M. Baranov: "Marijuana-pranayama. All that you want to know about bhastrika, but was shy to ask about."

In 1998 in Moscow during one seminar one yoga teacher, quite famous nowdays, but that time hardly anyone had heard about him, announced on his first class that he was going to teach one “secret Hindu technique, that gets you high as a good grass” but without bad influence on brain cells and liver – “and no addiction!” At the end of an intensive class fully devoted to asanas, someone remembered about “a secret technique”, and was answered “well…we don’t have enough time now, but tomorrow we’ll do it definitely!” Intriguing students in such a smart way, the teacher stimulated them to attend the second part of the seminar. During the last class the promised “secret technique” was given – that was one of the variants of bhastrika with exhale through the mouth and retention after an inhalation, that immediately got it’s popular name “marijuana-pranayama”.


Mikhail Baranov



All that you want to know about bhastrika, but was shy to ask about

Mikhail BaranovIt is not a secret that a bright and specific effect can be achieved in a result of hyperventilation techniques, and “a changed state of consciousness” can be felt almost by everyone. Different opinions can be heard about its effects: starting from notorious “kundalini awakening” that can happen if you fulfill bhastrika everyday and too much, together with mula-bandha; and ending with treatment of cold, bronchial asthma, constipation and vegeto-vascular dystonia. It is notable that usually these speculations and fanatasies are mixed with real facts. As every yoga teacher respecting himself gives to his students a stimulus to practice, he filters information in accordance with his representation system and delivers it correspondingly in an actual for his auditorium context. It concerns all the teachers without exception; it does not depend on their experience and authority. For comparison, let’s look at a short description of the technique and effect of bhastrika, given in two most known and adequate books translated into Russian, written by – B.K.S. Iyengar and Andre Van Lysebeth –, who represent different schools of modern hatha yoga.


B.K.S. Iyengar “Light on Pranayama”

Bhastrika means bellows: the air is forced to come in and out of the lungs, similar to the work of the bellows. In other types of pranayama an inhalation influences the length, quality and rhythm of an exhalation, but in bhastrika it is an exhalation that dictates force and tiempo. In bhastrika an inhalation and an exhalation are done with an effort. Sound produced during this pranayama is similar to the sound of the bellows.
Both these pramayamas (kapalabhati and bhastrika) activate and strengthen liver, spleen, pancreas and stomach muscles, as well as improve digestion. They dry up sinuses and stop a runny nose. They cause a sense of happiness.
Notes and warnings
1. Bhastrika generates prana that in its turn activates the whole body. As too quick kindling blows up an engine or a boiler, as too prolonged bhastrika endangers the lungs and exhausts respiratory system because the process of breathing is too intensive.
2. As the sound decreases, stop and start again, or lessen number of blow-throughs and cycles, or make a pause in a practice for one day.
3. Make a pause in your practice when you feel irritation or tension.
4. Stop the practice when the sound of an exhalation is incorrect or blows-through do not go properly. Any forced action leads to injury or nose bleeding.
5. People with weak body constitution or limited capacities of the lungs should not try to practice bhastrika or kapalabhati, as their blood vessels and brain may run risks.
6. The following people should not practice pranayamas:
а) women, as forced blows-through can lead to prolapce of abdominal organs and the uterus, and breasts may get weak and get flabby;
b) people suffering from deseases of eyes and ears (for example, pus in the ears, retinal detachement, glaucoma);
c) people with high or low blood pressure;
d) people suffering from nasal bleeding, intensive pulsation or pain in the ears.
If anything of the mentioned above happened to you, stop the practice immediately for several days. Then try again, if the symptoms persist, it means that the practice does not suit you. Many people have a wrong understanding thinking that bhastrika pranayama awakens kundalini-shakti. Authoritative books affirm the same concerning many pranayamas and asanas, but it is far from the truth. There is no doubt that bhastrika and kapalabhati refresh the mind and agitate it for activity, but if people think that by that they awaken their kundalini, in a result thay can damage their body, nerves and brains.


