Bhastrika

Heard About Bhastrika? – Types, Reasons To Do it, and etc

Knowing the proper procedure to breathe is one of the most important things you can do for your health.

There are several techniques for breathing, and knowing which one to use is essential. 

Proper breathing makes a difference in anxiety levels, asthma symptoms, heart rate and blood pressure, symptoms of depression, and many other conditions. 

This article will talk about a breathing technique called bhastrika – also known as bellows breath – and how it can benefit your health. 

Let’s get started!

What is Bhastrika Pranayama?

Bhastrika or bellows breath is a pranayama technique that is quickly becoming a popular exercise for a good reason.

What are the types of Bhastrika?
This technique has been found to reduce cortisol levels, lower blood pressure, increase energy levels, and improve overall health. 

It’s one of the best techniques for increasing your energy levels and mood throughout the day and can even help you fall asleep at night. 

Bhastrika means 'bellows' in Sanskrit. The yoga scriptures Hatha Yoga Pradeepika and the Gheranda Samhita both mention Bhastrika. 

It necessitates fast inhaling and exhaling. It helps to improve blood circulation throughout the body. 

The chest is compressed during rapid and vigorous exhalation, pushing blood towards the head. During inhalation, the opposite happens. 

This procedure improves blood flow to all parts of the body, boosting the vitality of all organs and tissues. 

Bhastrika practice over time cleanses the body and unlocks the body's innate higher energies.

Bhastrika pranayama can be thought of as a mix of Kapalbhati and Ujjayi pranayama. The exhale is similar to Kapalbhati, while they inhale similar to Ujjayi pranayama. 

Bhastrika is simple once you've mastered Kapalbhati and Ujjayi. You can do Bhastrika in the morning or the evening. 

If the weather is hot in the summer, the practice should be limited to the mornings only. Bhastrika is an advanced practice that you must perform on an empty stomach after morning evacuation.

Reasons of doing bhastrika pranayama

This practice is considered to be the best pranayama (breath-control) technique. It improves the circulation of blood and lymphatic fluid that runs through the body. Kapalbhati is very good for digestion and kidney function. 

Ujjayi can help reduce anxiety, headaches, stress, high blood pressure and improve your overall health. The exercises are said to have a stimulating effect on the body and are considered very good for health. 

Many people have reported that they have gained more energy after they started practising this exercise regularly. Many also say that their digestion system has improved with the help of this pranayama.

How to do bhastrika pranayama ?

The posture for bhastrika is comfortable, but it does need to be performed with discipline. 

  • Close your eyes and relax in Sukhasana.
  • Take a deep breath and hold it for a few moments. Expand your chest and abdomen as you inhale.
  • Begin bhastrika breathing by inhaling and exhaling quickly at a rate of one breath per second. Then, as you gasp after a sprint, swiftly inhale and exhale with a hissing sound from your nostrils.
  • At the end of the tenth breath, take a deep, calming inhalation followed by a long, slow exhale.
  • After 10 seconds of regular breathing, begin the following round with 20 breaths of quick breathing. Finally, increase your breath counts to 30 in the third round.
  • After the third round, finish the practice with a few rounds of deep breathing and then slowly exit the pose.

Bhastrika Pranayama With Arms

What are the benefits of Bhastrika?

You can do Bhastrika pranayama with your arms as well.

  • Place both hands next to your shoulders and sit up straight.
  • Make a fist with both palms of your hands.
  • Begin bhastrika by inhaling deeply, raising your arms, and opening your fist. Extend your chest and abdomen as you breathe in.
  • Exhale and shut your hand while bringing your arms back down to shoulder level. While closing the fist, contract the abdomen.
  • In this process, inhale and exhale quickly. Then, do it for ten breaths (1 round) before relaxing and starting another round.

Types of Bhastrika Pranayama

There are 3 types of Bhastrika Pranayama:

Fast Pace Bhastrika – teevre gati

The respiration rate is exceedingly high in fast bhastrika pranayama, and you can hear a powerful hissing sound. 

It has been observed that three rapid tempo bhastrika causes a respiratory rate of up to 232 breaths per minute in some expert yoga practitioners (3-4 breaths per second).

Fast-paced bhastrika, according to Baba Ramdev, should be avoided in cases of heart disease, hernia, high blood pressure, back pain, and so on. They can, however, do bhastrika at a moderate or medium tempo.

Medium Pace Bhastrika – madhyam gati

The hissing sound is comparably mild in medium pace bhastrika, done at one breath per second. This bhastrika is appropriate for persons who have been doing kapalbhati pranayama for a long time.

