100% YOGA

Yoga and the Breath

26 Nov 2011 8:47 PM | Anonymous

Yoga and the Breath


The first act of life – breathing.
The last act of life – breathing.

Everything else lies somewhere in the middle – important but not the most important, for breath is our dearest companion. A companion who never loses sight of what emotion we are experiencing at any given moment of time.

Think about it –

Isn’t your breath really fast when you are angry and really smooth and mellow when you are calm?
A simple example such as this signifies that breath is not only linked to the body, but also to the mind. Practicing meditation everyday calms the mind, thereby calming the breath and reducing the number of breaths inhaled and resulting in relief from high blood pressure amongst other ailments.

By paying attention to your breath and practicing pranayamas (breathing techniques), you can easily bring the mind to a pleasant state from an unpleasant one by enhancing and regulating the life force (prana) in the system.


Abdominal Breathing

Abdominal breathing can be practiced lying down on your back, sitting down or while standing, though in this case:

  • Let’s lie down.
  • Separate your legs slightly and let the feet fall to the sides.
  • Interlock the fingers and place the hands on your abdomen, palms facing downwards.
  • Make a conscious effort to inhale deeply, so that your abdomen starts to expand your fingers separate.
  • Allow your abdomen to expand as much as possible.
  • As you begin to exhale, apply gentle pressure on your abdomen with your hands, pushing it downwards. Exhale fully.
  • The secret to good breathing is in proper exhalation.
  • With better exhalation, your inhalation will also get better.
  • Repeat this process several times.
  • When you feel comfortable, take full abdominal breaths without using your hands.
  • And make your breath long and smooth, for both inhalation and exhalation

Full Yogic Breath

This type of breathing makes full use of lung capacity

  • Lie on your back
  • Take 2-3 abdominal breaths
  • On the next inhalation, first expand the abdomen by using half of your breath, this fills the lower lobes of your lungs
  • Then breathe further to expand your chest, this fill the middle lobes
  • At the tail end of your breath, fill up the lungs fully. You will notice expansion in your upper chest and your collarbones will lift up slightly
  • On exhalation, first deflate the upper and middle lobes of the lungs, allowing the collarbones and chest to relax
  • Then, as you deflate the lower lobes, the abdomen will relax
  • Make your breath long, smooth and rhythmic, like a wave rising and falling
  • Repeat this 10-15 times
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