Andre Van Lysebeth “Pranayama – the Yoga of Breathing”

A basic of bhastrika is a three-staged yogic breathing when abdominal cavity is being controlled. Choose a comfortable position; keep your back straight, breath as deep as you can, control the surface of the abdomen. Speed up the rhythm of breathing keeping the same amplitude. Do not increase the speed of breathing by reducing the depth of an inhale and exhale.
This is a very effective exercise that should be done very accurate, especially in the beginning. The blood gets enriched with oxygen, pH of the blood changes as well as CO2 persentage. Carbone dioxide is not toxic, it is a part of the blood, but it should be kept in a certain and constant quantity. In cases of asfixia oxygen does not help, but it is unclear why carbonic dioxide helps. In bhastrika, as well as kapalabhati, percentage of exhaled CO2 increases and correspondently its percentage in blood decreases. To restore a balance, retention of breathing is done on inhale. Bhastrika activates lung breathing that is beneficial for the organism. Other effects of bhastrika are the same as of kapalaphati.
Bhastrika is a very intensive exercise (along or with retention of breathing on inhalation), that is why it requires causion and a common sense. Do not hurry! Done incorrectly bhastrika can negatively influence the work of the heart (for example, it can cause arrhythmia) or the lungs. But these sympthoms disappear when the practice is over. To avoid mistakes, do not hurry, practice in a slow tempo. Achievement of a high speed of the exercise should not be the main task. With practice elasticity of the lungs improves and it helps to fulfill bhastrika without a minimum risk.
Pranic effect
From pranayama point of view, bhastrika is a basic exercise. Acceleration of blood and prana circulation in brain influences ajna-chakra and sahasrara-chakra. During retention of breathing an additional activisation of lower chakras happens. At this moment you should consentrate on muladhara-chakra. During the fulfillment of bhastrika a balancing of prana and apana flows occurs. Pranic flow starts to move in sushumna (central channel) activating psychic centers in a human body. Upright movement of this energy is blocked by “knots” (literary translation of Sanskrit term “grantha”). Bhastrika removes these blocks and gives prana a possibility to flow to the barin without any obstacles or, to be exact to sahasrara-chakra. This pranayama exercise is a necessary preparatory stage in pratyahara practice (liberating the mind from the power of emotions) and dharana (state of superconsiousness as a result of deep meditation) which are the next steps of yoga.


Hyperventilation and “psychedelic effect”

So, bhastrika is done with the speed of 50-60 breathing cycles per minute, involving a greater volume of lungs compared to a normal breathing. For comparison, a healthy person in a quiesent state normaly makes 12-15 cycles per minute (without taking into consideration advanced yogis who have twice less rates). So called “reserve volume” of inhalation and exhalation is not used in “a quiesent state” breathing, in other words, breathing is shallow, full inhalation or exhalation is not fulfilled. In bhastrika, on the contrary, breathing is the most profound, quick and intensive. An adult person (having 0.5 litres of breathing volume and 14 breathing movements in a minute) passes through his lungs 7 litres of air per minute. During physical activity breathing volume can reach 120 litres per minute. In bhastrika the speed and depth of breathing are the maximum; already after 15-20 breathing cycles you can feel warmth and sweat which are characteristics of accelerating methabolism. The first sign of hyperventilation is a slight dizziness. It can occur almost immediately during the first 30 seconds, or may not appear at all, you can get some other sensations as well. If hyperventilation continues for more than 30-40 cycles you can get some goosy sensation on the skin that at intensive and prolonged hyperventilation, for more than 2-5 minutes, turns into a tingling in fingertips and face, and then is changed by colvulsions of facial muscles and limbs. For these worrying sympthoms to appear a different time is needed: a prepared person who has mastered this breathing technique can get this phase after 100-120 cycles of bhastrika made in 1.5-2 minutes, not prepared people require more time. Normally, bhastrika does not aim to get oneself into a colvulsive state. Described sensations are more characteristic for other techniques, similar in action, that include a prolonged and forced hyperventilation – rebirthing, holotropic breathing and others. Rebirthing and analogical techniques of holotropic breathing are done with absolutely different, psychotherapeutic objectives, having nothing with yoga.
There are two factors that cause hypoxia of tissues at prolonged hyperventilation. 1. Hypocapnia – state of reduced carbonic dioxid in blood. Quick washing out of CO2 happens at deep and frequent breathing. One of its functions is to keep the tone of small blood vessels; quick reduction of CO2 causes contraction of plain muscle cells of small arterias and arteriolas; in a result, quantity of oxygen coming from blood to brain and spinal cord sharply reduces. 2. Deterioration of gas exchange between blood and tissues.
As the quantity of carbon dioxide falls down, acidity decreases, and blood becomes more alcalic; it influences an increase of affinity of hemoglobin with moleculas of oxygen. Hemoglobin ensures oxygen transportation, but when the level of CO2 goes down oxygen “reluctantly parts” with hemoglobin and less hemoglobin goes to body cells, so even if in the result of bhastrika in 20-30 seconds the oxygen level increases, the cells continue experiencing its deficit. Nervous cells of brain are especially sensitive to hypoxia – at hyperventilation for more than 2-3 minutes, blood flow to the brain reduces sharply and neural circuits get demaged; it explains unusual sensations and “changed states of mind” that arise when there is too much enthusiasm in practice. The scale of damage of nervious cells depends on how intensive and prolonged the hyperventilation is, , and the depth and interpretation of sensations depend on personal receptivity and how the person is tuned on a certain “mystical” or “psychoterapeutical” result.
Objective symptoms of hypercapnical hypoxia are increased sensitivity of nerves and muscles, that at a more prolonged hyperventilation (usually for more than 1-2 minutes) turn into itching sensations and light numbness of the muscles of the face and extremities, then they turn into crumps over the large muscle groups of arms and legs. All this says about the fact that nervious cells experience a hypoxical stress of varying degrees of severity. Acute hypoxia of brain cells leads to a damage of nervic circules. Damage of nervic connections and their reorder, probably, are favourable factors for treating psychic disorders, cronical depression and so on, but consequences of hypoxia’ influence on nervic cells are still an open question.


