Why is it important to learn full yogic breath?
This article should be titled: How to choose the right yogic breath. Since basic tool for yoga isn’t a yoga mat, but instead yogic breathing. Besides its primary function, the gas exchange, breathing impacts the rhythm of a hearth-vascular system, has the massaging effect on internal organs and improves our state of mind.
The most important is that people are able to control their breathing, thereby to make a positive effect on our health and basically to change our psychological state. It’s appropriate for all yoga beginners, long before the actual physical practice – asanas or their series such as the sun salutation, to familiarise themselves with the full yogic breath technique.
How to learn full yogic breathing
Complete yogic breath or three-part yogic breathing is a technique, in which the deliberate engagement of primary and secondary muscles responsible for breathing helps deepening our breath. To make practice easier it’s advised to divide exhalation and inhalation process into three steps. First, we will analyze it and later we will join the parts in one complete smooth yogic breath.
It’s very important to know that during this exercise as well as in most yogic exercises we breathe through the nose. Our goal is full inspiration and expiratory. A gradual and total inhaling oxygen-rich air and complete exhaling air filled with carbon dioxide There should be no residual air in the body afterward. If this doesn’t happen, we experience stress and tension on an emotional level. Yogic breath has three major parts:
- lower breath also called abdominal or diaphragm
- middle breath also called chest
- upper breath also collarbone or clavicular
Each part also has 4 spatial aspects: front, rear, left and right breath. During rehearsal, we engage all respiratory muscles, so that we can make smooth and full yogic breathing.
Abdominal Yogic Breathing
It’s often mentioned in the literature that the abdominal breathing is the most important one. This does not mean indeed that, we will fill our abdominal with air. It is impossible. Everything, however, comes down to the diaphragm, which is the main muscle of respiration in the body. It’s a dome-shaped sheet of muscle separating abdominal cavity from the thoracic cavity. We can control it at will, however, otherwise operates automatically and executes commands from the central nervous system.
During inhalation, the diaphragm contracts and is drawn into the abdominal cavity. The thoracic cavity is thus larger, drawing in air from the atmosphere. When we exhale, the rib cage drops to its resting position, the diaphragm returns to its dome-shaped position in the thorax.
This is a video published on Youtube, which despite its poor quality, perfectly displays diaphragm shape and movement.
While lower inhalation, inhalation into the abdomen, we can feel how diaphragm massages organs in the abdominal cavity, pushes towards the stomach, intestines, liver, kidneys and mechanically affects local fluids. In addition to this, it relaxes lungs so they can extend downward. When we exhale, the diaphragm vice versa stretches up losing pressure on the abdominal organs.
That’s all regarding mechanics of abdominal breath. Let’s look at the mental effects. The cause of anxiety, anger, and irritability, is a superficial diaphragm breathing. Therefore, if we want to rule our feelings, for which we are the only responsible person around, the practice of diaphragm breathing is the right choice.
How to practice abdominal yogic breathing
We can sit in sukhasana, sidhasana, vadzrasana or lie down in the savasana pose.
- Place your hands on your abdomen, so that your fingertips are touching.
- Inhale into your abdomen and see how your fingers are drawing apart.
- Exhale and allow your belly to draw back in, feel your fingers touching again.
The Exhalation is twice as long as the inhalation. Repeat this 5 to 10 times.
- Place your right hand on the abdomen and left hand on the chest.
- Inhale into the abdomen. Feel how your right hand is moving up and the abdominal cavity is inflating.
- Then exhale, sensing the right hand falling below the left-hand. Breathe deeply and repeat the cycle 5 to 10x.
- Place your hands on either side of your waist, fingers pointing upward.
- Inhale and exhale deeply in this part of your body.
Observe how your belly moves toward the sides. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
- Keep your arms akimbo, just turn your hands downwards so that your fingers are pointing down.
- Inhale and exhale deeply in this part of your body. Feel your belly movements toward the floor.
Repeat 5 to 10 times. You may also sit in the Yoga mudra pose to sense better the abdominal breathing into your lower back.