Have you heard of ‘the breath of fire’? Bhastrika is a breathing technique known to generate heat in the body. The word ‘BHASTRIKA’ comes from Sanskrit which means ‘breathing like bellow.’ In this pranayama, there is forceful inhalation and exhalation increasing gradually. That’s why it is called “Bellow-breathing”. Bhastrika should always be done towards the start of pranayama followed by Kapalbhatti because they warm up the body.
*The posture should be correct and the spine straight otherwise the flow of prana will be blocked and cause backache, body ache, headache like side effects.
*Always do pranayama on an empty stomach. If you feel hungry, do not do it otherwise you’ll end up hurting your Agni- digestive fire, leading to digestive issues like nausea, vomiting, dizziness, blurred vision etc.
*Do not do Bhastrika during menstruation and pregnancy because it increases heat in body.
*If your prakriti is pitta or pitta is increased in the body, substitute it with shitali pranayama that involves breathing through a curled tongue.
*Patients with high blood pressure, heart disease and migraine should not do it.
*Bhastrika should not be done at bed time because it stimulates nervous system which interferes with sleep.
The right way to do it:
- Sit comfortably on the floor in a cross-legged posture or Padmasana (lotus pose). If not comfortable in this position, sit upright on the front edge of a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
- First close your eyes and breathe normally. Bring awareness to your breath for 5 minutes.
- Then take a deep breath, fill your lungs with air and gently breathe out. Increase the speed gradually. Imagine a steam engine moving slowly and then train start moving faster.
- Do one round of 10 strokes or exhalation then rest for one minute. Gradually increase it up to 30 strokes. Practice five rounds of Bhastrika in the morning and five in the evening.
- This pranayama increases the vital capacity of lungs. It helps to relieve allergy, asthma, nasal congestion and make lungs strong and healthy.
- It is beneficial during colder months because it increases heat in the body.
- It is good for kapha body types. The people with such body type can do it in summers also.
- It is good for patients with depression, anxiety, low blood pressure, asthma, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis. These patients can do it in summers also.