Bellows Breathing

Blacksmiths use bellows for churning up a fire, and that sometimes creates confusion with other ‘fire exercises.’

‘Bellows breathing’ is a rapid, continuous, and rhythmic form of breathing exercise. I combine it with intensive breathing and synchronize it with my arm movements. I minimally engage my diaphragm or abdominal muscles, utilizing mainly the ribcage and chest muscles. The inhaling and exhaling durations are equal.

In this rigorous exercise, I push air in and out abruptly through my nose, primarily using the chest and ribcage muscles. The exercise improves my lung flexibility and strengthens my chest muscles.

How I exercise ‘bellows breathing’:


  • I stand with a straight back and close my eyes.
  • Tilt my head slightly
  • Reset my breathing if needed.
  • Breathe exclusively through the nose, with chest breathing.
  1. Inhale rapidly through my nose, activating the chest and ribcage muscles; my arms stretch up as if I’m about to grab something over my head.
  2. Exhale rapidly through the nose, relaxing the chest and ribcage muscles. My hands turn into fists as I pull them down forcefully toward my shoulders.
  3. Repeat until I reach the ‘hyperventilation-response threshold’ and begin to experience the response sensations on the tip of my tongue.
  4. Inhale, in 3 parts, and hold my breath until I gently reach the point of ‘air hunger start.’

Note: At the end of the exercise, I hold my breath with full lungs. That sometimes leads to slight dizziness. However, the breath-hold should offset the negative effect that comes with a hyperventilation state.

Similar to the ‘breath of fire,’ I limit the duration of this exercise by ‘hyperventilation-response threshold.’ The delay in reaching the ‘hyperventilation-response threshold’ (due to breathing mostly into the ‘dead space’) can be offset by tilting my head.