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 Discussions on AYP Pranayama, Mudras and Bandhas
 Bastrika
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SeySorciere

Seychelles
1014 Posts

Posted - Dec 23 2016 :  12:28:15 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message
I finally learned how to do bastrika (the AYP way) properly from a friend. He is an experienced asana teacher and of Gurunath Kriya Yoga. Some techniques I have found, one really needs a physical teacher to master and my previous attempts at bastrika never felt right, so I left it out of my routine.
There are a few techniques, I feel, I can never get quite right - Yoni Mudra for example. I try adding it to my routine every now and then, pursue it for weeks and give up because, it just never feels like I am doing it right. Whereas other techniques might be clunky during the first few weeks but then refines and keeps on refining very nicely.
Anyway back to bastrika - although I have been super-cautious and kept it to one round of 6 breaths - I have hit overload straight away, with a sharp pain, hitting one spot in my left brain (towards the back of the head) rhythmically - strange long gaps between. The spot on the brain is hit by a jolt of energy starting from the root/navel area.
I took it out of my routine last night but still want to try and ease into it.
Anyone doing bastrika with useful tips?


Sey

SeySorciere

Seychelles
1014 Posts

Posted - Dec 23 2016 :  12:51:45 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
To add further to my initial difficulties with bastrika - Yogani starts the instructions by saying:
quote:
"Bastrika" means "bellows". It is rapid breathing, like a dog panting, done with the diaphragm only (abdominal breathing), preferably through the nose.


As soon as I saw the word diaphragm, I was breathing up and down and trying to dog pant but it's actually back and forth and bellowing (not dog panting, which is something else my friend said)
I thought I would add this in case there are others hitting the same difficulties.

Sey
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Omsat

Belgium
258 Posts

Posted - Dec 23 2016 :  04:00:24 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by SeySorciere

To add further to my initial difficulties with bastrika - Yogani starts the instructions by saying:
quote:
"Bastrika" means "bellows". It is rapid breathing, like a dog panting, done with the diaphragm only (abdominal breathing), preferably through the nose.


As soon as I saw the word diaphragm, I was breathing up and down and trying to dog pant but it's actually back and forth and bellowing (not dog panting, which is something else my friend said)
I thought I would add this in case there are others hitting the same difficulties.

Sey





Hi Sey,

I noticed different schools use kapalabhati and bastrika names interchangeably. There are also quite some variations in how it is taught if the terminology seems the same. So, going for clarification from another system can add to the confusion if they happen to have the different way of calling the same practice or if their variation is not the same.

It's hard to give advice without seeing how you practice it. Except: Apply the technique as gently as you can and back off for a while if it doesn't feel right.

Hope others can give more help and perhaps clarify on whether Gurunath's way of teaching Kriya bastrika is the same as ayp's bastrika one.


Edited by - Omsat on Dec 23 2016 04:20:08 AM
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Charliedog

1184 Posts

Posted - Dec 23 2016 :  08:55:20 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
HI Sey,

As far as I found AYP teaches spinal Bastrika, this is up and down as I understand.

I learned from my teachers bastrika like you mentioned in this post, slowly back and fort, breathing through the nose. Later we can do it faster, it becomes more energetic and inwards then, more like the AYP spinal bastrika.

I learned that this slow bastrika is one of the most powerful pranayama's and there is a warning to do this only if you are advanced. Important is to have empty bowels, empty stomach, eat strictly vegetarian and take it slow. It has his influence on chakra 6 and 7 and brings in balance apana and prana vayu. It works also on your diaphragm, makes it strong and flexible.

Use it wise and not to often. Start slowly and take rest after practice.

Personally I know more than one person who can not handle this slow bastrika pranayama because it overloads them, the reason why I don't teach it in regular lessons.

Hope this is helpful. Take care,

Edit: As you are advanced it is also possible it overloads you, I have the same with almost every pranayama, can't do them often these days except SBP

Like Omsat mentioned there is some confusion with names and methodes. I've learned kapalabhati, exhale rapidly through the nose while actively pulling in the abdomen, relax the abdomen and let the breath come in automatically by it's own. So only the exhale is active. This is officially no pranayama but a kriya. Others could see this differently.

Which brings me to the question, as we progress, do we become more sensitive to pranayama?


Moderator note: The discussion on sensitivity to pranayama and the stages of awakening has been split to here

Edited by - Charliedog on Dec 24 2016 04:10:36 AM
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Dogboy

USA
1287 Posts

Posted - Dec 23 2016 :  7:38:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Bastrika is indeed a stoker of energy, so do proceed with caution. I have heard of, and tried from time to time, a "butterfly" Bastrika, where air passes back and forth past the nostrils with the 'strength of softly flapping butterfly wings'. While gentler, it will still arouse energy, so keep it short.
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Bodhi Tree

USA
2800 Posts

Posted - Dec 24 2016 :  11:39:14 AM  Show Profile  Visit Bodhi Tree's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I do bastrika in the manner Charliedog mentioned, with only the exhale being active. The inhale comes automatically as the respiratory system immediately compensates for the loss of air from the forced exhalation. I don't mean "forced" in a harsh way--that's just a common term in physiology used to describe when an exhalation is deliberately induced with the help of the diaphragm.

Also, I find it helpful to let the ajna chakra be the place of "command". The diaphragm is the pumping mechanism, but the third eye is running the show, if that makes sense.

Self-Pacing. Easy Effort. Efficiency.
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Charliedog

1184 Posts

Posted - Dec 24 2016 :  12:16:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Bodhi Like above mentioned, I learned only exhale actively is kapalabhati .....this is making it more confusing. Kaphalabati means 'shining head' or to 'shine'.

That's were your charisma is coming from.


Edited by - Charliedog on Dec 24 2016 12:53:51 PM
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Bodhi Tree

USA
2800 Posts

Posted - Dec 24 2016 :  1:06:13 PM  Show Profile  Visit Bodhi Tree's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I don't think that detail makes it more confusing. I think it's clarifying, actually. So I'm glad you brought it up.

Trying to do both forced inhalation and exhalation consecutively is too much strain on the respiratory system. To maintain a fast pace, which is the whole point of doggie panting (to pressure wash the central channel), it's much easier to let exhalation be in the lead.
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Omsat

Belgium
258 Posts

Posted - Dec 24 2016 :  2:35:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by Bodhi Tree

I do bastrika in the manner Charliedog mentioned, with only the exhale being active. The inhale comes automatically as the respiratory system immediately compensates for the loss of air from the forced exhalation. I don't mean "forced" in a harsh way--that's just a common term in physiology used to describe when an exhalation is deliberately induced with the help of the diaphragm.



Hi Bodhi and Charlie,

Most (but not all) schools that I encountered call this kapalabhati indeed.

Bastrika would indeed be done slower in the beginning stages for the reason you mentioned, Bodhi: It will be strenuous to exhale and inhale with power for a beginning practitioner (in this particular practice).
As the bodily system invigorates and pranamaya kosha enlivens, it becomes possible without strain.
Then, the breathing will have something of a locomotive train and there is more lasting power in it. It can go on longer than a practice that is based mostly on exhale.
The power in both inhale and exhale is what is considered to make apana vayu and prana vayu merge in balance.

The practice that focuses on the exhales, is seen more as a cleansing practice as well as one that lifts up the energies at the beginning of practice, cleansing the skull and glorifying it with a glow.
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Bodhi Tree

USA
2800 Posts

Posted - Dec 24 2016 :  4:02:02 PM  Show Profile  Visit Bodhi Tree's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hm. I can see the sense in that.

I don't know, it's very subtle. Sometimes maybe there is an equal effort in both inhale and exhale, but it still seems like the exhale is dominant.

