Bhastrika (Bellows)


Exhale - belly in Inhale - belly out




Classical Version

In this breathing, the stomach area commands the breathing movement. During the exhalation, the stomach goes inwards to push the air out. During the inhalation, the stomach is pushed out in purpose to bring the air in. The movement must be of equal amplitude and equal length in both phases.

A mild and constant Mula Bandha is applied. A mild throat contraction is established so that a friction with the air occurs, and to amplify the noise of the breathing inside. The eyes are closed and remain motionless in Maddya Drishti.

The visualization includes the spine from root to top, with a red spot below and a white one above. The vision follows the motion of the breathing, ascending during the inhalation from root to top (red spot to white spot), passing in the front; and descending from top to root (white spot to red spot) during exhalation, passing behind. Still without moving the eyes, the visualization generates a feeling of friction of the prana with the spine: anterior ascending and posterior descending.

In the classical version, breathing occurs only through the nostrils. In addition, the "SO" bija is enunciated during inhalation and the "HAM" bija during exhalation. This silent recitation, associated with the mental visualization of the prana pathway, and associated with the feeling of friction, leads to a genuine identification of prana: “I am prana” is the meaning of this practice.

Finally, one must end the practice with a full and complete inhalation followed by a long full-lung retention (32, 48 or more units). During the retention, the right hand closes the nostrils. The focus is on experiencing the energy diffusing throughout the body. This is followed by a slow exhalation and a return of the hands on the knees. The breathing is naturally brought to normal and the effects of the practice are observed.



The bhastrika is established by alternation of normal sequences with air and sequences without air, while continuing the stomach motions and the visualizations. When going from a sequence with air to one without air, one must end the breathing (i.e. an inhalation) and cease the exchange of air by staying in retention. During that retention, the diaphragmatic motion is induced, along with the visualization of the prana motion, the mantra and the visualization of the points. Inversely, when the sequence with air starts again, the breathing starts where it was left before inserting the retention (i.e. exhalation in this case).

Example (eyes closed, mantra SO - HAM)

  • 3 times 60 seconds with air - 60 seconds without air.
  • 2 times 30 seconds with air - 60 seconds without air.
  • 2 times 15 seconds with air - 60 seconds without air.
  • 2 times 5 seconds with air - 60 seconds without air.

In this alternation, the retention time remains constant and progressively becomes the main time.