Bhastrika Pranayama: A Beginner’s Guide to the Breath of Vitality


Bhastrika Pranayama is one of the Most popular types of pranayamas (techniques of breathing) in yoga. While doing this breathing exercise we need to inhale as well as exhale forceful breaths. The word “bhastrika” comes from a sanskrit word which means bellows or pump. It refers to the movements of the diaphragm and lungs during the practice. It is also known as “bellows breath” because the lungs and diaphragm work like a bellow pump while inhaling and exhaling. This forceful and rapid inhalation and exhalation of Bhastrika increase supply of oxygen to the body.

This process improves respiratory function of the lungs, boosts energy levels as well as gives better mental clarity and focus. Apart from that, it stimulates the chakras (energy centres) as well as gives a balance to our body’s  energy . For practising this breathing technique, the person needs to sit in a comfortable position.

While performing this Bhastrika pranayama, the person can adjust the speed and duration according to his choice and comfort. A person can also perform this Bellow Breathing with other yoga practices such as asana (yoga poses) and meditation to create a well-rounded yoga practice and address the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects.

A Brief History: The ancient Indian texts such as Hatha Yoga Pradipika and the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali have a proper explanation of Bhastrika Pranayama. These texts have the mention of several techniques of pranayama, including Bhastrika. These techniques purify the body and mind to prepare them for a deep meditation.

According to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Bhastrika Pranayama is one of the six cleansing techniques. These cleansing techniques are also known as shatkarma. Shatkarma purifies the  toxins and impurities from the body as well as balances the energy flow throughout the body. Today, people widely use Bhastrika in different styles of yoga because it has proved to be a  powerful tool for the physical, mental as well as spiritual well-being.

Benefits of Bhastrika Pranayama

Bhastrika offers various benefits to our body that are mentioned as under:

  1. Immunity Booster: If a person continuously practises Bhastrika Pranayama, it works as a great immunity booster and protects the body against diseases.
  2. Healthy Respiratory Function: This pranayama keeps the respiratory function free from illnesses. Also, it increases the  lungs capacity to absorb a good amount of oxygen as well as cleans the nasal passage.
  3. Provides Proper Energy: Bhastrika increases the energy levels because it increases oxygen supply to the body as well as stimulates the nervous system to work properly.
  4. Enhanced Mental Clarity: This bellows breath also helps to develop mental clarity and focus, which further gives improved concentration as well as  productivity.
  5. Stress Buster: The rapid breathing as well as rhythmic movements of the diaphragm while a person does Bhastrika Breath, calm the mind and relieve stress and anxiety.

Steps And Techniques to Practise Bhastrika Pranayama

 Here are the steps  & techniques to perform Bhastrika Breath mentioned below:

  1. A person needs to sit comfortably in a Sukhasana (Easy Pose), Padmasana (Lotus Pose) or Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose). Keep the spine straight and shoulder in a relaxed position while the hands resting on the knees. Now close your eyes and start taking deep breaths to relax your body.
  2. Start inhaling deeply with both nostrils and fill the lungs fully with air.
  3. Exhale forcefully through both nostrils and contract the abdominal muscles for pushing the air out.
  4. Repeat step 2 and step 3 of inhaling and exhaling rapidly and forcefully. Keep the inhalations and exhalations equal in intensity and duration . While the person inhales, the abdomen expands and when he exhales, it contracts your abdomen. The person should perform 10-20 breaths in one round.
  5. For starting the practice, perform a few rounds of this breathing technique and then gradually increase the number of rounds as well as the duration of each round.
  6. After completing the practice session, sit quietly for a few moments to observe the effects of the practice on your body and mind.

Tips for Bhastrika Practice Effectively

  1. Morning Practice: A person should try to do Bhastrika Pranayama in the morning on an empty stomach, it works properly to energise the whole day.
  2. Well-Ventilated Space: Always do Bhastrika practice in a well-ventilated room or outdoor area for fresh air.
  3. Comfort: Wear comfortable clothes as it allows free movement of your abdomen area.
  4. Mindful Practice: A person needs to be properly focused on the breath throughout the practice session.
  5. Gradual Increase: Increase the duration as well as the intensity of the breathing gradually as the level of practice improves.


  1. If the person is suffering from high blood pressure, heart disease, any respiratory issues, do not perform Bhastrika.
  2. A pregnant lady needs to avoid this practice.
  3. If you feel dizzy or lightheaded, stop the practice of Bhastrika and do normal breathing.
  4. If you are new to Bhastrika Pranayama, you should perform it under the guidance of a qualified yoga instructor because he will ensure proper technique and safety.


Bhastrika Pranayama is a powerful and ancient technique of yogic breathing. People have been practising it for centuries. It purifies the body, balances the energy flow, and awakens spiritual energy. The practice involves rapid and forceful inhalations and exhalations to increase oxygen supply, improve respiratory functions well as stimulate the chakras.

It is important to practise Bhastrika Pranayama under the guidance of a qualified yoga instructor and to exercise caution, especially if you have any respiratory or heart conditions. If you practise this bellows breath regularly, you can get benefits for physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Vinyasa Yoga Ashram in Rishikesh provides different yoga programs including Bhastrika Pranayama. For more information, you can contact Bali Yoga Ashram.

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