Whatever works, I suppose.
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Dogboy

USA
1287 Posts

Posted - Dec 25 2016 :  10:21:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting topic, thank you

Edited by - Dogboy on Dec 25 2016 10:22:10 PM
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SeySorciere

Seychelles
1014 Posts

Posted - Dec 27 2016 :  05:10:56 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hmm.. this has turned into an interesting topic with new information - thanks all.
@Charlie-dog - I have been experimenting and yes, if I slow down the bellows, I have more control. Still very powerful. I have not yet tried tracing the spinal nerve while doing it as I am still trying to master the breathing and I cannot do more than a round of few breaths at a time and not everyday! What is particularly noticeable is the immediate warmth that radiates from manipura. Fire under the cauldron.
My friend did explain the differences between kapalabhati, bastrika and fire- breathing techniques. Not yet clear to me (did not ask him) and would like to know are the different effects they have. What do these different pranayama techniques work on? Are they interchangeable? Do they all accomplish the same thing? Can anyone summarize please?

Thks

Sey
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Christi

United Kingdom
3235 Posts

Posted - Dec 27 2016 :  10:38:02 AM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Sey,

The essential thing about kapalbhati is that there is no forced inhale. So it uses a forced exhale and then the air simply comes back into the lungs without any deliberate inhalation. It is rapid, so there will be several exhalations per second.

With bastrika, both the exhalation and the inhalation are forced. There is a big difference between the two practices. With bastika, the powerful forced inhalations and exhalations cause prana to flood the whole body. With kapalbhati, the relatively shorter breaths with the forced exhale only will cause the prana to fall slightly in the body, which is relaxing. At the same time the ajna chakra is activated by the stimulation of prana in the two side channels, hence the name "forehead shining". So kapalbhat is both gently stimulating and gently relaxing at the same time.

Bastrika is an advanced practice and is actually one of the most powerful forms of pranayama there is, whilst kapalbhati is a gentle pranayama which is suitable for practitioners at any level of practice, including beginners.

With Spinal Bastrika it is important to include the tracing of the spinal nerve with the attention. This gives direction to the flow of prana in the body, bringing it towards the ajna chakra. Without that, bastrika will simply send prana up into the higher centres, without direction and it will often go straight to the crown. This would not be safe, even for advanced practitioners.

"Dragon's breath" and "breath of fire" seem to be names that are given to either of these forms of pranayama and also to other pranayamas which are similar.


Christi
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Charliedog

1184 Posts

Posted - Dec 27 2016 :  10:39:07 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Sey

In this lesson Yogani explains the shatkarmas, officially kapalabathi is a kriya or shatkarma. http://www.aypsite.com/plus/316.html this page gives a link to lesson 171 about the spinal bastrika.

Bastrika is a pranayama. From own experience, with Bastrika like you learned now, the slow form, back and forth, I don't use ujaji. I breath throught the nose and it's like Omsat says after some time like a locomotive.

The spinal bastrika of AYP is with use of ujaji, also the targeted bastrika is with the use of Ujaji. Both up and down, tracing the spine.

The effects will change with progress, as the experience does. This summer I did some weeks targeted bastrika as an experiment. It was very powerful. We can work in a specific area with this one. I followed the advice of Yogani, after a clunky beginning it became very pleasurable and then I had to stop because it became to much.

All are very powerful, the explanation of Omsat gave me much insight in my experiences with the slow bastrika in the past. I have to take care with my pitta constitution.

Just my experiences

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Charliedog

1184 Posts

Posted - Dec 27 2016 :  10:49:16 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
We crossposted Christi
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Bodhi Tree

USA
2800 Posts

Posted - Dec 27 2016 :  12:01:12 PM  Show Profile  Visit Bodhi Tree's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by Christi


With Spinal Bastrika it is important to include the tracing of the spinal nerve with the attention. This gives direction to the flow of prana in the body, bringing it towards the ajna chakra. Without that, bastrika will simply send prana up into the higher centres, without direction and it will often go straight to the crown. This would not be safe, even for advanced practitioners.


This make sense, because we want to bring it down as much as we are letting it surge upwards. Equal flow.
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SeySorciere

Seychelles
1014 Posts

Posted - Jan 04 2017 :  02:58:40 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you all for your input. I am still trying bastrika every second day - very cautiously. I am still unable to trace the spinal nerve as I cannot find the energy component which is going up, just an overall heat radiation - only after a few minutes delay do I feel it hitting the crown. So I have compromised by doing bastrika before SBP. That way I can then bring the energy through the spinal nerve with SBP.
It is an interesting exploration.

