How to Get your Fire Going
Thousands of years ago, shamans, mystics, yogis and daoists all over the world discovered the healing powers of breath. The breath is the bridge between mind and body, between physical and metaphysical, between conscious and unconscious. Most of the time we breathe unconsciously, we don’t need to be conscious to breathe. However, we can control our breath with our conscious ness and create immediate physical and mental effects.
Breath of Fire is a great breathing exercise that stimulates your naval point and solar plexus to build natural strong energy throughout your body. By generating heat and activating your energy flow it increases your level of energy. This breath is one of the foundational breathing techniques in Kundalini Yoga. It is a rapid breathing, rhythmic and continuous. It quickly oxygenates your blood and helps your body to detoxify. It also charges your aura and gives you greater protection. By synchronizing your entire system, it supports inner harmony and health.
The principles of breath of fire – how is it done
The breath is powered from the naval point and solar plexus. The inhales and exhales are equal in length, with no pause between them. You practice this breath through your nostrils with the mouth closed.
On the exhale the air is expelled through your nose, by pushing the navel point and solar plexus back and up toward the spine. You also pull in and up the upper abdominal muscles. It’s by contracting the diaphragm rapidly.
The inhale comes easy and natural by relaxing the upper abdominal muscles and extending down the diaphragm. The ribs expand and the breath seems to flow in naturally and effortless.
What posture do I take
You can either do this standing or sitting on a chair in an upright position. What I recommend though, is sitting on the floor in a meditation pose, with your hands on the knees, fingers pointing towards the floor.
Close your eyelids and roll your eyes up and focus on the point between your eyebrows (your third eye).
How long shall I do this
Follow your body and what feels comfortable for you. In the beginning cycles will be shorter. You can extend them over time. Start with a duration of 1-3 minutes and work your way up. The duration might also change day by day.
What to be mindful of
When done in the right way, the chest stays relaxed throughout the exercise. Your face, lips, throat, shoulders, hands and feet remain relaxed.
Some experience an inital dizziness – if this happens, take a break. If you experience lightheadedness or some tingling sensations, that’s completely normal as your body adjusts to this new type of breath. These symptoms can also be the result of toxins released by this technique.
Please be aware that if done correctly, this breath is neither hyperventilation nor Bellow Breath.
Common mistakes when practicing breath of fire
- If the length of the inhalation and exhalation are not balanced. Be sure that both are exactly equal in duration and create a steady rhythm.
- If it is done by pumping the stomach. Breath of fire comes from higher up, near the solar plexus.
- Don’t pull the belly in on the inhale. Place one hand on your chest and the other hand on your belly start slowly and with total awareness, making sure on the inhale the belly extends.
When you shouldn’t do the breath of fire
- While pregnant
- Stop the exercise whenever you start feeling dizzy
- Be careful with this type of breath if you have certain health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, seizure, hypertension, gastric issues such as ulcers.
Possible benefits of breath of fire
- Increased oxygen supply to the brain
- Facilitating a focused and neutral state of mind
- Boosts the immune system
- Synchronization of the biorhythms of the body’s systems
- Reduction of addictive impulses
- Strengthens the naval chakra and solar plexus
- Repair of the balance between the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system
- Increased lung capacity and helps purify the respiratory system
- Release of toxins
- Regulates the pituitary and entire gland system