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Bhastrika pranayama can encourage mindful eating, but will not directly result in weight loss.
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Bhastrika pranayama is a type of yoga breathing that involves rapid inhalations and exhalations to create a feeling of warmth in the body. Although yogis metaphorically associate bhastrika pranayama with burning, heat, determination and purification, scientific research hasn't yet proven that practicing bhastrika pranayama leads to weight loss. It does have other benefits, though, and it's true that some types of yoga practices can lead to weight loss by burning calories and encouraging mindful eating.
Bellows Breath Background
Bhastrika pranayama is the Sanskrit term for вЂњbellows breath,вЂќ according to The Chopra Center. To perform bhastrika pranayama, sit up straight and relax your shoulders and abdomen. Exhale through your nostrils forcefully and rapidly, concentrating on exhalations so that inhalations remain natural but shallow. Try to keep your head, neck, shoulders and chest still, so that your diaphragm does most of the work. Complete ten rounds of bhastrika breaths, and then take a break. Wait 15 to 30 seconds and then complete 20 rounds of bhastrika breaths. Wait 30 seconds, and then complete 30 rounds of bhastrika breaths.
Claims Associated with Bhastrika
Yogis believe that bhastrika pranayama helps clear your mind and body as part of a purification process, according to The Chopra Center. Advocates state that the bellows breath improves your digestive system function and boosts your metabolism, thereby resulting in weight loss. Some people believe that bhastrika pranayama helps break down fats in the body, according to website Yoga in Daily Life. However, scientific research does not yet validate these claims. Additionally, rapid, forceful breathing can make you feel lightheaded. Though bhastrika pranayama isn't necessarily dangerous, discontinue your rounds of bellows breath if you begin to feel ill.
It's Not Just the Weight
Although bhastrika pranayama hasn't been proven to help people lose weight, it's possible that yogic breathing techniques can help improve respiration and cardiovascular function. University of SГЈo Paulo Medical School Sleep Laboratory research involving 76 elderly people revealed that those who practiced yoga breathing for four months showed improvements compared to a control group that did not practice yoga breathing. Individuals who engaged in yogic breathing showed improved respiration patterns and more balanced heart rhythms. This study was published in BMJ Open in 2011.
Don't Worry, Keep Breathing
Although there may not be direct correlations between bhastrika pranayama and weight loss, deep breathing and a more relaxed mind-state can contribute to improved physical health. Focused breathing encourages mindfulness; if you're paying attention to your body's needs and signals, you might be less inclined to overeat and more inclined to make healthy decisions, for example. Feeling stressed and anxious can interfere with your body's normal processes, making it harder to stay healthy.
Considerations in Usage
Bhastrika pranayama might not be appropriate for all individuals. For example, people who are pregnant, have panic disorder, or experience epilepsy or seizures should not practice bhastrika, according to The Chopra Center. Also avoid bhastrika if you have uncontrolled hypertension or if you've eaten less than two hours prior.