The Good and Bad of Bhastrika Pranayama

///The Good and Bad of Bhastrika Pranayama

The Good and Bad of Bhastrika Pranayama

yoga certificationBy Faye Martins 

Bhastrika Pranayama literally means “bellows breath”: exhaling quickly and forcefully, making a sound like air expelling from a bellows. Performing Bhastrika Pranayama regularly can provide health benefits, but how is it done and are there any contraindications?

“Bellows breathing” is performed in a relaxed sitting position, like Padmasana or Crossed Leg position. Inhale fully, inflating the chest, rather than the abdomen. When the lungs are completely fully, exhale forcefully. The air should make a hissing sound as it escapes. The breathing should be repeated five to ten times, as forcefully and quickly as possible; stop if you start to feel dizzy or faint. When you have finished one “round” of breathing, take a deep inhalation and hold the breath in as long as possible. Exhale when needed and then take several normal breaths; begin another set when you feel comfortable. Five minutes a day is the recommended time period for Bhastrika Pranayama.

When performed correctly, this breathing exercise helps provide the body with maximum oxygen, which makes the skin glow. Other benefits include reducing toxins in the body, increasing warmth in the body and strengthening the immune system, and reducing respiratory tract ailments. Blood purification and weight loss are also benefits of “bellows breathing.” It is said that this is the secret to ageless skin and beauty!

Although there are many advantages to Bhastrika Pranayama, it is not for everyone. Practitioners with high blood pressure or cardiac problems should avoid this exercise. If the temperature is high, such as during the summer or in an overheated room, this kind of breathing should be limited to two minutes, rather than five. Continuing to breath deeply and forcefully when you feel faint may lead to hyperventilation, so it is important to stop immediately if dizziness occurs.

Hyperventilation decreases the carbon dioxide level in the blood and reduces blood flow to the brain, resulting in confusion and agitation. Calcium levels in the blood are also affected, leading to numbness and muscle twitching. In very rare cases, the blood vessel supplying the heart can spasm; if heart disease is already present, this could trigger a heart attack, which is why Bhastrika Pranayama must be avoided in those with the condition.

As with other asanas and practices in Yoga, it is important to remember that these are powerful tools, to be regarded respectfully. Take seriously any negative signs from your body or your students.

© Copyright 2011 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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7 responses to “The Good and Bad of Bhastrika Pranayama”

  1. K.V.RAO says:

    Om Namaha

    There is nothing like bad effects of doing Bhastrika Pranayama. One has to take certain precautions and do the practice viz. Timing more particularly during Summer it should be performed before Sun Rise and during winter and Rainy season it can be performed according to their convenience. Please take 50 Ml of water and then start doing the practice so that it will yield good results. Bhastrika should be practiced following 4 steps. Certainly by doing Bhastrika one will have rejuvenation to their cells and thereby they will get Oxygenated adequately. Therefore one need have any fear of doing Bhastrika provided you take the above precautions.



  2. Kalaiselvan says:

    Bastrika is the one which gives me more confidence in my daily routine works especially when I am fatigued or over worked. I continue to do bastrika every day but this article which had made me known about the other side i.e., after effects if over done, has given me an opportunity for becoming aware of the over exertion due to excess practice of this pranayama, thanks every one for this – Kalai

  3. Aaron Gray says:

    Pranayama Yoga is one of the pillars of yoga that focuses on breathing and controlling breathing. Prana literally means breath, which is the vital life energy (as per yogatic principles).

  4. Tonya says:

    I did this, its helps to lead stress free life, improving my resistance power. And it will help us to keep diseases away. Nice article!!

  5. Masud Parvez says:

    Practitioners with high blood pressure or cardiac problems should avoid this exercise. Thanks for posting this useful article.

  6. Marry Wilson says:

    Performing Bhastrika Pranayama regularly can provide great health benefits, but its must should be practiced correctly. Nice sharing!

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