The Stimulating Breath

Did You Know… that the stimulating breath (bellows breath) can boost energy and improve overall wellness?

Reaching for that second cup of coffee?  Stop!  We’ve got a healthier way to energize and boost your productivity… all you have to do is fire up that breathing and you’re on your way to a lowered heart rate, reduced blood pressure, and an upswing in alertness to get you through your energy slump.

The Stimulating Breath 

The stimulating breath, otherwise known as bellows breath, is a yoga breathing technique that uses rapid inhales and exhales through the nose to generate heat within the body and raise energy levels.  The yoga discipline views breath as the key to activating prana, the life force that helps balance body and mind, conscious and unconscious thought, and the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.  When you stimulate your nervous system with breath, you impact your body’s response to blood pressure, heart rate, circulation, digestion…virtually every bodily process is affected!

Studies have shown that a consistent breathing practice like the stimulating breath can help alleviate anxiety, depression, panic attacks, as well as health issues such as digestive disorders caused by these stress-related conditions.  An Indian study made up of 50 beginners found that 3 months of 3 daily sessions of bellows breath slowed heart rates by as much as 13 beats per minute and lowered systolic blood pressure by 4 points.

How to Practice

  1. Assume a comfortable, upright position, keeping your spine straight and your shoulders relaxed.
  2. With your mouth gently closed, inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose. Aim to cycle through 2-3 breaths per second. Really push through your exhales.
  3. Start with a round of 10 rapid breaths. Allow yourself to recover and check in with the sensations running through your body.
  4. After a rest of 30 seconds, conduct another round of the stimulating breath for approximately 10-15 seconds. No more than a minute is advised.

If you are new to bellows breath, take it slow. You may get lightheaded, and so should increase in safe increments of 5 breaths. Once you’ve built up your stamina, practice the following complete bellows breath session: 10 breaths, rest for 15-30 seconds, 20 breaths, rest for 30 seconds, 30 breaths, rest…and you’re done.

A few rounds of the stimulating breath each day will help rev up your digestive system and metabolism and stimulate weight loss!

Warning: Do not engage in the stimulating breath if you are pregnant, have unmanaged hypertension, epilepsy, seizures, or panic disorder. It’s best to perform bellows breath on an empty stomach, so wait at least 2 hours after eating before practicing.