Breath of Fire

In this rigorous exercise, I activate my abdominal muscles and force air out abruptly through my nose. The exercise improves my lung flexibility and strengthens my abdominal muscles.

I breathe rapidly, continuously, and rhythmically, with the focus on the exhale. Even though I try to equal the inhale and exhale duration, this exercise stimulates me because of the rapid muscle movement.

How I exercise ‘breath of fire’:


  • I stand with a straight back and close my eyes.
  • Tilt my head slightly
  • Reset my breathing if needed.
  • Breathe diaphragmatically and exclusively through the nose.
  1. Exhale rapidly by contracting my abdominal muscles, pulling the stomach in, and pushing out air abruptly.
  2. Inhale effortlessly, relaxing my abdominal muscles, allowing the stomach to snap back and fill the lungs.
  3. Repeat until I reach ‘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.

My hands dangle to the side of my body, and I add body shaking to my breathing. I minimally engage my chest muscles, and predominantly employ my diaphragm and abdominal muscles.

During spontaneous breathing, I make an effort to inhale. However, in this exercise, the effort is on the exhale, and I emphasize it. I exhale as if blowing off a candle through my nostrils. The breathing sounds I produce are similar to those of a steam engine.

I limit the duration of this exercise by ‘hyperventilation-response threshold,’ and not by the number of repetitions. Despite the intensive breathing, it takes time before I reach the ‘hyperventilation-response threshold.’ This is because I mostly shift air up and down my ‘dead space.’ As a result, part of the inhaled air does not get exposed to the exchange bubbles. I tilt my head back when exercising for two reasons:

  • To ensure that my windpipe is not restricted.
  • To slightly restrict the artery going through my neck, affecting the blood supply to my head. (This results in reaching ‘hyperventilation-response threshold’ more quickly.)