Mechanisms of hypoxia in pranayama practice

The mechanism described above essentualy differs from hypoxia, arising in the course of hyperventilation techniques, which are basic in pranayama. The scale of their effects is rather wide, level of hypoxia can be very low and gradually araised, as it happens in the case of heavy breathing (ujjayi) and prolongation of breathing cycle (full breathing, bhramari, brahma-mudra pranayama). More distinct and controlled hypoxia may be achieved with the help of breathing retention – on inhalation, exhalation, half-inhalation, and half-exhalation and so on. All these techniques have one general characteristic – quantity of oxygen in blood goes down, quantity of carbon dioxide goes up. In such a case oxygen in blood during breathing retention continues to get absorbed by tissues; more over, oxygen is absorbed even better than with normal breathing. It happends due to a longer contact of oxygen with hemoglobin and due to increase of cell membrane permeability to oxygen, as a result of small vessels’ expansion influenced by carbon dioxid. Level of hypoxia increases gradually, and arising sensations serve a natural limiter of retention, preventing injuries, while at arbitrary hyperventilation it is easy to go over that limit, as researches of hyperventilation’s influence on apnoe duration among the divers show.
With correct and regular training the body gradually adapts to the work in conditions of hypoxic hypercapnia (few oxygen – lots of carbon dioxide) – proceses of oxidation in cells become intensive, cell apparatus becomes optimized, sensitivity of respiratory center decreases, duration of retention increases.
Up to the limit retentions (murchha-pranayama, yoni-mudra) causing pre-uncounscious state are rarely used in pranayama practice and may be fulfilled only once, not more, during the day, and require preliminary preparation.


Influence on different systems of the body

To master quickly and safely and then to effectively practice bhastrika, you should understand, what it focuses on, and how these physiological effects manifest. Bhastrika influences not only a respiratory apparatus but other, connected to it, body systems.


Autonomic nervious system – activation of sympathetic influences

Work of autonomic nervious system (ANS) is connected to respiratory regulation. There is a vice versa connection – manipulations with respiration influence vegetative tonus and other body systems. Strong and quick movements of the chest and diafragma which are characteristics to bhastrika stimulate sympathetic nerves in the part of the chest, that in its turn stimulate the work of the heart and the lungs. At activised sympathetics there is an increase of muscle tone and neuro muscular conductivity, increase of frequency of cardiac contractions, increase of tension, bronchiectasis; blood from organs of digestion goes to muscles – thus, bhastrika tones and mobilizes the whole body.
The general picture of activised sympaphetic system is a mobilization of resourses for external activity. That is the reason why bhastrika is contraindicative in cases of cardio-vascular diseases of hypertensive type, atherosclerosis, and thrombophlebitis, high and low blood tension. The other aspect of bhastrika’s influence is a reflective stimulation of organs of sense. Respiration influences a great variety of receptors of olfactory bulbs, and in bhastrika this influence ten times more intensive compared to normal breathing. A nonspecific signal of irritation goes to the brain and is distributed to different parts of cortex by the cells of reticular formation strengthening vividity and brightness of perception.


