When you need a quick turn-around of your mindset or mood, yoga offers some amazing tools. Bhastrika, or “bellows” breath is one of my favorites to raise my energy level and boost my confidence, courage and determination.

Bhastrika is an easy-to-learn yet powerful breathing practice.

As the name “bellows” suggests, you actively draw air into the belly like opening a bellows then forcefully exhale it out from the belly as if you’re squeezing the bellows shut. The chest, shoulders and body remain still.

The practice works by raising digestive and energetic heat in the body. Because the diaphragm is pumping, the energy center at your solar plexus – manipura chakra – is stimulated. Manipura chakra is related to strength, willpower, dynamism, and your inner fire.

Because Bhastrika is so energizing, I suggest practicing early in the day. You can choose your own pace, increasing your speed as your strength and stamina improve. Try starting with 3 rounds of 11 breaths with a full breath in and out between rounds. It’s a dynamic practice, so make sure to stay relaxed and go at a comfortable pace for you.

Although you can use Bhastrika whenever you need it, a consistent practice will have the best results and increase your determination, personal boundaries and willpower overall.

Check out the video below for more details about the practice.

As a reminder, I’m not a medical professional. Please consult your doctor before trying any practice, especially if you use medications or have health concerns. Bhastrika should not be practiced if you have uncontrolled high blood pressure, heart disease, hernia, epilepsy, retinal problems, glaucoma, vertigo, gastric ulcer, or history of stroke. Please seek out a qualified teacher to discuss your specific circumstances if you have asthma, chronic lung conditions, or are pregnant or elderly.