Pranayama – Breathing – Day 11 – 2020 – Bhastrika Pranayama – Bellows Breath

Good Morning Yogis! Today is Pranayama Day! We will revisit a warming and energizing new technique – Bhastrika Pranayama or Bellows’ Breath!

close up purple flowers with bright green leaves - breath breathing pranayama Quote: When people ask me what the most important thing is in life, I answer: 'Just breathe.' - Yoko Ono
When people ask me what the most important thing is in life, I answer: ‘Just breathe.’ – Yoko Ono

Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is Bhastrika Pranayama, an energizing Pranayama Practice. We will start diaphragmatic breathing, which is part one of this breath. Please note this is a technique that should be practiced on its own, NOT during Asana practice! This Pranayama is best first thing in the morning, or if you need an energy boost during the day. Also, this technique is best on an empty stomach, or at least a couple hours after eating!

This is a great technique to watch and follow along – click here for video instructions!

Diaphragmatic Breath

  • Start by evaluating your current breath pattern. Place one hand on your chest, and the other on your belly. Breathe in and out, and notice when the hands resting on your belly and chest move to indicate expansion. You SHOULD use your diaphragm and breathe into your belly, so your belly expands on the inhale and contracts on the exhale. Most of us breathe shallowly into our chest only, and our belly hand never moves!  
  • Breathe in and make sure your belly expands, pushing your hand out as your entire torso fills with air.
  • Breathe out, contracting the belly, making sure you empty the lungs completely
  • Continue breathing in to a full count of 6, and out to a full count of 6, using your diaphragm to fill your lungs with air, and contract the belly to empty lungs completely. Focus on keeping your chest hand fairly still, and using your diaphragm to breathe into your belly.

Bhastrika Pranayama / Bellows Breath

  • After 5-10 full Diaphragmatic Breaths, close your mouth and begin the Bellows Breath:
  • Exhale forcefully through the nose, followed by inhaling forcefully through the nose.
    • These are quick forceful breaths, about one second for each inhale and one second for each exhale.
    • Use your diaphragm to initiate this breath, so your belly moves in and out quickly with your breath. Note that due to the speed, your breath will likely only reach your chest, not your belly.
    • Keep head, neck, and shoulders still throughout this technique.
  • Complete a round of 10 Bellows Breaths.
  • Move back to Diaphragmatic Breathing for 5-10 complete breaths. If you are getting dizzy, just stick with one round.
  • Complete a second round of 20 Bellows Breaths.
  • Move back to Diaphragmatic Breathing for 10 complete breaths.
  • Complete a third round of 30 Bellows Breaths.
  • Do not practice more than 3 rounds or 60 total Bellows Breaths at a time.

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Please comment and let me know what you thought of this Pranayama exercise! Have you tried this breath technique? How many rounds did you complete? Do you have another Pranayama practice you particularly enjoy? Always remember, be kind!

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