Preparing our body and mind for yoga is extremely important. The first step in doing so is practicing certain breathing exercises. Agni Pran or The Breath of Fire is an important technique in preparing the body for yoga.
Posture for Breath of Fire:
Sit comfortably with your spine erect in any easy pose or in a comfortable chair. Condition your lungs by having long deep breaths. Close your eyes but not completely focus on the third eye (the portion in the forehead where both the eye brows meet). Relax your abdominal muscles.
The exercise is pretty simple, start to breathe rapidly through the nose with giving equal effort to both inhalation and exhalation. The breath should be shallow, fast and rhythmic. Pull the navel point (just below the belly button) and the solar plexus up and in towards the diaphragm. Only this motion should force out the air from the lungs (and not chest muscles). The inhalation happens by relaxing the navel point and allowing the diaphragm to come down thereby letting the lungs take in air without any effort of the chest muscles. allowing the diaphragm to descend and the lungs to passively inhale
Don’t focus on any particular muscles, instead just observe the action of abdominal muscles, once you get going it will pulsate in a particular rhythm. Continue this for 1 minute. You can gradually increase the time (you can do up to 31 minutes)
Inhale and hold the air for 10 seconds, then slowly release the breath. Breath normally for a few minutes.
- Start of slowly, as slow as 1 breath per second. As you get a grasp of it you can increase it up to 3 breaths per second.
- It is important to make sure the muscles involved are the solar plexus and navel point, and not a random pumping of the abdomen.
- Menstruating and Pregnant women should not practice this.
- If you feel lightheaded or dizzy, stop the exercise and take a few long and deep breaths. You can start again once you feel normal.[/checklist]
Benefits of Breath of Fire Kundalini Yoga Pranayama:[starlist]
- Practicing this pranayama for 5 minutes a day can strengthen the lungs, detoxify the body and improves vitality.
- Increases the lung capacity.
- Burns up a lot of calories and improves energy levels.
- Improves internal harmony and overall health.
- Strengthens the Nervous System.
- If done correctly, then the internal abdominal organs and glands are gently massage thus improving digestion and liver health.[/starlist]