Photo: Getty Images
The Bhastrika pranayama is the most powerful of all pranayama techniques and combines the Kapalbhati and Ujjai systems in it. It is specifically suggested by Ayurveds and Yogis to manage and keep migraine attacks to the minimum. The other pranayama that proves beneficial in the management of migraines are the Kapalbhati pranayama, the Anulom Vilom pranayama and the Brahmari pranayama.
The Kapalbhati pranayama has been discussed in my EmpowHER article entitled – "Kapalbhati Pranayama – The Fat Burning Breath" - http://www.empowher.com/wellness/content/kapalbhati-pranayama-fat-burning-breath
I have also written about the Brahmari pranayama in the EmpowHER article entitled "Brahmari Pranayama – Venting Pain for Migraineurs" - http://www.empowher.com/migraine/content/brahmari-pranayama-venting-pain-migraineurs
Here is how you can execute the Bhastrika pranayama:
1. Put a mat on an even floor.
2. Sit on it in the Lotus position.
3. Keep your head, neck and body erect (in a straight line).
4. Close your mouth.
5. Inhale and exhale forcefully and in quick succession or rapidly 10 times. Both inhalation and exhalation should sound like the bellows of the blacksmith.
6. As you breathe in your lungs and abdomen should dilate and contract when you breathe out.
7. The 10 counts count for one set.
8. Pause for 10 seconds after every set is complete. During this state of pause, breathe slowly and fully to the maximum lung capacity; pause for 3-5 seconds and exhale slowly and completely.
9. Repeat the set two more times pausing between the sets.
10. The final expulsion should be followed by a deep inhalation.
11. Pause after this inhalation for as long as it is comfortable.
12. Exhale slowly and completely.
Besides having a healing effect on migraines, the Bhastrika increases our BMR, cures asthma, sinus conditions, and certain digestive ailments. It claims to purify blood, calms the mind and is proven beneficial in case of muscular dystrophy and oxygen deficiency disorders. It balances the Vata, Pita and Kapha states of the body.