How and Why to Perform Bhastrika Breath

by: The Editors at

Bhastrika, or“bellows breath,” is a traditional breathing exercise in yoga that helps to increase Prana or life force in your being. It’s used to energize the body and clarify the mind. If you feel sluggish, Bhastrika will help clear the clouds. If you’re trying to lose weight, doing a few rounds throughout the day can increase your digestive power and help increase your metabolism.

Bellows breathing close to bedtime is not recommended as it may invigorate your mind and make it difficult to fall asleep.

How to Perform Bellows Breath

  1. Relax your shoulders and take a few deep, full breaths from your abdomen.
  2. Start exhaling forcefully through your nose, followed by forceful, deep inhalations at the rate of one second per cycle.
  3. Breathe entirely from your diaphragm, keeping your head, neck, shoulders, and chest relatively still while your belly moves in and out.

Start with a round of 10 Bhastrika breaths, then breathe naturally and notice the sensations in your body. After 15 to 30 seconds, begin the next round with 20 breaths. Finally, after pausing for another 30 seconds, complete a third round of 30 breaths.

Although bellows breathing is a safe practice, stay tuned into your body during the process. If you feel light headed or uncomfortable, stop. Wait a few minutes before resuming in a less intense manner.

Contraindications: Do not practice Bhastrika if you’re pregnant, have uncontrolled hypertension, epilepsy, seizures, or panic disorder. You should also avoid practicing bellows breath on a full stomach. Wait at least two hours after eating.

*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center's Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.


About the Author

The Editors at

This article was written as a combined effort of the editors for and the Chopra Centered Lifestyle community. The editors take advantage of the wisdom and knowledge at the Chopra Center through access to Master Educators, Program Developers, and Speakers, and bring you the healing wisdom in a simple, online format.

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