Prana = Life force energy, breath Yama = control, mastery, liberation, work Or
Pran = Life
Ayama = Way
Agnisara is an energizing practice done in a standing posture, slightly squatting, with palms of the hands on the knees. The emphasis is on a strong exhalation from the lowest part of the abdomen, pushing in, and rolling upward. Then, the inhalation is allowed to be a natural, effortless releasing.
I also enjoy doing this breath in bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
This practice is profound in re-balancing energy, and also helping the physical body. It is said that, if in a given day you do no other physical exercise, do this one practice.
In Fire Breath the focus is on expelling the out-breath in the same way as Kapalbhati. It has many of the same benefits for the abdominal organs and muscles but is often taught using one nostril at a time and at a slower pace. The pace makes it more accessible to people starting out with Pranayama.
Pranayama techniques are sometimes taught differently depending on the teacher and style of yoga. For example, in the Kundalini Yoga tradition Agni Sara is taught in the same way as Kapalabhati. It is also sometimes taught by expelling the breath fully, applying Jalandhara Bandha (throat lock), then contracting and expanding the abdomen quickly while still retaining the exhalation comfortably. This variation also raises energy levels, stimulates the appetite and improves digestion.
Agni Sara Foundation Instruction
I want to elaborate a little bit on Agni Sara. We're going to practice movement of the belly laying down, which is a great way to connect with the mechanics of moving the belly in and out. Agni Sara stimulates the fire, the digestive fire, throughout all your organs, including your bladder all the way up into your liver and spleen because of the pumping motion.
Play with movement of the pelvic bowl...
- Tilting your pelvis down, your sit bones down towards the earth to create a natural curve in your back. So your belly and your ribs are sticking up.
- And then opposite. Push the navel down, so now your sit bones are moving up towards your knees and you have this concave belly.
- Play with those two movements, up and down.
When you are ready add breath...
- Inhale with a rounded back, belly inward, pelvic tilted upward
- Exhale, push out with the belly, pelvic tilted downward
And again. Inhale, pull in, round the back, so you have that concave feeling. Exhale, push down. Good. And again. Inhale, exhale. Inhale. Feel the belly move into the spine. Exhale, let it poof out. Good.
Back to neutral spine. Now try that same in-and-out movement of the belly without moving the hips. The sensation of the belly moving in and out is the mechanics to the pumping required in the above video.
Besides the physical aspects of Agni Sara, the amount of stimulation to the nervous system is so powerful that it reduces anxiety and restlessness and stress.
This is a powerful Pranayama that is stimulating the empowerment area of your whole psyche.
And once you are proficient in Agni Sara, it is said to facilitate psychic abilities. We all know those amazing stories about the Yogis-Autobiography of A Yogi is a great read for more on that.
There's more to us than just this physical body, going deep within the physical has the ability to touch all of those realms.
So as you lay down, plant your feet, bend your knees. Outside of the feet are parallel to each other. Inner thighs are activated as you press firmly into the feet. Gently let your head rest and your face and jaw soften and relax. Palms can face down and allow the shoulder blades to tuck underneath you let your chin drop down to lengthen the back of the neck.