Updated: May 2, 2021
For pre-workout or during an energy slump, use this bellows breath to activate your best self
One of my mentors and teachers, Deepak Chopra, has a famous saying that goes, “If you combine flexibility, balance, strength, and inner peace, you can surmount any obstacle.” In the yogic world, tapas is the discipline, simplicity, and inner fire. When your tapas burns brightly, your life is “a beacon of light radiating balance and peace to the world,” Deepak notes in The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga.
To perform at higher athletic levels, no matter your sport of choice, it helps to have an attitude of gentleness and finesse. Mindful movement is all about making smart choices to increase your strength and endurance while being mindful of any areas of injury or strain. Sometimes you need to break through the metaphorical cobwebs to ensure a good workout. If, at the beginning of a workout, you are feeling tired or not in the mood, there is a breathwork exercise known as Bhastrika that will energize and cleanse you.
Bhastrika means bellows breath and here are the steps to awaken your tapas for better performance:
Relax your shoulders
After a few deep breaths of slow, deep abdominal breathing, fully exhale
Begin forceful complete exhalations followed by forceful deep inhalations through your nose at the rate of one second per cycle
FYI that the entire breathing exercise should be from your diaphragm. Your upper body should be generally stable while your belly does the work. Bhastrika is optimal when performed for 1 to 2 minutes and you’ll be able to do three rounds of 30 breaths each. After the third round, just witness the sensations in your body. You’ll notice your energy starts to come back, leaving you with more energy to have a successful workout. If you ever feel woozy or have uncomfortable sensations while doing this breathwork, you can stop.
As you stay tuned in to the breath, drowsiness and lethargy should disappear. So know that this exercise can be used not just for pre-workout optimization, let it invigorate you instead of coffee or bad snacks during that midafternoon slump too. A set of Bhastrika breaths is your ally anytime you need to clear the clouds from your body or mind.
Learn more: Krystina Steffen is a Tampa meditation teacher and combines meditation, breathwork, and sound healing to help Inner Heights Meditation members with breakthroughs for their serenity, healing, creativity, and more. Connect with classes, workshops, and more at www.innerheightsmeditation.com.