A traditional breath exercise in yoga is bhastrika, which translates in English as “bellows breath.” If you feel sluggish, doing a set of bhastrika breaths will clear the clouds from your body and mind. If you are trying to lose weight, doing a few rounds throughout the day will increase your digestive power and help increase your metabolism. Performing bellows breathing close to bedtime isn’t recommended, however, as it may invigorate your mind and make it difficult to fall asleep.
How to Perform Bellows Breath
Begin by relaxing your shoulders and take a few deep, full breaths from your abdomen. Now start exhaling forcefully through your nose, followed by forceful, deep inhalations at the rate of one second per cycle. Your breathing is entirely from your diaphragm, keeping your head, neck, shoulders, and chest relatively still while your belly moves in and out.
Start by doing a round of ten 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 in to your body during the process. If you feel light-headed or very uncomfortable, stop for a few moments before resuming in a less intense manner.
Practicing bhastrika brings your attention into your body, reminding you how to move energy consciously. The ability to manage your life force or prana is essential for all success and fulfillment.
Contraindications: Do not practice bhastrika if you are pregnant, have uncontrolled hypertension, epilepsy/seizures, or panic disorder. It is also recommended that you don't practice bellows breath on a full stomach – wait at least two hours after eating.
Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, fitness, or other health program.
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