I find it quite challenging to practice bhastrika, the bellows breath, in my yoga class. Even after just a few rounds I start to feel light headed and dizzy. Why does this happen to me, and what I can I do to prevent it from happening in the future?
Generally if you are feeling light headed during bhastrika or bellows breath, it is wise to back off a bit and relax. Sometimes we can get caught up in pushing the breath more forcefully …and this, if you are feeling faint, can lead to hyperventilation. Hyperventilation decreases the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood and reduces blood flow to the brain. In very rare cases this can trigger heart attacks, but at the least can result in confusion, agitations, muscle twitching. So the best thing to do is to stop at signs of dizziness or faintness.
Also if you have any conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, glaucoma, vertigo, pregnancy then avoid the practice completely. If you are practicing in a hot room or on a hot day reduce the amount of time you practice bhastrika.
You can build up the practice over time by slowing increasing the number of rounds you attempt. Remember yoga is a life-long practice, so what is the rush!? Also remember that if you are becoming anxious about bhastrika, that can perpetuate the problem, it is a practice to be done when the mind is relaxed and focused. It is helpful to lie down when you are feeling dizzy and let it be an opportunity to take a break!