Slow Pace Bhastrika – samanya gati

People with cardiac difficulties, high blood pressure, or older adults with a weakened respiratory system should practice bhastrika at a rate of 1 breath/2 second. 

Best time to practice bhastrika pranayama

The best time for bhastrika breathing is in the morning when the air is somewhat cold. If you can’t do it in the morning, the evening is also an excellent option. 

You should do it after Kapalbhati and Ujjayi breaths in a pranayama session.

Benefits of Bhastrika pranayama

Bhastrika is a powerful anti-stress practice that is great for improving health and energy levels. The following benefits have been reported after practising bhastrika:

How many Bhastrika are there?
  • Increases energy and oxygenation: Bhastrika increases the amount of oxygen that you breathe out. It is because the abdominal cavity expands during Bhastrika practice. 
When you pump oxygenated blood through your vital organs, you feel more alert and energetic throughout the day.
  • Improves digestion: Bhastrika improves digestion because it stimulates abdominal circulation (peristalsis). It, in turn, enhances the quality of your blood and the circulation of digestive enzymes throughout your body.
  • Purifies the lungs: Since bhastrika involves a vigorous form of exhalation, it helps to purge toxins from the lungs and respiratory tract.
  • Cleanses sinuses: Bhastrika purifies your internal organs by cleansing inner mucus membranes such as those in the sinuses and nasal passages. This practice also effectively reduces any excess mucus that might be present in these areas.
  • Reduces stress, anxiety, and depression: Japa yoga is the best method for transforming negative emotions into positive ones. 
Bhastrika can help you do this because it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system by releasing endorphins as a natural anaesthetic.
  • Balances the doshas: Bhastrika helps balance the doshas or humour in the body. It should be performed after kapalbhati pranayama to ensure that it has an optimum effect on your body.
  • Heats our bodies: Bhastrika is particularly beneficial during the winter season because it can heat our vital organs and stimulate blood and oxygen circulation to these areas.
  • Good for respiratory-related Problems like Asthma: Bhastrika pranayama, besides improving the quality of your blood, also increases the calibre of your respiratory system. 
It is why it can significantly benefit people with respiratory problems that do not respond well to other forms of exercise.
  • Strengthens the nervous system: Bhastrika helps strengthen the nervous system by stimulating emotions and nerves through a firm breath count.
  • Increases blood pressure: Bhastrika pranayama can increase both the systolic and diastolic blood pressure in the body.

Precautions

There are some precautions to take while practising Bhastrika Pranayama:

  • The bhastrika breathing technique should not be practised by people with low blood pressure, heart disease, high blood pressure disorders, hernia, high cholesterol levels, or any medical condition that could worsen it. 
  • In the case of pregnancy, you should avoid Bhastrika Pranayama.
  • Beginners and persons with high blood pressure should be cautious and conduct Bhastrika at a modest speed.
  • Overdoing bhastrika in the summer or if you have a fever might raise your body temperature even more.
  • If you feel queasy or faint in the middle of the practice, stop immediately.
  • After a meal, do not perform bhastrika. Instead, wait for 3 to 4 hours.

Conclusion

Usually, after practising Kapalbhati, the shape of your abdomen becomes flat. But in Bhastrika, it is twisted.

Bhastrika Pranayama also stimulates "Udghatata," a particular body posture that helps expel a build-up of ama or toxic matter from the body. 

Bhastrika is usually practised in the morning when you wake up, but you can also do it in the evening before going to sleep if you want, just before you go to bed. You must practice it in a quiet and peaceful environment and mood. 

When you practice Bhastrika for a more extended period, it can lower your blood pressure and clear out toxins from your body. 

Bhastrika is great for people with respiratory problems such as asthma because they tend to make more mucus when they exercise like this. 

Have you tried this breathing technique before? How was the experience? Share with us below in the comments.

FAQs

When is it advisable to practice Bhastrika?

The optimal time to do Bhastrika Pranayama is in the early morning. To shrug off grogginess, begin your pranayama program with Bellows breath. It has the same effects as a nice cup of strong coffee. 

Additionally, it will exercise the intestines of those who suffer from constipation or irregular bowel movements.

How many Bhastrika rounds should a beginner do?

For novices, one set (maximum of twenty rounds) of Bhastrika is recommended. Two sets are beneficial for people with anxiety, low blood pressure, and Kapha dosha.

Once you've gotten the hang of it, you may do three sets of twenty rounds each. 

What is the best way to breathe during Bhastrika Pranayama?

The ideal method of breathing during Bhastrika Pranayama is to count each out-breath for one second and each in-breath for two seconds.

It doesn't matter how you divide up the time, but the ratio should remain consistent. Counting also keeps you conscious of your timing, keeping your breaths equal in length.

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