You are here

Breath of Fire

The quantity, quality, and circulation of the breath creates the foundation of a vital and creative life. It is a barometer of how much energy we normally run on, and how much reserve capacity we have created for emergencies.

The breath is both gross and subtle. The gross aspect is the blend of oxygen, nitrogen, and other elements that constitute air. The subtle aspect is the prana or vital force that energizes the mind, body, and consciousness.

Most people do not breathe correctly. Breath signatures that create shallow, erratic, upper-chest breathing are common. The lack of relaxation and well-being on a personal as well as collective level, along with other factors, inhibits proper breathing.

Yet, of all the positive changes a person can make, learning to breathe deeply and completely is probably the most effective for developing higher consciousness, and for increasing health, vitality, and connectedness in one's life.

Breath of Fire is one of the primary breath techniques used in the practice of Kundalini Yoga. It accompanies many postures, and has numerous beneficial effects. Mastery of this breath will give you great command of your Self and mastery over the Lower Triangle of Chakras. It purifies the blood, expands the lung capacity, and strengthens the nervous system to deal with stress.

Some people find it easy to do Breath of Fire for a full 10 minutes right away. Others find that the breath creates an initial dizziness or giddiness. If this happens, take a break. Some tingling, traveling sensations, and lightheadedness are completely normal as your body adjusts to the new breath and new stimulation of the nerves.

Concentrating at the Brow Point may help relieve these sensations. Sometimes these symptoms are the result of toxins and other chemicals released by the breath technique. The symptoms may be relieved by drinking lots of water and changing to a light diet.

Breath of Fire while pregnant is not advised. Refrain from practicing Breath of Fire during the first or second days of your menstruation, depending on the intensity of the flow. In general, women are advised to increase their awareness of their bodies during menstruation and adapt the level of exercise accordingly. A light Breath of Fire is permissible during the rest of the menstrual cycle.

Instructions:

Breath of Fire is rapid, rhythmic, and continuous. The inhale and the
exhale are equal, with no pause between them. (Approximately 2-3 cycles per second.)

It is always practiced through the nostrils with mouth closed, unless stated otherwise.

Breath of Fire is powered from the Navel Point and solar plexus. To exhale, the air is
expelled through the nose, by pressing the Navel Point and solar plexus back toward
the spine. This feels automatic if you contract the diaphragm rapidly.

The inhale comes in as part of relaxation rather than through effort; the upper
abdominal muscles relax, the diaphragm extends down, and the breath naturally
comes in to fill the vacuum created by the exhale.

The chest stays relaxed and slightly lifted throughout the breathing cycle.

When done correctly, there should be no rigidity in the hands, feet, face, or abdomen.

Begin practicing for 1-3 minutes. Gradually increase to 31 minutes, or apply as needed to appropriate kriyas.

© The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan