What is Breath of Fire?
Kundalini yoga’s breath of fire is one of its essential breathing techniques. It has many beneficial effects. It is important to master the rhythm of the breath so that it becomes second nature. Proper back posture is critically important to perform breath of fire correctly.
- It is a rapid, rhythmic, and continuous breath. The exhale and inhale are at the same pace with no pausing of the breath.
- You breathe through your nose only. Keep your mouth closed.
- You should remain in a relaxed state of being… only focusing on the breath.
- It involves a powerful exhalation. Air blasts through your nostrils.
- The chest remains relaxed during the breathing cycle.
- Have some patience with this exercise. Do shorter durations until you are comfortable with Breath of Fire.
- Feeling light-headed or dizzy is common in the beginning. It is like building a muscle. It takes practice to adapt.
- Try 1 to 3 minutes at first. Five minutes a day will help you purify your blood.
- Drinking plenty of good water and eating a light diet will also help. (don’t do it on a full stomach)
What is Kundalini Yoga?
Yogi Bhajan introduced Kundalini Yoga to the United States in the late 60s. He founded the Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization (3HO) in 1969. Their mission is to help everyone everywhere to recognize their unlocked potential through the powerful effects of Kundalini Yoga practice. They are now found all over the globe.
Kundalini Yoga is known as the yoga of awareness. The kriyas and various yoga sets have a powerful effect on your physical and mental state of well-being. Continued devotion to the techniques will open up a special connection to the divine. You simply feel absolutely wonderful practicing these techniques originally taught by Yogi Bhajan.
Through Kundalini Yoga, you combine the mental, physical, and nervous energies of your body to enable you to reach higher realms of consciousness. Techniques of Kundalini yoga combine breath, mudras, mantras, mental and visual focus, body locks, and postures to balance your glandular system, expand your lung capacity, strengthen your nervous system and purify your blood.
A lot of the techniques consist of movements similar to calisthenics with a yogic twist. There are also the more familiar yoga postures like the cobra pose and the spinal twist. Many of the stretching exercises are familiar to everyone. Yoga has found its way into the modern athletic world. Martial arts have also utilized these warm-up exercises for centuries.
Some of the techniques seem quite bizarre… exotic… esoteric… which I enjoy. It makes you feel like you have gained access to some ancient hidden mysterious knowledge… yoga does go back for millennia. Breath of fire does seem somewhat off the wall, but practicing breath of fire daily has numerous benefits.
7 reasons to add Breath of Fire to your day
- 5 minutes of breath of fire a day allows for your blood to circulate faster. This will purify your blood by cleansing and releasing toxins that cling to your precious lungs, blood vessels, and cells.
- Breath of Fire (BOF) will connect you to a higher state of awareness. Your nervous system will strengthen and It will help dissolve bad internal feelings and induce a feeling of well-being.
- BOF behaves as a natural stimulate, It is way better for your system than caffeine and it also stimulates your whole system and energizes your brain activity
- Breath of Fire provides an excellent ab workout… it penetrates to your deepest abs (transverse abs dominis) You will feel sore at the beginning within minutes (if you have never worked those muscles before). It makes you feel like you are really working those abs.
- Since you are pumping more oxygen into your body, it is moving toxins out of the blood which allows for a faster recovery rate from physical activity and increases physical endurance. It also helps reduce lactic acid buildup which is known to cause muscle soreness.
- BOF helps curtail addictive cravings for horrible food, smoking, and drug abuse. It puts you into such a wonderful feeling of well-being (sorta like a natural high).
- Continued practice will expand your lung capacity. Mountain climbers have been known to practice breath of fire when the oxygen gets scarce at higher altitudes. BOF also generates heat and could save your life in a hypothermia situation. You feel extremely warm when doing BOF.
How to Begin a Breath of Fire Session
- Sit up straight and join your hands together in a prayer pose.
- Close your eyelids to an almost shut position and focus your eyes upward and towards your brow point.
- Begin Breath of Fire… 1 to 3 minutes.
- Inhale… hold for 10 seconds… relax a bit and focus on your natural flow of breath. Notice how you feel internally.
- Do it again for 3 minutes… inhale deeply and exhale.
- Repeat this combination 3 to 5 times.
Common mistakes in doing Breath of Fire
- Breathing backward A lot of people tend to breathe backward. What I mean by this, they pull the belly in while inhaling air. This restricts the amount of space available for your lungs. This is common for smokers. Just now, I pretended I was smoking and sure enough I sucked my gut inwards. Push your belly out while breathing in.
- Easy on the stomach pumps Do not exaggerate the pumping out of your belly. Breath of Fire comes from higher up near your solar plexus.
- Losing Focus You may veer away from keeping a balanced ratio of your exhales and inhales. Keep your breath equal for both.
Reasons not to do breath of fire
- if you’re pregnant
- heart condition
- respiratory infection
- spinal cord disorders
Give this a try. It won’t disappoint. There are many other breathing techniques taught in Kundalini Yoga which help tremendously in relaxation and altering brain wave patterns Kundalini Yoga, as a whole, has a profound effect on your psyche. It’s definitely worth exploring. You will find a wealth of information online and the teachings are spreading throughout the globe. There may well be someone teaching Kundalini Yoga in your city.
Happy, Healthy, Holy Organization (3HO). The original Kundalini Yoga group with a strong mission. https://www.3ho.org/
Brett Larkin… She has a nice blog with tons of free information and has a membership area on the blog for Kundalini Yoga training and a lot of recorded podcasts.
Spirit of Yoga also has online classes available at https://www.spiritrisingyoga.org/kundalini-info/breath-of-fire
I am not an affiliate with any of these sources. I purchased a Kundalini Yoga on DVD taught by Nirvair Singh Khalsa and learned how to do Breath of Fire from the course. I only see parts of the course on Amazon and have not been able to locate his whole course. There is a ton of information available from other sources,
Brian Scott Leist