The Stimulating Breath

The Stimulating Breath (also called Bellows Breathing, or Bhastrika) is a traditional yoga breathing technique used to energize the body, increase alertness and clarify the mind. It has also been used by many looking to lose weight by increasing digestive power and boosting metabolism.

Here are the directions for The Stimulating Breath/Bellows Breathing:

  • Inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose, keeping your mouth closed but relaxed. Your breaths in and out should be equal in duration, but as short as possible. This is a noisy breathing exercise.
  • Try for three in-and-out breath cycles per second. This produces a quick movement of the diaphragm, suggesting a bellows. Breathe normally after each cycle.
  • Do not do for more than 15 seconds on your first try. Each time you practice the Stimulating Breath, you can increase your time by five seconds or so, until you reach a full minute.


Tip: Need a visual? Here is a link to Dr. Weil demonstrating Bellows Breathing:
Dr. Andrew Weil Bellows Breathing

If done properly, you may feel invigorated, comparable to the heightened awareness you feel after a good workout. You should feel the effort at the back of the neck, the diaphragm, the chest and the abdomen. Try this diaphragmatic breathing exercise the next time you need an energy boost and feel yourself reaching for a cup of coffee.