Breath of Fire
Breath of fire is a rapid, continuous form of rhythmic breathing. Because of the high pace, it is stimulating, even though inhaling and exhaling is done at the same pace. In a way it is a sort of controlled hyperventilation.
I normally practice this breathing while standing, arms loose to the side of the body, letting my body shake a bit with every breathing cycle.
Both inhaling and exhaling are done from the nose with mouth closed.
Step 1: I abruptly exhale, contracting my abdominal muscle, pulling my stomach in, expelling air from my lungs.
Step 2: Inhaling is done effortlessly by relaxing my abdominal muscle, allowing my stomach to expand out (balloon form), partially filling my lungs with air.
Some count the number of exhale (or inhale) cycles and others count time. I normally do 60 cycles.
Comparing: Breath of Fire / Bellows Breathing / Belly Pumping
All three types of breathing are rapid and intensive.
“Breath of fire” is an inhaling and exhaling exercise using the diaphragm to push out the air from the lower part of the lungs (abdomen). It is a stomach breathing, where the diaphragm is use to expel air from the abdomen, exhaling. Inhaling occurs by means of inertia, that is releasing the diaphragm muscle tension.
“Bellows breathing” is an inhaling and exhaling exercise focusing on the upper part of the lungs, avoiding as much as possible movement of the abdomen.
“Belly pumping” is a retention exercise. After maximum air is expelled from the lungs, the diaphragm muscles are used to push the stomach forward and backward rapidly, while holding the breath.