Fire it up with Breath of Fire

Breath of Fire is one of the fundamental techniques used in Kundalini Yoga. This powerful pranayam or breath is often used in meditation or with postures during a yoga set.

Breath of Fire is powerful and has many incredible benefits such as heating the body and creating a tremendous amount of energy within a very short period of time. It is a rapid diaphragmatic breath and uses the navel to create the effects.


  • Helps the body reach an optimum acid-alkaline balance.
  • Balances the autonomic nervous system.
  • Cleanses the blood by removing toxins from the tissues, lungs and mucus membranes.
  • Improves digestion.
  • Stimulates the solar plexus and frees the natural flow of energy through the body.
  • Strengthens the nervous system to handle stress.
  • Increases physical stamina and energy.
  • Helps breaks addictions.
  • Increases the capacity of the lungs, improving health and the enjoyment of life.

How to do Breath of Fire

Breath of Fire can be tricky and can take time to master. The idea is to start at a slow rhythmic rate. Once you feel confident then you can increase the speed. Breath of Fire is rapid, rhythmic and continuous. The inhale and exhale are equal with no pause in between.

Breath of Fire is always practiced through the nose with the mouth closed, unless specified.

The best method of learning Breath of Fire is to start with a breath that is we call panting like a dog. This allows you to sense and feel the rhythm the breath requires as well as getting used to the pumping of the navel. It sounds funny but it works.

  1. Sit in a meditative position, with the spine straight.
  2. Place your hands in Gyan Mudra (thumb tips connected to the index finger tips) or Prayer Pose with the palms together joined at the level of the heart.
  3. Sit in a meditative position, with the spine straight.
  4. Close the eyes and roll them inward and up towards the 3rd eye point.
  5. Stick your tongue as far out as possible, close your eyes and begin panting fast like a dog – about 2 pants per second.
  6. During exhalation your stomach should automatically contract towards your spine, creating a pumping action. Don’t force the pumping of the stomach but allow it to happen naturally. As you pull the navel muscles in, you are exhaling. As you inhale relax the contraction of the stomach muscles.
  7. Shoulders are nice and relaxed.
  8. Continue for as long as you like. This is a meditation in itself. Try anything from 1 to 5 minutes.
  9. Once you have the hang of this breath, close your mouth and continue the breath through the nose. Continue pulling the navel muscles in on the exhale and relaxing them on the inhale. The breath is continuous and steady. Start slow then build up your speed. Over time you will not need to practice the dog panting breath. But it is a wonderful way to get used to Breath of Fire and is how I teach my students in the beginning.
  10. If you feel dizzy, take a break and switch to long deep breathing. When ready start again.
  11. Continue  for 1 – 5 minutes.
  12. Breath of Fire can act like a meditation on its own and will create powerful effects on your whole being.

Cautions with Breath of Fire

If you feel dizzy when practicing Breath of Fire, stop and substitute with normal long deep breathing. If you suffer from vertigo, please use caution in practicing this breathing exercise.

If you are menstruating do not practice Breath of Fire, use long deep breathing instead.

Be careful practicing Breath of Fire if you have high blood pressure, heart disease or suffer from stroke or epilepsy. Also, if you have acid or heat related gastric issues such as ulcers you should use caution.

If you are pregnant do not do Breath of Fire.

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