BHASTRIKA – BELLOW’S BREATH

One has to operate the lungs like bellows.

Take a deep breath in and breathe out forcefully through the nose. Do not strain. During inhalation the abdomen moves outward as the diaphragm descends and as one exhales the abdomen is pulled in. The movement should be slightly exaggerated. Do not expand the chest or raise the shoulders. There should be no jerk to the body. Continue with this type of breathing but increase the speed. This is basically fast breathing. After practicing one round inhale through the right nostril slowly and then exhale through the left nostril. This is one round.

*Note – 100 repetitions of kapalbhati can be done, before inhaling through the right nostril, instead of a round of fast breathing if preferred.

Benefits

  • Practice is ideal for purifying blood
  • Improves complexion.
  • Clears the air passages.
  • Gives massage to the chest area.
  • Warms the body up
  • Used for reducing fats
  • Speeds up the metabolism.
  • Tones digestive system.
  • Helps remove excess mucus, helpful when there is cough or cold.
  • Helps to balance the doshas.
  • Can be helpful during labour.
  • Balances the nervous system.
  • Brings focus and calmness.
  • Gives energy.
  • Helps with depression.
  • Improves circulation to the heart and lungs.

Precautions & Contra-indications

If there is feeling of faintness, dizziness, excessive perspiration or a vomiting sensation it should be stopped immediately. It should not be stressful or uncomfortable to practice. The respiration, though exaggerated should still be calm. The face should remain relaxed and there should not be shaking of the body. One should build up slowly with bhastrika as it is a very powerful and dynamic practice. It should be avoided if there is too much heat in the body, high blood pressure, heart disease, recent abdominal surgery, stroke, eye problems, epilepsy, ulcer, acidity, headache, vertigo or menstruation.

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