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Bhastrika Pranayama ("Bellows Breath")

This breathing technique is slightly more intense as you will need to perform a series of active inhalations and exhalations. It is usually done on an empty stomach, at the start of the day as it gives you an energizing effect. You might have heard that most yoga instructors will advise women going through pregnancy or menstruation to avoid this practice as force is applied to some extent onto the abdominal area during breathing.

Here is the set of instructions:

  1. Begin with an easy seated posture and rest your palms on your knees - Sukhasana ("Easy Pose")

  2. Gently close your eyes and take a moment to focus on your breathing

  3. (Inhale) Take a deep inhale through your nose

  4. (Exhale) Let air escape fully through your nose

  5. Continue deep and long inhalations/exhalations for 3 breaths

  6. Close your palms and make a fist, take your arms and hold them by the side, such that your fists are on the same level as your shoulders.

  7. (Inhale) On a deep inhale, contract your diaphragm muscles, raise your arms straight up and open your fists. Notice your chest expands

  8. (Exhale) On a forceful exhale, relax your diaphragm muscles, bring your arms down and close your fists. Notice your chest relax

  9. Repeat Step 6 and 7 at a faster pace for about 8-10 rounds

  10. Rest and relax your palms on your knees

  11. Gently take normal breaths before you end your practice

 

It takes a while for your breath to coordinate with the movement of your chest and arms, give yourself enough time to practice this technique. If you feel dizzy, take a break before attempting again. The movement of your arms up and down can help you with the coordination of your breaths as well as to focus on chest inhalations and exhalations.

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