Too much stoking burns out the boiler of the engine. So also too much practice of Bhastrika wears out the system as the breathing process is forceful - BKS Iyengar.
The meaning of the Sanskrit word ‘Bhastrika' is ‘Bellows', thus the Bhastrika Pranayama is called the ‘bellows breath'. This form of breathing increases the flow of air into the body to produce inner heat at the physical and subtle level.
Bhastrika breathing is a dynamic and highly energizing abdominal breathing exercise requiring a large expenditure of physical energy. It is accomplished by breathing abdominally at the rate of 1-4 breaths per second, with inhalations and exhalations equally emphasized and equally active.
Beginners are advised to practice Bhastrika at a slow breath rate, using 2-second inhalation and 2-seconds exhalation; (15 breaths per minute) with no force on inhalation and exhalation. With regular practice of this pranayama the abdominal muscles will become stronger, so the speed can be increased to 30 breaths per minute, using 1-second inhalation and 1-second exhalation.
Intermediate and advanced students may practice at medium breath rate (1-2 breaths per second) and at fast breath rate (3-4 breaths per second).
Note: Be aware of hyperventilating, and built your capacity slowly.
The Bellows breath activates and invigorates the liver, pancreas, spleen and abdominal muscles, thus toning the digestive system and improving digestion.
During Bhastrika there is an increase in the exchange of oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) into and out of the bloodstream. This action stimulates the metabolic rate, producing heat and flushing toxins and waste out of the body.
This breathing strengthens and balances the nervous system, bringing peace and tranquility to the mind in preparation for meditation.
The Bhastrika pranayama brings many benefits to a practitioner. However, in some health conditions this particular breathing exercise is not recommended.
Three important reasons (out of many) not to do Bhastrika:
1) Anyone suffering from High blood pressure should not practice this breathing.
2) Person with poor lungs capacity should not attempt Bellows breath.
3) If you are suffering from hernia avoid this pranayama.
Caution: Always check with your doctor if you have any doubts or concerns regarding the suitability of this posture for you. It is best to perform this yoga posture in presence of a qualified yoga teacher.
Issued in the interest of people practicing Hatha Yoga by Subodh Gupta, Yoga Expert based in London. Mr. Subodh Gupta, a Corporate Yoga Trainer has conducted more than 500 workshops on Yoga and Stress Management. He has been interviewed by various TV channels in India and London. For reaching to Subodh Gupta Yoga website http://www.subodhgupta.com/ and for Subodh Gupta Corporate yoga webpage http://www.subodhgupta.com/corporateyoga.html
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