This Breathing Technique Can Give You An Energy Boost — Here’s How
What if we told you that you could boost your energy levels and improve your digestion without taking any pills or coffee? We’re not talking about exercise, we’re talking about a specific type of breathing pattern that yogis refer to as Bhastrika, or Bellows Breath. This breathing technique typically used in Kundalini Yoga involves forceful (often rapid) breathing in and out of the nose powered by the movement of the diaphragm. But you don’t need to be in a yoga class to benefit from this breathing technique, you can practice it right at home or even in your office. Here’s all you need to know about Bellows Breath and how to do it.
Bellows Breath And Your Health
If done correctly, this breathing technique can aid digestion by encouraging circulation and blood flow in the liver, spleen and stomach. Although you shouldn’t practice Bellows Breath on a full stomach, performing a few rounds throughout the day could help increase your digestive power and boost your metabolism. What’s more, a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that practicing this breathing technique at a slow pace (by inhaling to maximum for a count of four, then exhaling to maximum for a count of six) significantly decreased participants’ blood pressure and slightly decreased their heart rate.
Bellows Breath can also help you increase your energy levels if it’s done more rapidly. This happens because the vagus nerve in the brain — a cranial nerve that plays an important role in our sympathetic nervous system — goes directly to the diaphragm. The engagement of the diaphragm that happens during rapid breathing in Bellows Breath excites the sympathetic nervous system, the nervous system in our bodies that’s responsible for activating the “fight or flight” response. As a result, this breathing technique can boost your energy levels and make you feel more alert.
Here’s How To Do It
As we mentioned earlier, you don’t need to be in a yoga class to try Bellows Breath. Just find a quiet place where you can sit comfortably without distractions for a couple of minutes. Sit tall in a comfortable cross-legged position with a straight spine, closing your eyes and mouth. Take quick breaths, breathing in and out of the nose. These breaths should be shallow, mid-chest breaths, not deep belly breaths. When you do them it should almost sound like you’re panting. Since Bellows Breath is driven by the diaphragm, you should draw your belly button in towards your spine with each exhale and then release it on each inhale. You can use your hands as a guide by placing them on your stomach. Beginners should start by doing one inhale and exhale per second and do 10 rounds in a row. You can then work your way up to doing two inhale-exhale cycles per second for a total of one minute.
This breathing technique has many benefits, but it can feel a little overwhelming at first. If you start to feel light-heading during Bellows Breath, take a break for a few minutes and breath naturally before continuing. You should also avoid practicing it if you’re pregnant, have a history of migraines, seizures, panic attacks or any heart complications. Aim to wait for at least two hours after eating before practicing Bellows Breath to avoid getting nauseous. Since the breathing technique is meant to give you an energy boost, you should avoid doing it before bedtime.
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