Calm mind: good digestion

This is about a 48-year-old lady, an Associate Professor in the Delhi University, plagued with chronic rhino sinusitis with reflux. She has been suffering from chronic sleep disorder and anxiety due to her premenopausal changes.

The process of respiration has three components. Pooraka is inspiration of air, kumbhaka means retention and rechaka is expiration. It can be said that kumbhaka is pranayama and not pooraka and rechaka, which are natural processes.

Bhastrika means bellows. A bellows is a device for forcing air in a concentrated way usually to help a fire burn. Air is drawn into the bellows through a hole in the bottom and forced out through the nozzle eliminating the need for blowing a smouldering fire.

Bhastrika Pranayamais one of the most effective breathing techniques that can help you calm your mind, bring all your doshas (vata, kapha and pitta) into balance. The best feature of this breathing technique is that it helps oxygenate the entire body and relieves any congestion you might have in your nose, throat and sinuses.

This type of pranayma is also great for those who suffer from stomach-related disorders like indigestion, gas, acidity. Bhastrika is one of the most important pranayamas. Not much is known about this pranayama. However, many believe that it is a combination of Kapalbhati and Anulom Vilom pranayamas. It is a breathing technique where breathing is forcible and through the nose, with equal time for inhalation and exhalation.

Bhastrika Pranayama is aimed at keeping the inhalation cycle equal to exhalation yet making breath deeper and longer. Deep breath inwards and long exhalation outwards with equal time intervals constitutes this technique. The movement of the stomach (due to the rapid exhalation and inhalation of air) stimulates the walls of your intestine, helping it eliminate waste matter (also known as ‘ama’ in Ayurveda) and function optimally.

Best done early in the morning, this asana is perfect if you want to achieve a calm mind and good digestion. Bhastrika Pranayama is one of the most effective breathing techniques tha can help you calm your mind. It brings all your doshas into balance and activate your kundalini. The best feature of this breathing technique is that it helps oxygenate the entire body and relieves any congestion you might have in your nose, throat and sinuses.

The movement of the stomach (due to the rapid exhalation and inhalation of air) stimulates the walls of your intestine, helping it eliminate waste matter and function optimally. This asana is perfect if you want to achieve a calm mind and good digestion.

Some steps have to be followed to achieve perfection in this type of pranayama. Sit comfortably in sukhasana or padmasana. Now, inhale through your nose, making sure your back, neck and chest are straight and that you inhale as much as you can.

In this step you have to see that your stomach does not expand due to breathing in and your chest expands instead.

Hold your breath for a few seconds (preferably five counts), and then exhale forcefully, contracting your stomach.

Repeat this cycle by inhaling in and exhaling forcefully.

When you inhale your shoulders should be relaxed and not rise as you inhale. Breathe into your lungs and not your stomach.

You can keep a track of the expansion and contraction of your tummy. Avoid doing this asana if you suffer from high blood pressure.

This pranayama improved her chronic rhino sinusitis and reduced her reflux and remarkably controlled anxiety and peri-menopausal symptoms.