BHASTRIKA PRANAYAMA

Technique

  1. Sit in Vajraasana or Padmaasana with spine erect.
  2. Relax the whole body and face with a smile.
  3. Inhale and exhale by expanding and compressing the chest vigorously like bellows. The speed of breathing should reach 120 strokes per minute when learnt fully. In the beginning it could be slower. But concentrate on full inhalations and exhalations.
  4. Stop after ten strokes. (The Gheranda Samhita prescribes 20 strokes in the cleansing part instead of 10 strokes described here.)
  5. The breath stops automatically. Let it remain suspended as long as possible. Do not exert. Enjoy the cessation of breath and thereby let the breath stop longer and longer.

There are two distinct parts in Bhastrika. The first ‘Kriya’ and second Pranayama, the cleansing and the slowing down parts. Hence, Bhastika is called a bridge between Kriya and Pranayama. Depending on the duration of stoppage of breath (Kumbhaka), Bhastrika acts as Kriya or normalizing of breath practice or Pranayama. Bhastrika can be called a Pranayama if the Kumbhaka duration is sufficiently long.

Benefits

  1. Great freshness and agility are experienced in Bhastirka. It is not only shattering of Tamas and stagnation but also reduction of overtone and hypersensitivities to increase the functional efficiency of the cells.
  2. This is a fine practice to remedy some of the dangerouseffects of Kumbhaka practice done wrongly.

Precautions

Bhastrika should be practiced with:

  1. Empty stomach
  2. Spine erect and body symmetrical, and by
  3. Normal healthy persons (hypertensiv’s or patients of IHD should perform under expert guidance only).