Bhastrika Pranayama - The Bellows Breath
Before Bhastrika Pranayama is attempted, each of the four levels of Nadi Shodhana Pranayama should have been practiced for at least three months.
Starting Position: Meditation posture
Concentration: on the Manipura Chakra
Repetitions: 2-4 rounds
Practice: Feel the stillness of the body and observe the flow of the breath. >Lift the hand to Pranayama Mudra. >Close the right nostril with the thumb and inhale and exhale in rapid succession 20 times through the left nostril. The abdominal wall moves in and out like bellows. >With the 20th breath inhale and exhale deeply through the left nostril then change the nostril. Continue the bellows breath through the right nostril. >With the 20th breath inhale deeply and exhale slowly through the right nostril. Return the hand to the knee and repeat the exercise with both nostrils.
Relax for a short time breathing normally and then continue the next round beginning with the right nostril first. Alternate the left and right nostrils when beginning any further rounds of Bhastrika.
Benefits: Bhastrika Pranayama refreshes body and mind. It has a regenerating and rejuvenating influence upon the whole body and improves memory. Circulation is stimulated. The increased blood supply to the head improves eyesight and hearing. The lungs are strengthened and it is beneficial for bronchitis, as the respiratory system is quickly and deeply purified. Digestive function is stimulated, improving metabolism. The breakdown of fats is especially accelerated. This breathing technique also activates the solar plexus and Manipura Chakra.
Caution: An increase in the number of rounds is only permitted after practicing for a long time and after discussion with the Yoga teacher. This exercise should not be practiced when there is acute asthma, heart disease or fever.