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How to Do Bhastrika Pranayama

Bhastrika Pranayama

Before we delve into the “how-to” aspect of this article, it is important that we first understand what Bhastrika Pranayama is. Pranayama is defined as the regulation of human breathing, and Bhastrika Pranayama is a type of breathing regulation technique. Bhastrika Pranayama is a form of breathing exercise that involves the rapid inhalation and exhalation of air in and out of the body; this form of breathing is also called the ‘breath of fire’.

Practicing Bhastrika Pranayama allows you to pump an even higher amount of oxygen into your body, and this increase in oxygen level causes the body to produce more energy.

Bhastrika Pranayama is sometimes mistaken for Kapalbhati, but they have distinct differences. It involves the use of the lungs and the chest, while Kapalbhati involves the use of the stomach.

Bhastrika Pranayama is a highly effective breathing technique that enhances energy production in the body and aids in clearing the lungs and respiratory pathways. This breathing technique is one of the basic and most employed breathing techniques in yoga.

Now that we understand Bhastrika Pranayama, let’s delve into how to perform it and its benefits.

How to Do Bhastrika Pranayama

Bhastrika Pranayama is a basic form of breathing; however, without appropriate knowledge of how to perform it, it is possible to get it all wrong. Also, this breathing technique is not suitable for everybody; some precautions need to be observed when performing Bhastrika Pranayama, and it is not suitable for some people. I’m going to show some of these precautions and also classes of people that should not try this breathing technique later in the article.

Bhastrika Pranayama

Let’s proceed to the steps for performing Bhastrika Pranayama:

  • The first step to performing Bhastrika Pranayama is getting a comfortable mat or flat surface that you can sit on comfortably. This step is important because you need to be still when performing the breathing technique, and it will be difficult to remain still when you’re not comfortable.
  • After you get a comfortable surface, the next step is assuming a pose or asana, preferably the sukhasana. Sukhasana is a basic yoga asana. It is a sitting position where your left leg touches your right thigh and your right leg touches your left thigh, and your hands remain on your knees. It is a common yoga pose and one of the best positions to perform Bhastrika Pranayama.
  • After you’re in your Yoga pose, sit up so that your backbone is straight and keep your eyes closed so that you can concentrate and cut off any distractions. Also, extend your arms and keep them straight and resting on your knees. You can also place your index finger over your thumb and extend the remaining three free fingers.
  • When you’ve perfected your pose, sit and meditate for some time.
  • During your meditation, you can start the Bhastrika Pranayama; first, take deep breaths through your nostrils and ensure your mouth is closed throughout. Make sure you inhale through your nostrils until your lungs can’t take in any more air.
  • After inhaling to your lung’s maximum capacity, breathe out in one fluid motion through your nostrils only.
  • Keep repeating this rapid and deep inhalation and exhalation using only your nostrils, and ensure you’re filling your lungs with air and also completely removing air from your lungs as you exhale.
  • A complete inhalation and exhalation make up one round of Bhastrika Pranayama.
  • During Bhastrika Pranayama, maintain long intervals between each round, gradually reducing them until each round lasts only a second.


Benefits of Bhastrika

Bhastrika Pranayama is a straightforward breathing technique, and you might wonder about its significance. Here are some of the advantages of practicing Bhastrika Pranayama:

  • Bhastrika Pranayama involves the forceful inhalation and exhalation of air, which leads to an increase in the amount of oxygen present in the lungs and blood. This, in turn, purifies the blood. This breathing exercise improves your Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.
  • Practicing Bhastrika Pranayama helps with the cardiovascular system. We have seen from studies and experience that practicing this form of Pranayama helps to control the blood pressure and regulate the heart rate. It is a good cardiac exercise and reduces the risk of cardiac failure or other related heart abnormalities.
  • This breathing technique involves the use of your nose, lungs, and stomach. When you’re practicing this form of breathing, you’re using your stomach muscles, and this burns away fat in the area. This breathing technique helps remove tummy fat.
  • Bhastrika Pranayama also has respiratory benefits. I mentioned earlier that practicing this technique involves the use of the respiratory system and the stomach; when you’re using this breathing technique, you’re exercising your lungs, intercostal muscles, pharynx, trachea, nasal cavity, and other respiratory parts. This helps to strengthen the lungs and the other respiratory components and reduces the risk of any respiratory abnormalities.
  • Practicing this form of pranayama also helps in cleansing the blood, blood vessels, and blood circulation. The increase in the amount of oxygen removes impurities in the blood.
  • Bhastrika is also helpful for the brain; it increases the amount of oxygen available to the brain and aids the brain to function better.
  • This breathing technique is also a great way to build concentration; it allows you to focus.
  • Another benefit of practicing Bhastrika Pranayama is that it raises your body heat; this form of breathing is called “breath of fire” because it raises your body temperature, and this comes in handy when the weather is cold.
  • Research has shown that the consistent practice of Bhastrika Pranayama improves the skin texture; you can get glowing skin from the daily practice of this breathing technique.

There are additional benefits to practicing Bhastrika Pranayama, best experienced through personal practice of this breathing technique.

prana awareness

Some precautions to keep in mind when practicing Bhastrika Pranayama

The Importance of Prana in Yoga

As mentioned earlier, there are precautions to consider before attempting Bhastrika Pranayama, as it may not be suitable for everyone. Here are some precautions:

  • Bhastrika Pranayama is not suitable for pregnant women or individuals with high blood pressure.
  • This breathing technique is not advisable for people with underlying respiratory or cardiovascular issues.
  • If you’re starting Bhastrika Pranayama for the first time, don’t rush it; take it slowly.
  • You should practice this form of breathing for a maximum of 2-minutes in the summer.
  • Ensure your nasal pathway is clear before you commence the exercise.
  • Stop the exercise once you start feeling nausea, dizziness, or other related signs.

Bhastrika Pranayama is now one of the most adopted forms of breathing in yoga today; it is very effective and helps the body in a lot of ways. There are other forms of breathing and a lot more to know about yoga, and you can learn more about all these from our website.

Nicole Landeira

Hi, I’m Nicole, a passionate yoga teacher and lifelong learner. There’s so much more to know about yoga than one could possibly learn in one single lifetime. To me, yoga isn’t about finding the perfect posture. It’s about becoming one with my body, finding peace in who I am and creating space where I once was stuck, either in my body or my mind. Being a psychotherapist, I love that yoga allows us to evolve our personality while at the same time giving us the opportunity to become aware of our body, thoughts, feelings and needs, as well as our behavior towards and communication with those around us. While it’s not all that important what the poses look like while you’re practicing them, it is in fact very important to follow certain steps in order to really benefit from the individual poses and avoid getting injured. That’s why we’ve created this page and hope that you’ll find it helpful for your yoga practice.

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