Bhastrika Pranayama is also known as Bellows Breath, and is a heating “inner fire” Yogic breathing practice.
The popular name Bellows Breath is derived from the Bellows device, which is an air bag with two handles that emits a stream of air when squeezed together, used for fanning i.e. blowing air into a fire to make it bigger and stronger. It refers to the fact that this Pranayama can produce internal heat in the body.
The benefits of performing this Pranayama are thought to be many, such as improved energy levels and Prana flow, better digestion and appetite, stimulation of the respiratory organs and functions, improved detoxification, cleansing of nasal passages, sinuses, and chest of excess mucus, better concentration ability, oxygenation of the blood, lower blood pressure, strengthening of the abdominal region, and relaxation of mind and body.
There are several varieties of how to perform the Bhastrika Pranayama exercise. Below we give you one version.
- Sit down comfortably and keep your spine straight;
- Inhale deeply and breathe out forcefully through the nose with a strong nasal sound, but without special strain;
- Immediately breathe in again with the same force;
- Inhale and exhale repeatedly as indicated above, and do it rhythmically, deeply, and thoroughly by using vigorous Abdominal Breathing;
- Carry out ten cycles to complete a round of Bhastrika Pranayama;
- You may do a few rounds.
A particularity of Bhastrika Pranayama is that when combined with Kumbhaka Pranayama (breath retention) it can generate heat in the body and keep it warm in cold weather. This resembles the breathing practices carried out in both the Wim Hof Method and Tibetan Tummo Breathing.