Cardio-vascular system – increase of blood circulation

Due to a strong pulling up work of the chest and increased excursion of diafragma blood circulation gets increased greately, especially in a small circle (heart – lungs), as a consequence, tension in small lung vessels – capillaries – increases, which in normal situation are not fully open. Efficiency of gas exchange depends on at what extend the capillary net of the lungs is activised, as gases are transported from alveolar air into capillaries and vice versa. In spite of the fact that blood circulation increases due to the work of respiratory muscles, frequency of heart contractions increases because sympathetic system is activised, it is important to remember and use compensation techniques.


Respiratory system – optimization of external breathing

In a whole, effectiveness of gas exchange in the lungs depends on several factors:
- patency of the upper and lower respiratory tracts – lack of swelling and inflammation in nasal cavity and the lungs;
- tone of small vessels – capillaries and precapillary arteriolas, that being in higher tone restrict full blood excess to capillary channel where the gas exchange takes place;
- vital capacity of the lungs, "the density” of the capillary net in the alveoli.
Improved blood flow in a small circle of blood circulation prevents pulmonary engorgement; rhythmic blood pressure drops, created in the chest, provide ventilation and drainage of the bronchi. Due to peristalsis stimulation of ciliated epithelium covering the lungs, the lungs are cleared from the excess of mucus that blocks respiration and causes stagnation, creating a favourable enviorement for bacteria growth.
Doing bhastrika we can notice that the first round is always more difficult to fulfill, the third and the fourth are much easier. It is linked to the fact that not just the lungs are getting cleared from mucus, but also reserve capillaries are getting expanded, their tone decreases due to obligatory prolonged retention after each round of hyperventilation. Developing mobility of the chest, bhastrika actively trains respiratory muscles, strength and flexibility of the muscles, increases vital volume of the lungs, (vital capacity), which is one of the main criterium of the overall condition of the apparatus of external respiration. Regular workload of blood vessels leads to expansion of the vascular net and increase of capillaries in the lungs that further helps to achieve progress in pranayama practice.


Digestive system – massage of internal organs

Diafragma – the main respiratory muscle, dividing the chest and abdominal cavity - conducts an unusual massage. At full bhastrika the range of its movement is greater than at normal breathing. Bhastrika fulfilled by the abdomen influences organs even more. Pressure and movement of digestive organs improve their functioning and blood circulation inside. A serious restriction that limits full movement of diafragma are chronic constipations, that can be treated by basti practices, abdomen manipulations and normalization of nutrition. There are some other restrictions as internal organs and blood circulation system are actively influenced.


Bhastrika is contraindicated:

– at trombophlebitis, as hyperventilation increases development of clots;
– at acute inflammatory lung diseases – pneumonia, tuberculosis, pleuritis, pulmonary bleeding, broncho-an ecstatic disease, asthma;
– prosthesis in case of prolapsed mitral valve;
– at heart diseases, connected to higher tension (hypertonia, arterial hypertension);
– at acute inflammatory diseases of digestive organs – stomach ulcers, duodenal ulcers, ulcerative colitis, pancreatitis, cholecystitis, cirrhosis of the liver;
– nose bleeding;
– menstruations, pregnancy;
– atherosclerosis, there is a risk of insult or infarction (depending on the place where the clot gets stuck forced by a strengthened blood flow).


Bonuses of hyperventilation techniques

Let’s summarize the results. In the context of pranayama practice bhastrika is essential at the preparatory stage:
1. For cleansing upper and lower breathing passages, to improve patency of nasopharynx and bronchial tree, to open air-cells;
2. For better mobility of the chest and development of respiratory muscles;
3. For expanding the volume and vital capacity of the lungs;
4. For improving blood circulation in a small blood circle and improvement of capillaries of the lungs.
With a regular daily practice, the mentioned effects can manifest already in 3-4 months. In 6 months of practice the volume of the lungs distinctly grows up; in one-two years, when training results become stable, bhastrika is fulfilled from time to time. With longterm pranayama practice bhastrika and kapalabhati stop making any significance, as effects from these techniques important at the beginning are fully replaced by other pranayamas.