However, with Navi Kriya - although it is not an addition to the technique, I find tracing the spinal nerve becomes almost automatic. Also when I do Yoni Mudra (all mudras and bandhas in place except kechari), there is also this urge to do navi kriya and trace the spinal nerve.

I mentioned above that I am unsure that I have Yoni mudra down pat. I am unsure of what to expect from the practice and have a sense of nothing happening.


Sey
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Christi

United Kingdom
3235 Posts

Posted - Jan 04 2017 :  04:12:08 AM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
I am still trying bastrika every second day - very cautiously. I am still unable to trace the spinal nerve as I cannot find the energy component which is going up, just an overall heat radiation - only after a few minutes delay do I feel it hitting the crown.


Hi Sey,

If you are not able to trace the spinal nerve during spinal bhastrika, you can simply jump with your attention between the root and the ajna chakra. This will have a similar effect and will help to keep the prana moving between the root and third eye.

With Yoni Mudra, you would be tracing the spinal nerve whilst not retaining the breath. So you would inhale from the root coming up to the ajna chakra with your attention tracing the spinal nerve, then retaining the breath with the mudra in place. Then on exhale, releasing the fingers from the nostrils and tracing the spinal nerve all the way down to the root and then back up again to ajna before the next breath retention.

As for what to expect, it is best not to expect anything, just as with all the practices.


Christi


moderator note: The discussion on expectations has been split to here
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lateralus

USA
32 Posts

Posted - Jan 06 2017 :  05:25:17 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I've been using Bastrika for about a month now and have found it to be a wonderful addition to the baseline. As per what Christi said above, I started out jumping from the base of the spine to anja with no problems. It's starting to get smoother now and less clunky. My experience has been light vibrational sensations in the face and forehead along with great relaxation and warmth in the body. DM & Samyama has become even more enjoyable . Positive effects on daily life have been significant since the addition. Lasting energy,positive upbeat mood and enhanced clarity. Great stuff .
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lalow33

USA
696 Posts

Posted - Jan 09 2017 :  1:06:21 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Sey,

I enjoy your pranayama posts. Please continue to post here.
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SeySorciere

Seychelles
1014 Posts

Posted - Jan 13 2017 :  12:47:26 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply



Sey
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SeySorciere

Seychelles
1014 Posts

Posted - Feb 17 2017 :  01:35:05 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
So what effects have I noticed from doing a little bastrika?
It clears the channels - SBP is super smooth after a little bastrika. It clears and energizes the lower chakras - increased in ecstatic bliss and feeling so sexy (increased libido - not very useful as I'm single again ). Urge to connect to the Earth, hence my garden project. Tarot: The Empress - Abundance and Fertility!


Sey
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Charliedog

1184 Posts

Posted - Feb 17 2017 :  02:08:33 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply

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sunyata

USA
1234 Posts

Posted - Feb 17 2017 :  09:16:43 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Sey,

LOL.Good things are happening.

That garden will start blooming in no time.

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jusmail

India
291 Posts

Posted - Feb 20 2017 :  12:28:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hey Sey,

After Empress in the tarot cometh Emperor and the Hierophant.

Ideally, bastrika is done in between spinal breathing and DM. I do Jalandhara bandha week days and switch to bastrika weekends. Still early days for me.
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SeySorciere

Seychelles
1014 Posts

Posted - Jun 28 2017 :  02:08:57 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Further reports on bastrika. The effect over a longer period is more evident on the lower chakras. I must say I still struggle with the tracing -more miss than hit. However, I find that Yoni mudra is now working much better. I think my mistake was that I was doing too few rounds (3 only). I have increased to 5 rounds and yeah, the effect is felt. It could also be that bastrika has helped clear out the central channel and lower chakras that Yoni mudra becomes more effective. How many rounds of Yoni mudra is ideal ?


Sey
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