Breath of Fire

Breath of Fire is a yogic breathing technique (Pranayam) and a cornerstone of Kundalini yoga and many other schools of yoga practices. It is an important yogic breathing technique (Pranayam) to learn, practice, and master. Breath of Fire can be a bit challenging at first, however, a few basic pointers will get you on your way to mastering Breath of Fire. Please read contraindications below before practicing breath of fire.

What is Breath of Fire?

Breath of Fire consists of short, powerful exhale generated from the navel point and passive inhale. Breath of Fire is a rapid, rhythmic, and continuous breath pattern. The inhale and the exhale are equal in duration, with no pause in between (approximately 2-3 cycles per second). Breath of Fire is not hyperventilating; if you feel dizzy, stop and begin again more slowly.

How to Do Breath of Fire

I prepared this short, informal video to teach my students how to do Breath of Fire. It is easier to watch as hear the explanation rather than just reading how to do it.

  • Sit with a straight spine and hands in Prayer Pose.
  • Close the eyes 9/10ths and roll your gaze towards your third eye point (between the eyebrows).
  • Start slowly; begin Breath of Fire for I-3 minutes.
  • Inhale and suspend your breath for up to 10 seconds.
  • Exhale and relax.
  • Keep your eyes closed for a minute or longer and feel the effects of Breath of Fire.

Why Do Breath of Fire?

Benefits of Breath of Fire:

  • Releases toxins and deposits from the lungs, mucous linings, blood vessels, and other cells.
  • Expands the lung capacity and increases vital strength.
  • Strengthens the nervous system to resist stress, anxiety, and stress-induced depression.
  • Repairs the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
  • Strengthens the navel chakra.
  • Increases physical endurance and prepares you to act effectively.
  • Adjusts the subtle psycho-electromagnetic field of the aura so that the blood becomes energized.
  • Reduces addictive impulses for drugs, smoking, and bad foods.
  • Increases oxygen delivery to the brain, facilitating a focused, intelligent, and neutral state of mind.
  • Boosts the immune system and may help prevent many diseases.
  • Promotes synchronization of the biorhythms of the body’s systems.

When Should You Do Breath of Fire?

Practice Breath of Fire on an empty stomach. This breath can be done as a stand-alone practice or as part of a complete yoga practice.

Contraindications: if you have high blood pressure or other medical conditions, please check with your health care provider before beginning Breath of Fire. Women, if you are pregnant or on your early menstrual cycle do not practice Breath of Fire.

Source: © 2003 The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan, KRI International Teacher Training Manual Level I

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Breath of Fire