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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Repeat until I reach the ‘hyperventilation-response threshold’ and begin to experience the response sensations on the tip of my tongue.
- 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.