest area and the diaphragm.