The term bhastrika (pronounced “baa stree kaa”) refers to a forceful out-breath, like that of a blacksmith’s bellows, which is why it is often referred to as the ‘bellows breath’ …
Forms of Bastrika
There are nine classical forms of bastrika used in yoga. In each, the air is either moved rapidly in and out, or strictly out of the lungs, with the out-breath done in an explosive fashion.
Mukha is the Sanskrit word for ‘mouth’, and thus the mukha bhastrika is the forceful expulsion of air through the mouth. This practice is performed while sitting in vajra asana, the heel-sitting position.
Effects and Benefits
Mukha bastrika is also known as the ‘cleansing breath’. It helps to remove old, stagnant air from the lungs and cleanses the bloodstream of excess carbon dioxide, which is associated with mental fatigue, altered nerve sensations and physical weakness.
According to research at JIPMER Hospital in Pondicherry India, its practice also decreases response time and enhances memory and comprehension. Research also suggests that it is useful in combating learning disorders, A.D.D., and mental retardation.
This technique is a good ‘finishing practice’ for any deep-breathing pranayama, such as vibhagha pranayama or the pranava pranayama. It is also a good practice to ‘re-energize’ when one is feeling fatigued and tired …
Yoga is much more than a group of physical exercises.
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