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Practicing Bhastrika

The meaning of the Sanskrit word ‘Bhastrika’ is ‘Bellows’, thus the Bhastrika Pranayama is called the ‘bellows breath’. This form of breathing increases the flow of air into the body to produce inner heat at the physical and subtle level.

Bhastrika breathing is a dynamic and highly energizing abdominal breathing exercise requiring a large expenditure of physical energy. It is accomplished by breathing abdominally at the rate of 1-4 breaths per second, with inhalations and exhalations equally emphasized and equally active.

Beginners are advised to practice Bhastrika at a slow breath rate, using 2-second inhalation and 2-seconds exhalation; (15 breaths per minute) with no force on inhalation and exhalation. With regular practice of this pranayama the abdominal muscles will become stronger, so the speed can be increased to 30 breaths per minute,
using 1-second inhalation and 1-second exhalation.

Intermediate and advanced students may practice at medium breath rate (1-2 breaths per second) and at fast breath rate (3-4 breaths per second).

Note: Be aware of hyperventilating, and built your capacity slowly.

The Bellows breath activates and invigorates the liver, pancreas, spleen and abdominal muscles, thus toning the
digestive system and improving digestion.

The Bhastrika pranayama brings many benefits to a practitioner. However, in some health conditions this particular
breathing exercise is not recommended.

Three important reasons (out of many) not to do Bhastrika:

1) Anyone suffering from High blood pressure should not practice this breathing.

2) Person with poor lungs capacity should not attempt Bellows breath.

3) If you are suffering from hernia avoid this pranayama.