Yogic breathing combines, abdominal breathing, thoracic breathing and Clavicular breathing and is thus also referred to as complete breathing. It maximises the inhalation and exhalation, gives control of breath, correct poor breathing habits and increases the oxygen. In normal breathing it is estimated that 500ml of air is moved in and out of lungs where as in yogic breathing up to 5 litres of air is inhaled. Yogic breathing can be practiced any time but since it can calm the nervous system it can ideally be practiced in the situation of high stress, anger and anxiety. It is practiced specifically while practicing Yogasanas but yogic breathing alone should not be practiced continually.
Learning to get into Yogic Breathing
- Come in a relaxing position either sitting or lie down in shavasana.
- Observe the spontaneous breath without disturbing it.
- Breathe slowly without producing any sound of breathing.
- Inhale slowly pushing the diaphragm down and abdomen out.
- Once the abdomen is fully expanded, expand the chest outward and upward.
- Once the ribs are fully expanded inhale a little more to expand the upper portion of the lungs around the base of the neck. The shoulders and collar bones would also move up slightly creating a slight tension in the neck muscles.
- This completes one inhalation. The whole process will be a one continuous process without creating a break or unnecessary strain and during inhalation the rest of the body should be relaxed.
- As you start to exhale first relax your lower neck or upper chest, followed by the downward and inward contraction of chest and finally dropping the abdominal wall as close as possible to the spine to empty the lungs completely. This completes the exhalation.
- The entire movement should be flawless, calm and harmonious
- You may begin with 5-10 breaths initially and gradually increase it to 10 minutes daily.
- Relax any effort and once again start observing the natural breath.
- Bring awareness back to the physical body and the surroundings and gently open the eyes.