How to master it – preparatory excersises and different variations

At full-extend bhastrika pranayama is done on the basis of a speeded up full yogic breathing. With the lungs filled up to the maximum it is possible to get 50-70 breathing cycles per minute, but not more, as with higher speed it is not possible to keep the achieved amplitude of the movement. Full bhastrika – purna bhastrika - that involves all respiratory muscles is difficult for the beginners. It is rather difficult, if possible at all, to perform for a non-prepared person. To avoid typical mistakes and side effects linked to high workload on cardio vascular and respiratory systems, you should master to coordinate and optimize the work of all respiratory muscles.
There are safety rules to follow:
- there should not be contraindications;
- preparatory techniques should be chosen properly;
- fulfillment should be done technically correct;
- workload should be increased gradually and proportionally.
The process of bhastrika’s mastering can be divided into several stages:
1. Preparatiry stage – asanas and shatkarmas:
- thorough asana practice for better flexibility of shoulders, ribs and spine, for improving overall condition of connected systems – digestive and cardio-vascular;
- vamana-dhauti – if prescribed, – basti if needed;
- for cleansing and ventilation of upper respiratory passages: jala-neti, sutra-neti, nasya;
- kapalabhati, besides mucus’ cleansing and ventilation, develops respiratory muscles of the abdomen, increasing reserve volume of the exhalation;
- for better coordination of the respiration – vibhagya-pranayamas (vibhagya meaning to separate, to divide) and full breathing;
- for development of strength, elasticity and endurance of diafragma – uddiyana-bandha, adjari (tadagi), agnisara-dhauti, nauli (the mentioned techniques improve venous outflow from the small pelvis and organs of digestion, preventing stagnation and stimulating motor functions of the digestive tract).
2. Beginning stage – bhastrika-vjayamas. These are simple variants aimed to work through certain sectors of the lungs and respiratory muscles (added to techniques of the preparatory stage):
- for upper sector – chest bhastrika-vjayama with different variants of movements of the arms and shoulders, plus retention of breathing on inhalation with dynamic exercises;
- for lower sector – abdominal bhastrika plus adajri;
- for development of intercostal respiratory muscles – udjayi-vjayamas;
3. The main stage – purna bhastrika (techniques that have been mastered before are used now at less extend, mainly as a warming up):
- 4-5 rounds of 25-30 cycles – alternating retentions together with bandhas on inhalation and exhalation;
- as the quantity of cycles increases (from 25 up to 150 cycles) the number of preparatory techniques reduces, as well as the number of rounds - from five to three;
- time of retention increases, double retention is being introduced (on exhalation and on inhalation), setu-bandha is introduced for softening and prolongation of exhalation after the maximum retention on an inhalation.
Kapalabhati, bhastrika-vjayamas, purna bhastrika are obligatory followed by compensatory techniques based on kumbhaka and bandha. It helps, on the one hand, to avoid negative consequences from workload on cardio-vascular system; on the other hand, it trains the capacity of long isometric contraction of the lungs during retentions on exhalation. Kumbhaka, or a series of kumbhakas, is done right after every cycle of hyperventilation. Bandhas, due to reflex action, activate parasympathetic system – lowering frequency of heart beats, tension, rhythm and depth of breathing, muscle tone, by thus balancing the condition of autonomic nervous system.
For reference: in Dhirendra Brahmachari’s school different variants of bhastrika are used as preparatory techniques, including those done separately by the abdomen and by the chest, that can be fulfilled in different standing and sitting positions of some simple asanas. One peculiarity of this school is adjagri exercise. There are no such techniques in Shivananda school; at preparatory stage they use kapalabhati and vibhagya-pranayamas, purna bhastrika is used to be done in sitting position, preferably in padmasana, based on full yogic breathing.
Vibhagya-pranayamas – is a separate preparatory exercise for mastering full breathing, here abdominal, chest and clavicular breathing is studied separately. Parallel to it you can start studing uddiyana-bandha (retention after exhalation with a deep retraction of the abdomen) – for stretching diafragma, kapalabhati and a very simple bhastrika-vjayama with retention on inhalation, where the chest is mainly involved.
The next step is mastering full yogic breathing and adjagri. In adjagri throwing out the abdomen with mula bandha on retention after inhalation and uddiyana-bandha on retention after exhalation are alternately done. Practicing this technique allows to master bhastrika with abdomen quicker and properly.
Bhastrika in the beginning is done for 15-20 seconds, on advanced level – up to one minute, on intensive level – for one-two minutes. Practicing vjayamas during retentions gives an additional workload on respiratory system. Those can be not only rotations, but other movements of the arms and the body that stretch the chest and improve the flexibility of the floating ribs, sternum and shoulders. For example, combination of the retention on inhalation with a slight bend backwards (without throwing the head back!) and taking arms back flattens the chest, and makes difficulty for retention, and thus makes intercostal muscles to work actively. In general any variant of vjayamas fulfilled with retention of breathing increase oxygen consumption and hypoxic workload, but should be done with caution as they eventually increase tension and are restricted in cases of cardio-vascular disorders.


