Take a deep breath and hold it in for a while; now breathe out very slowly. This simple act of breathing seems quite relaxing at times. It allows you to rejuvenate and gather some more energy to get on with your day. Bhastrika pranayama is a breathing technique that has a similarly relaxing effect on the respiratory system. Bhastrika is a Sanskrit word for ‘bellows’. Bellows are used by blacksmiths to fan the fire as they work. Bhastrika pranayama involves continuous inhalation and exhalation performed in rapid succession. It is imperative that you learn the precise technique of Bhastrika pranayama before practising it independently.
Here Is How Bhastrika Pranayama Helps You Maintain Good Health
There are many Pranayama techniques, each having its own positive effects on health. Bhastrika pranayama is one such technique that has preventive as well as therapeutic effects when performed regularly. Here are some ways in which Bhastrika pranayama influences positive health.
1. Detox Effect
Focused and controlled breathing enhances the purification of blood by allowing more oxygenation. The process of purification helps to remove toxins from several body tissues. One of the Bhastrika pranayama benefits is that it leaves you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.
2. Healthy Lungs
When you perform inhalation and exhalation in rapid bursts, you activate your lung muscles. Your lungs get a good workout while performing Bhastrika pranayama. The lung capacity also increases with the regular practice of Bhastrika pranayama. Patients suffering from breathing troubles are often advised to perform this form of breathing technique to strengthen their lungs.
3. Energized Mind
The breathing technique involved in Bhastrika pranayama allows rapid oxygenation and purification of blood. It also helps to stimulate blood circulation of the brain. When the brain receives ample oxygenated blood, one experiences instant rejuvenation of the mind. Bhastrika pranayama helps in clear thinking and in banishing negative thoughts from the mind.
4. Strong Core
The rapid bursts of breathing involved in Bhastrika pranayama help in tightening the core muscles. Regular practice of this form of pranayama will allow you to develop a well-toned midriff. Bhastrika breathing also helps to improve the tone of the intestines and allows easy digestion.
5. Regulation Of Blood Pressure
Bhastrika pranayama stimulates the circulatory and cardiovascular systems by enhancing the speed of blood circulation. By allowing the blood to flow freely through the circulatory apparatus, blood pressure is kept under check. Patients with a history of cardiac disorders or blood pressure issues should perform Bhastrika pranayama only after consulting with a physician.
Experience these Bhastrika benefits with regular practice of Bhastrika pranayama under expert guidance. But is Bhastrika pranayama your cup of tea? Is it okay for you to perform this breathing technique?
Are You Eligible To Perform Bhastrika Pranayama?
Certain guidelines and rules influence the practice of Pranayama. Not everybody should perform all the Pranayama techniques. There are certain restrictions one has to follow while practising Bhastrika pranayama steps.
Do not perform Bhastrika pranayama if:
- You are a pregnant
- You suffer from frequent episodes of elevated blood pressure
- You have recently undergone abdominal surgery
- You have recently undergone pelvic surgery like uterus removal, cervical polyp removal, to name a few
- You are prone to developing acid peptic reflux
- You have a history of cardiac function disturbances
- You have internal ulcers that tend to bleed
There are several Bhastrika pranayama benefits for the wellbeing of the respiratory system, digestive system, blood circulation, nervous system. Nevertheless, patients should not perform this breathing technique without consulting with their physician.
Step-By-Step Guide To Performing Bhastrika Pranayama
While performing Yoga and Pranayama it is imperative that the sequence of steps remains unaltered. The steps have to be performed one after the other as instructed for maximum benefit. Below is the correct sequence to perform Bhastrika pranayama.
- Sit on a hard and even flooring with your legs crossed and your back kept straight. You may opt to sit in Vajrasana or Sukhasana as well.
- Keep your neck straight, place each palm on the corresponding knee, look forward and allow your body to relax.
- Do not slouch your back or hunch your shoulders.
- Close your fists and place them at the side of each shoulder by bending your elbows.
- Begin Bhastrika pranayama by stretching your arms upward and opening your fists while inhaling rapidly.
- This is followed by bringing your arms and fists to the previous position while exhaling rapidly and forcefully.
- Continue this cycle of rapid breathing along with the corresponding motion of arms for about 10 repetitions.
- As you become an expert in performing Bhastrika pranayama you may increase the number of repetitions.
You will experience all the Bhastrika benefits if you follow the correct sequence of performing this form of pranayama.
The Stages Of Pranayama
Even though Bhastrika pranayama follows a rapid breathing technique, it still adheres to the basic rules of pranayama. As per these rules, there are three stages of pranayama:
Puraka is the stage of inhalation; the first stage of pranayama. The speed of inhalation, the force used during inhalation and uptake of air are regulated during this stage.
A span of time passes between inhalation and exhalation. This stage is known as Kumbhaka. The span of Kumbhaka is entirely dependent on the type of pranayama technique being performed. Antar kumbhaka is the temporary suspension of breathing after inhalation. Lungs are filled with air during this stage. Bahya kumbhaka is when you stop breathing for a while after exhalation. Lungs are partially or totally devoid of air during this stage.
Rechaka is the terminal part of any pranayama technique. During this stage, regulated exhalation of air occurs from the lungs. Rechaka is performed forcefully or gently depending on the type of Pranayama.
Due to the rapidity with which Bhastrika is performed, it is difficult to differentiate between the stages of Pranayama. Thus, the three stages of pranayama and Bhastrika pranayama are related where the former is an integral part of the latter.
The Dos And Don’ts Of Bhastrika Pranayama
You have already studied the contraindications for performing Bhastrika pranayama. If none of those contraindications is applicable to you, you may perform Bhastrika pranayama. But you still have to follow some guidelines while performing Bhastrika pranayama.
- Do not perform Bhastrika pranayama immediately after a heavy meal
- Sit in a well-ventilated room that is devoid of noise or any other disturbances
- Take a break immediately if you experience breathing difficulty or any other discomfort while performing Bhastrika pranayama
- Breathe only through your nose and avoid mouth breathing while performing Bhastrika pranayama
- Do not perform Bhastrika pranayama in a recumbent (lying down) position
- Learn the correct technique of Bhastrika pranayama from a certified Yoga trainer before practising the art independently
Follow these Bhastrika pranayama precautions to avoid any health issues or discomfort resulting due to wrong breathing techniques.
- Bhastrika pranayama is a breathing technique involving rapid and short bursts of inhalation and exhalation
- The cardiovascular system, digestive system and respiratory system benefit greatly with regular practice of Bhastrika pranayama
- Pregnant women should not perform Bhastrika pranayama
- Bhastrika pranayama has a detoxifying effect on the mind as well as the body
- It is advisable that Bhastrika pranayama be performed only after consulting with a physician
- Bhastrika pranayama will pave the way to a healthier and more fulfilling life
Pranayama is an excellent way of revitalizing your mind and body. It helps to treat many health conditions and prevent several others when performed regularly. But pranayama will act only as a supplement to the mainstream treatment of any health disorder. Embrace pranayama and make it an integral part of your day for a happy and healthy life.