Bhastrika Breathing to Increase Metabolism
We breathe constantly, it’s what we do. We cannot make ourselves stop breathing, except to only hold our breath for a few minutes, thankfully. However, what we can control is how we breathe. This control of how oxygen enters and exits the body has been linked to the improvement of bodily function and our nervous system, which includes stimulating our metabolism.
This art or belief that controlling the breath improves our overall health is the core of Pranayama practice. With just a simple breathing technique, we can learn to calm ourselves and prevent illness. We can also use breathing to increase our metabolism, which in turn aids in shedding off those extra pounds.
Talk about the easiest workout ever.
There’s a specific type of breathing technique that aids in this weight loss, it’s called “Bellows Breath” (as in bellowing the flames of a fire) or Bhastrika breathing.
Bhastrika breathing is invigorating, almost as much as caffeine is. You can use this breathing as a method to cure any daily fatigue, which is why it’s not recommended to do before bedtime (we all want our sleep).
Clearing your mind and body, Bhastrika breathing increases your metabolic rate which helps your digestive system burn calories faster. Along with burning fat at a faster pace, this type of breathing also aids in the detoxification process of your body by generating internal body heat, which opens up all energy paths. When Bhastrika breathing is practiced with force, your internal organs are massaged by the pulsating of your diaphragm, enhancing your digestive system.
Sitting is best when practicing this breathing. For the best results, practice this type of breathing a few times a day to keep your metabolism functioning at a fast pace. I would say before each meal is best.
Follow these steps for practicing Bhastrika Breathing:
Sit & Lengthen The Spine
Aligning your spine with the back of your head. In a seated position, sit up tall and elongate the neck by slightly tucking in your chin and pushing your neck back. Press your shoulder blades together as well, but not too much, just in a relaxed position.
Equal Inhales & Exhales
Starting to take deep lung-filling breaths through your nose, as forceful as you wish to ramp up that metabolism, inhale and exhale with the same emphasis. Allow your entire diaphragm to fill with air (stomach, lungs & chest).
Create a Powerful Rhythm
Each inhale and exhale should move into a 1 second pace, making each lung-filling breath strong and powerful. Continue this fast-paced deep breathing for 10 seconds, ending your rhythm on an inhale. Hold that inhale for 5 seconds and then release. Relax now.
Repeat & Increase
You want to do 10 seconds of rapid breathing for at least 5 rounds, taking the held inhale after each round and a break in between. Once you established that you can do this with ease, the goal is to get to around 50 repetitions per round.
Make each breath powerful. That’s how you fire up your fat burning skills!