The breath of fire is a breathing technique or pranayama. It is a rhythmic and continuous breath through your nostrils with a balance on inhales and exhales.
As a Yoga Instructor, I like to incorporate breathing exercises in my yoga classes for everyone of all ages and all levels to benefit. I cannot express how much power the “Breath of Fire” (BOF) can have on your whole body. The benefits are amazing and it’s very easy to learn the technique with a little practice. You will see more strength in your abdominals with BOF than hours at the gym! Healthy abdominal muscles are strong not hard.
Practice this Technique Daily starting with 3 minutes and build up to 15 minutes a day.
Breath of fire is basically a balance of the inhale and exhale, in rapid succession. It doesn’t have to be done fast that can come later. Just keep the breath even lengths with no breaks between the inhales and exhale. This will create a very unique breath that is considered one long breath but will appear as many rapid breaths.
The life force within the breath, also called “Prana” flows into the body through the lungs and transfers through the body at the navel. Within our bodies is an opposite, polarizing force called Apana. Apana is energy in the body and prana is an activating energy we bring into the body with the breath. When these two mix at the solar plexus (navel), Kundalini energy is sparked and charged. This combination creates an energy flow. Breath of fire, fires up this energy flow and the benefits are countless. The solar plexus, the third chakra, contains a lot of naturally stored energy and is considered the “center of will power.”
Breath of Fire has been known to help many with anxiety issues. Many people have learned to control “Anxiety” through the breath. At the core of most anxiety attacks, is the breath or lack of it. When you are anxious, the natural breath is restrained. “And when you don’t get enough oxygen, the brain receives a ‘danger’ signal, which perpetuates your mind-body state of anxiety,” explains Jonathan Davidson, M.D., director of the Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Program at Duke University Medical Center. “Your breathing quickens and becomes even more shallow; in an extreme case this can lead to a full-blown panic attack, in which the person begins to hyperventilate.” Practicing the Breath will of Fire is an amazing tool that fights against anxiety, nerves, fears, pain, and depression.
‘They say that about five hundred diseases do not come near that person who moves the belly button. The navel controls the vayus, the praanic airs which circulate through your body.’ –Yogi Bhajan
Benefits of Breath of Fire:
- It also takes an average of 3 minutes for the liver to filter and cleanse the blood
- Just 5 to 15 minutes every day to keep the blood purified (gradually work up to 15 minutes)
- Pituitary regulates the entire glandular system – 31 minutes of Breath of Fire everyday will regulate the pituitary. The glandular system will change the nervous system
- Burns away disease and karma
- Oxygenates your blood helps the body to detoxify and remove waste more efficiently
- Builds and expands lung capacity as it helps purify the respiratory system
- Generates heat and increases your level of energy
- Promotes greater harmony and health as it synchronizes your entire system
- Balances and strengthens the Nervous System.
- Increases mental and physical endurance
- Can help reduce Cortisol levels
- Changes the brain waves creating a global alpha rhythm when practiced properly
- Improves the digestive system as the forceful breath pulsates the diaphragm massaging the internal organs
- Assists in the overcoming of addictions by cleansing the toxic effects of smoking, drugs, sugar, alcohol and caffeine
- Releases deeply rooted toxins in the lungs, mucous membranes, blood vessels and cells
- Strengthens the navel point, the core will center. This strengthens mental constancy and the ability to focus and follow through on your promises
- It strengthens the magnetic field of the body, also known as the circumvent force, or physical aura
There is a Youtube video that will give you a nice visual of how to do the BOF:
Technique of Breath of Fire:
Sit in nice easy cross legged sitting position. Gently closed your eyes and focus up and in at the brow which is the Third eye point. Lengthen the spine up nice and tall, lift the chest and tuck the chin down and back to keep the neck straight. Find a nice balance and relax completely. Start your inhales and exhales – the navel will start to flex in and out like a pumping motion. The even inhale and exhale is a matter of creating balance.
Inhale deep and hold. Make sure your diaphragm is relaxed. The body to expand the energy focusing on bringing the energy to the third eye point. Exhale, relax. I suggest practicing in intervals perhaps 3 minutes of Breath of Fire, 2 minutes rest, another 3 minutes BOF, etc.
Helpful Tips for Breath of Fire:
Use a mantra such as “Sat Nam” as you practice. Mentally say “Sat” as you inhale and “Nam” as you exhale. Sat Nam basically means, “Truth is my identity, “or “I agree to the truth within.” This focuses the mind from drifting thoughts but also seeds the sub-conscious mind with the soul’s vibration of truth so that throughout your day, the back of your mind is actually working on the higher part of yourself.
Relax every part of the body except the navel. People tend to hold tension in different places in the body especially beginners.
Cautions for Practicing BOF:
The navel point is pulled in on the exhalation. Avoid “reversed” breathing -some people develop the habit of pulling in their stomachs on the inhalation. Check your breathing to make sure that your BOF is not reversed, lie on your back with your hand just below your belly button. As you exhale, be sure that your belly moves inward (your hand should move toward the floor).
If you feel dizzy at any point, stop and substitute normal breathing
If you suffer from vertigo, use caution in practicing this exercise
If you are menstruating you should not practice BOF
Practice with caution if you have high blood pressure, heart disease or suffer from stroke or epilepsy
This post is dedicated to a dear friend!
Photo compliments of Relaxing Music at Flickr.com