Influencing agni

According to traditional views, bhastrika strengthens body’s “fire” – agni, warming up the body, eliminating the cold, meaning all stagnation processes in a body. In Ayurveda context, agni, the energy of transformation, means methabolism in all its manifestations – digestion of the food, substancies exchange, thermoregulation, destroyement of viruses.
Different constitutional types have different agni. Methabolic tendencies derived by human constitution are kept through out the whole life; but variations of agni happen at change of place of living and climate, change of seasons and age changes. Agni is influenced by a diet and nutritional habits, regime of life and physical activity. High methabolism (tikshna agni) leads to disorders of pitta-dosha. Low methabolism (manda agni) leads to the development of diseases connected with kapha-dosha disbalance. Changing methabolism (vishama agni) causes vata-dosha disorders. Balanced methabolism (sama agni) supports health and longevity.
Depending on constitution (prakriti), current state of the organism (vikriti) and type of agni, different intensiveness of bhastrika is recommended.
As a rule, the best bhastrika suits kapha type people, who have a tendency to a raised mucus secretion, stagnation in the lungs and hipotonia. They may practice it regularly and intensively with a great benefit for their health.
People of pitta type should practice bhastrika less often and not so intensive. Bhastrika quickly warms them up, provoking digestive problems and problems of cardio-vascular system; that is why it is not recommended in a hot summer seson.
People of vata type have fewer tendencies to mucus secretion in the lungs and to heart pressure problems, but they are more sensitive and have easily exitable nervous system and have problems with blood circulation. Bhastrika would be good for them in a moderate mode not causing overexcitement. It can be practiced regularly on a condition of a diet and regime of the day.
Pranayama in a whole and bhastrika in particular increase elements of air and fire in a body, with insufficient nutritional diet the body “dries up” – agni strengthened by the practice starts to “eat” tissues of a body (dhatu). In a whole, dietic recommendations are simple – after pranayama practice when you feel hunger, sweet (neutral in its taste), nutritional, heavy, oily food is recommended. Depending on the season and constitution, variants can be different – well prepared porridge with ghi and natural sweets, almonds’ milk or a cocktail made of germinated cereals; sweet fruits in summer. Too acid, spicy and salted food does not suit, it is reasonable to reduce its quantity.


Time and place

According to Ayurveda principles, each dosha manifests its activity twice a day, changing every four hours. Vata dosha time – early pre-sunrise and pre-sunset hours, kapha dosha time – after the sunrise and after the sunset, pitta time – four hours around midday and four hours around the midnight. Connected with that it is not recommended to strengthen agni during the hours of active pitta – at midday or midnight (eccessive agni leads to dysfunction of digestion). Doing agnisara-dhauti and bhastrika during that time is easy to get “a yogic gastritis” (people with kapha constitution will need more time for that rather than pitta and vata types). Regular practice not at a proper time leads to chronic problems. The best time for pranayama and shatkarmas is before and after the sunrise, at vata time, that goes into the peak of kapha activity. It is logic also, because it is easier to wake up during the peak of vata activity – nervious system during this period is very sensitive and balanced, and the organism is relaxed after the sleep. To wake up during the period of kapha is more difficult – more time is needed for getting yourself together and putting the body into a working condition. It is better to finish practice before 9.00, at least before 11.00. Pranayama can be practiced in the evening, before or after the sunset, and in some cases during the night – but it concerns only pranayama, not prana-vyayama, including hyperventilation techniques.
While practicing pranayama you should avoid drafts, because the body gets warm and it is easy to get cold. A dusty place with frowzy air is not suitable for practice. It should not be too hot (more than +25) or too cold (less than +15) in a room or outside if you practice in an open air. The room should be clean, well ventilated and rather quiet; without any buzzing or other bloodsucking or crawling insects. The air in a city is considered to be not clear enough for pranayama. And it really is, generally speaking; but it is not a contraindication or important reason for excuse for one’s lazyness.

Bhastrika-vyayama sequence, performed by Kostya Osadchiy (Odessa)