Bhastrika is a Sanskrit word for "bellows," an instrument used by blacksmiths in the past to blow air on the fire. Similarly, Bhastrika Pranayama is a breathing exercise that mimics "bellows" to increase the flow of air into the body to produce heat at both the physical and subtle levels, stoking the inner fire of mind and body. It is the process of rapid inhalation and exhalation that gives a boost to the body, which is why it is aptly referred to as the "yogic breath of fire."
The Bhastrika Pranayama may resemble the Kapalbhati Pranayama in practice; however, the Kapalbhati places emphasis on the exhalation, whereas the Bhastrika places equal emphasis on the inhalation and the exhalation.
Bhastrika, as with most pranayamas, is best practiced on an empty stomach.
Find a comfortable position to sit and maintain a straight back and neck (if possible, sit cross-legged with your fingers performing Gyan mudra).
CLose your eyes and relax your body. When you’re ready to begin, take a deep breath in and then exhale forcefully, without strain or tension.
As you exhale, allow your abdomen to dynamically contract, drawing the navel toward the spine as the diaphragm ascends toward the lungs. Follow this exhalation immediately with a forceful inhalation—again, without strain or tension.
As you inhale, allow the abdomen to actively expand, moving the navel away from the spine as the diaphragm descends toward the pelvic floor.
Once again, exhale firmly while contracting your abdomen and completely emptying your lungs. Focus on both the inhale and the exhale, matching their length and force.
Start out slowly, then pick up the pace as you get used to it.
Then, at the top of the tenth inhalation, retain the breath for a moment before gently releasing it with a long, complete exhalation.
Then, take one more deep inhalation and exhale slowly. This completes one round of Bhastrika Pranayama. Practice this pranayama for 5–10 minutes daily in order to gain its full benefits.
One of Bhastrika Pranayama’s main advantages is that it boosts gastric fire, which enhances both appetite and digestion capacity. Patients who suffer from Asthma can benefit greatly from it as well. However, pregnant women and people with epilepsy, high blood pressure, and an irregular heartbeat should avoid it. Similarly, Bhastrika Pranayama also helps to:
So the next time you feel like your body needs energy, try Bhastrika Pranayama instead.