Some days you just feel a little less than energized… those are good days for the Bhastrika Pranayama. This breathing pattern, will help you rebuild the fire in your belly. A metaphor, yes, but apt. Bhastrika is also called the Bellow’s Breath and it is good to approach it like you are using an old-fashioned bellows to get a fire going… slow and steady, no sudden movements and you will soon have a nice flame burning to sustain whatever your practice or life may bring…
AKA: Bellow’s Breath
- Sit tall with a long spine and become aware of the movement your breath creates in your belly.
- As you exhale, exaggerate the movement of your belly by pulling it in, bellybutton toward spine. Imagine you are using this action to slowly expel all of your breath.
- As you inhale, exaggerate the movement of your belly by actively pushing it out. Imagine you are using this action to pull the breath into your lungs.
- Repeat this, slow and steady, for several minutes, then sit with a natural breath and notice what you feel, notice the effects of your Bhastrika Pranayama.
- irritation or inflammation of throat, lungs or sinuses, do not practice;
- inflammation in the abdomen, do not practice;
- upset tummy, do not practice;
- this breathing practice can be an intense experience for your nervous system, approach cautiously with full awareness of your changing state of being. Recommended only for practitioners with some pranayama and meditation experience.
- this is a great practice for “reverse breathers” to develop awareness around their breathing patterns and retrain their breathing muscles;
- strengthens abdominal muscles;
- builds energy;
- complete exchange of air in lungs;
- oxygenates blood;
- releases tension in belly;
- generates introversion of the mind.
** Going further:
- Explore increasing the speed of your breath with control and ease;
- Bring your arms into it to increase your energy even more… as you inhale, reach your arms up; as you exhale, make fists and draw your arms down, elbows back, fist by your side waist;
- Work with the “Howling Wolf Bhastrika”… start in Child’s Pose with your hands under your shoulders, as you inhale, use your arms and the inflation of your belly to lift your belly away from your thighs and torso up; as you exhale, ride the deflation of your belly down to bring belly to thighs and compress the belly to expel as much air as possible.