Boost your energy AND Feel calm
Ever feel a bit tired and think, gee I wish I could take some drug to keep me going… like coffee…
But for whatever reason, haven’t had anything to hand? Well, this little breathing technique will boost your energy in minutes.
Breath of Fire
The Breath of Fire not only boosts your energy, it’s also a very cleansing and purifying breath as it activates your digestive system and begins to remove toxins from the body. It builds your lung capacity which means in day-to-day life, you begin to breathe more deeply and more slowly.
In action, the Breath of Fire uses short sharp breaths, where the inhalation and exhalation are the same lengths, and you pump your belly at your navel point (between your lower rib cage and your belly button), to activate the ‘fire in your belly’.
When done correctly, the muscles used for breathing move in time with the breath and you stay energised rather than become tired. There are also some physical effects which you’ll find at the bottom of this article.
According to ‘Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power’ by Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa, while there are a lot of inhalations and exahaltions the Breath of Fire is considered as one continuous breath and can actually help to calm the mind:
“When you do the Breath of Fire for even just one minute, the effect is as if you had taken only one breath during that whole minute! Breathing less than four times per minute puts you into a meditative state.”
So this is how it calms the mind. The less breaths you take per minute, the slower your heart rate, the calmer you feel.
Practicing the Breath of Fire
- Equalise the breath: Breath in and out to equalise the breath before starting the pranayam.
- The in-breath and out-breath are of an equal ratio (unlike Kapalbhati where the focus is on the exhalation).
- On each exhalation, draw your navel towards your spine, and when you inhale, release it.
- Breath of Fire is not hyperventilation, where the breathing is erratic. And the chest is not held suspended. Sometimes people reverse the breath, e.g. drawing the navel to the spine on the in-breath, and pushing the navel out on the out-breath. Which is the opposite to Breath of Fire.
- Start off slow, almost like how a steam train would sound as it slowly pulled away from the station, and then began to pick up the pace.
- If you start to feel you are running out of breath and you think you must stop, take a few long, deep and slow breaths through the nose until you’re ready to resume.
- Don’t pause your breath at all, Breath of Fire is a continuous breath.
- Do not practice if you are pregnant, had recent abdominal surgery or on the first three days of your menstrual cycle.
Watch the instructional video, or follow the instructions below underneath.
Instructions on how to do the Breath of Fire
- Start sitting nice and tall. Spine straight (but not rigid). Mouth closed.
- Relax your shoulders, relax your face.
- Take your focus to your breath and breathe deeply in and out through your nose.
- Take a deep in and out breath to equalise your breath.
- Breathe in to begin, then pump the belly breathing rapidly in and out the nose.
- Breath in and out is equal.
- You may find it useful to focus on the exhalation which is synchronised with pulling the navel in.
- It’s very similar to panting like a dog, so if you like, start by sticking your tongue out and pant like a dog. You’ll feel the pumping action of the navel and you’ll also feel the equal in-breath and out-breath through your mouth. Then close your mouth and do the same thing, with the breath in and out through the mouth.
- Start with 30 seconds per day and gradually increase by 10 seconds each time you practice, working up to 5 minutes.
What you may physically feel during and after practice
As mentioned, the Breath of Fire is a powerful breath. It will most certainly have some physical effects. Here are some which you may notice:
- You may feel light-headed. This is absolutely normal. This is because it is a cleansing and purifying breath. You’ll notice it more if you’ve got a lot of toxins in your bloodstream. This practice allows you to release those toxins to the surface, so at first you may feel a little weird, but after the practice these feelings will lift and you will feel the positive effect of the detox.
- You may also feel hot or cold through your nostrils.
- You’ll start feeling warm throughout the body, this is because it generates a lot of heat. Try it on a cold day!
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