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 Discussions on AYP Pranayama, Mudras and Bandhas
 Spinal Bastrika, rapid fluttering breath and eyes?
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avocado

USA
14 Posts

Posted - Oct 17 2022 :  03:09:17 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message
Hi friends,
I had this question in another area but i am posting it here since it’s related to pranayama. Hope thats ok!

In Spinal Bastrika, how quick and shallow can the breaths be? is it okay if my breath becomes VERY quick and shallow, like a quick fluttering (5-10 cycles per second)? My eyes tend to flutter too when I do this. I usually start slow and then it gets quicker and quicker. This is a habit i picked up from a previous yoga practice (shambhavi mahamudra from Isha / Sadhguru). Seems to work for me as it is kind of wired into my nervous system, but wondering if i should exert effort trying to unlearn it if i am doing the practice incorrectly?

All thoughts welcome!
With Gratitude,
Avocado

Christi

United Kingdom
4410 Posts

Posted - Oct 17 2022 :  03:28:36 AM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi avocado,

Here are the instructions from the main lessons:

"Now we will introduce a powerful new pranayama practice called spinal bastrika. "Bastrika" means "bellows." It is rapid breathing, like a dog panting, done with the diaphragm only (abdominal breathing), preferably through the nose. If it is too difficult through the nose, it can be done through the mouth, as necessary.

Bastrika in these lessons is done tracing the spinal nerve quickly between the perineum (root) and the point between the eyebrows (third eye), just the same as during normal spinal breathing, only much faster. The spinal aspect brings greatly increased power to bastrika pranayama, and at the same time provides balance between the divine inner polarities in the body. Spinal bastrika charges the entire nervous system with huge amounts of cleansing prana in a balanced way." [Yogani]

So, there are two important aspects to the practice. One is the rapid breathing in and out, like a dog panting. The other is tracing the spinal nerve between the root and the third eye with every inhalation and exhalation. It is this tracing that makes the practice safe.

One question I would have is, if you are letting the breath become very fast (or deliberately making the breath very fast through habit), are you able to continue tracing the breath between the root and the third eye with every inhalation and exhalation? If not, then it could be advisable to keep the breath slower, so that you can engage in tracing the spinal nerve.

There is an automatic yoga that can happen when the breath becomes very fast during spinal bastrika. But this tends to happen once the energetic pathways have already become established. There is another automatic yoga that can happen where the breath stops all together, sometimes for quiet considerable amounts of time.


Christi
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avocado

USA
14 Posts

Posted - Oct 18 2022 :  03:26:32 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Christi,
Thank you for the reply!
Admittedly, the tracing of the spine becomes less defined when my breathe flutters rapidly. When I attempt to trace during the rapid breaths, its more of a visualization of a rapid up and down movement rather than following it each direction in sync with the breath. If I slow down a bit, i can at least visualize the energy at the top and bottom points of the spine.

Does the tracing of the spine cease if it become an automatic yoga? Most of the time i am “doing” this rapid breathing, but every now and then (pretty rare) it seems to “catch” and it become so rapid that i don't seem to be breathing at all in those micro moments. Should this be allowed to continue? Either way, as per your suggestion I will put more intention into visualizing the flow along the spine in sync with the breath, and try slowing down a bit to see how that affects things.

A follow up question: after spinal bastrika, i tend to exhale fully, engage my bandhas (root, uddiyana, and Jalandhara), and hold my breath for as long as comfortable, then inhale fully, and hold my breath again for as long as comfortable. I then exhale and move into DM. This also is a habit/practice carried over from the previous practice which I have been doing for a few years now (including the last 2 years with ayp). When i do it, it feels very natural and automatic. Wondering if you or anybody else here see any issues with this?

Grateful for your thoughts and guidance!
-Avo
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Dogboy

USA
2228 Posts

Posted - Oct 18 2022 :  05:02:07 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Now we will introduce a powerful new pranayama practice called spinal bastrika. "Bastrika" means "bellows." It is rapid breathing, like a dog panting, done with the diaphragm only (abdominal breathing), preferably through the nose. If it is too difficult through the nose, it can be done through the mouth, as necessary.


This is how I learned bastrika, remaining at the diaphragm (solar center) rather than tracing. Spinal breathing is beautiful just as is, I personally don’t see or feel the appeal of doing it much faster. The tracing part of spinal bastrika is too distracting for this yogi.

Holding the breath at full and empty (kumbacka) is a personal choice; you have done it a while and proven for yourself you handle it naturally, automatically, so have at it. Just know kumbacka and bastrika are powerful practices; along with jarlandhara and YMK, mudras and bandas and the like. At some point, should conductivity emerge and less becomes more, these will be the ones you pare back as ecstasy your expands.
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