Health benefits of Bhastrika Pranayam include improved digestion, glowing skin and relief in all respiratory system related diseases (cold, cough, bronchitis, asthma etc.)
Bhastrika pranayam, also known as the deep breathing pranayam, charges your body just like the mobile charger does for the mobile phone. It provides abundance of energy instantly by infusing fresh oxygen to every cell of your body. When compared to normal breathing, bhastrika pranayam provides around 8 to 10 times more oxygen to the bloodstream. Such a tremendous amount of oxygen cleanses all the energy channels (nadis) of your body by throwing out the accumulated toxins off the body- Swami Ramdev, a famous Yoga guru in India.
In Sanskrit, Bhastrika means bellows- a device used to produce a strong flow of air by pumping. During bhastrika pranayam, the quick and rapid succession of inhalation and exhalation of breath resembles quite similar to bellows blowing.
In short, bhastrika pranayam is all about deep and rapid inhalation and exhalation of breath so that ample amount of oxygen enters your body to recharge you. These quick breathing cycles produce a hissing sound.
Alternative names of Bhastrika pranayam- Bellows breathing, Deep breathing pranayam and The Yoga breath of Fire.
How to do Bhastrika Pranayam
- Sit on a mat or blanket in a comfortable posture- Padmasana or Vajrasana or Sukhasana. Sukhasana (easy posture- simple cross leg position) is the most suitable one for beginners.
- If unable to fold your knees, simply sit on the chair with a straight spine.
- Close your eyes, keep your spine straight and rest your hands on the knees.
- Take a few normal breathing and relax.
- Inhale quickly and deeply with a little force. Make sure your lungs are filled with air and there is an expansion in the chest.
- Now, exhale with the same force. Your chest would contract to the normal position after exhaling.
- It completes one cycle. One inhale + One exhale = One Cycle
- Complete such 10 cycles quickly without stopping.
- Ten Cycles = One Round
- Just after the final (10th) exhalation, inhale a deep breath, hold it for 1 to 3 seconds and then exhale deeply and slowly. It would complete one round of Bhastrika pranayam.
- After completion of the first round, take some normal breaths and then start for second round and so on.
- For general well being, 3 to 5 rounds of bhastrika pranayam are advised. If you are dealing with any chronic health issue, you can go up to 10 rounds.
- During inhalation, imagine as if all the positive energy and divine bliss is entering your body to make you healthy. Similarly, during exhalation, all the illness and negative energy is releasing out of your body.
Video tutorial link (in English)- Click here
Video tutorial link (in Hindi)- Click here
Important Points to consider
- The time duration should be equal for inhalation and exhalation. Initially, you would take one second for inhalation and one for exhalation. Gradually, it would increase up to 2.5 seconds.
- Make sure to breathe in and out from the chest (lungs), not the stomach.
- Due to forceful breathings, there would be some movement of the shoulders. That is fine. But, the movement should not be too much. You may opt for holding the knees with hands during pranayam to avoid excessive movement of shoulders.
- Finally, bhastrika pranayam involves forceful breathing. But, don’t apply too much force. Rather, take the middle path- neither too much force nor too gentle.
When to do Bhastrika Pranayam
Ideal time for any Yoga and pranayam practice is early morning before the Sunrise. Practice it in the morning after bowel movement with empty stomach. For early results, do it in the evening as well. Maintain a gap of at least 4 hours between lunch and pranayam.
Choose a proper ventilated area of your house otherwise go to the nearest park.
Due to increase in blood flow, this pranayam provides warmth to your body which may result in sweating also. During summer, don’t overdo and avoid practicing in the evening to avoid excessive heat generation in the body.
Health Benefits of Bhastrika Pranayam
- Immunity booster– The Noble prize winner German scientist Mr. Otto Heinrich Warburg has concluded that acute deficiency of oxygen in body cells plays a vital role in Cancer development. Oxygenated blood acts as an anti-oxidant and neutralizes the free radicals to prevent any damage to the body cells. It increases the body immunity to fight off the disease causing microbes. Bhastrika pranayam is certainly the best pranayam to provide oxygen to your bloodstream.
- Aids in digestion– Enhanced oxygen increases the digestive fire and stimulates the body metabolism to break down the food properly (especially the fats). It results in improved digestion.
- Promotes Body detoxification– By oxygenated your blood, it improves the body’s natural ability to detoxify itself. Sweating is your body’s natural ability to expel toxins through the skin pores. Quick and forceful breathing during bhastrika pranayam gives warmth to your body to stimulate sweating. Hence, bhastrika pranayam aids in body detoxification.
- Promotes weight loss– Optimum body metabolism and healthy digestion would help you manage your body weight.
- Glowing skin– Purified blood, healthy digestive system and less body toxins- a healthy, glowing skin is the obvious output 🙂
- Panacea for the whole respiratory system– It purifies and provides strength to various organs of the respiratory system to provide relief from various disorders such as cough, cold, asthma, bronchitis and sinus infection. It is particularly beneficial for throat infection and inflammation.
- Balances the Tridosha– It balances all the three Doshas- vata, pitta and kapha. It is particularly beneficial for vata induced problems like arthritis.
- Increased blood circulation– It increases the circulation of body fluids- blood and lymph.
- Regular practice of bhastrika pranayam results in energetic mind with clarity of thoughts.
> Don’t practice Bhastrika pranayam in below cases:
- If you are dealing with serious cardiovascular (heart related) disorders. For mild issues, advice from a Yoga expert is suggested.
- If you are dealing with high blood pressure
- Pregnant women
- Women during menstruation
> During initial few days of practice, you may feel light headed or dizziness. Just take a break and start again after some time. Don’t worry, it is pretty normal and these symptoms would fade away with time.
This is a common misconception that by increasing the number of rounds per sitting, you can get quick results. It is not right. Actually, unnecessary force can actually hamper your body. Number of rounds individual’s strength and expertise. Hence, don’t torture your body and practice as per your capacity and comfort. The real thing that matter is your commitment and regularity.
Unlike pharma based medicines, Yoga and Pranayam doesn’t provide overnight results. It takes times- at least a few months to see some improvement. At the same time, they are free from any side effect associated with those steroids based medicines.
Hence, listen to your body, don’t overdo and enjoy this amazing deep breathing pranayam to charge and vitalize your body with lots of oxygen.
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