Yogic breathing involves all 3 sections which is the abdomen, chest and clavicular region of our body. It maximises the inhalation and exhalation. Before we do yogic breathing, we must understand the clavicular breathing, thoracic breathing and also the abdominal breathing.
As we inhale shallowly into the upper chest, and as our shoulder and collar bone slightly raise up, this is the clavicular breathing.
It is usually combines with thoracic breathing and this often take place in a stressful situation like physical exertion or obstruction of airway problems like asthma. The upper ribs and collar bones are pulled upward by the sternum and neck as it allows more air into the lungs. It is for awareness creation in yoga if it is practice alone and a part of yogic breathing with combination of the other 2.
Second, is the thoracic breathing. This is performed entirely by expansion of the chest and the abdomen does not move. We breathe in with awareness as a stepping stone for yogic breathing. It focus breath awareness by expanding the rib cage, without using the diaphragm. We expands the chest when inhale and contracts the chest when exhale. This is the most common way that all of us breathe.
Lastly is the abdominal breathing. Abdominal breathing should be practiced before any pranayama. All breathing techniques should be involving the diaphragm. This can be done in sitting position, laying down or mountain pose. How do we do it? Firstly, place one hand on the belly and one hand on the chest. Inhale deeply engaging the diaphragm.
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When we inhale, our abdomen should rise as the air pushes the diaphragm downward pushing the abdominal content down and up. On exhalation, the diaphragm will move upward and the abdomen will fall. The chest should not expand because if it does, we are not using the abdomen and still has shallow breath.
As we breathe deep into the abdomen, the lower part of the lungs is used. This increase the efficiency of the lungs thus give positive effect to the heart, liver, stomach and intestines. No doubt, this is the most effective way of breathing and the most natural way. However in the modern society, many people don’t breathe this way.
We need to learn back this natural process, just like baby and animal breathe and our lives could be healthier.
In yogic breathing, it combines all three clavicle , thoracic and abdominal breathing. It can be practiced before other breathing method too.
We first inhale to the abdomen to expand and rise to the maximum rise. Then, allow the chest expand outward and upward. After the rib cage is expanded to it max, inhale a little more until the collar bone move up slightly. In the exhalation, first exhale slowly till the collar bone move downward, then the chest , follow by the abdomen.
It should be without any tension during the whole process, ae breathe deeply and slowly The abdominal breathing should be around 70% of the breath.. The yogic breathing can be done in seated posture, shavasana, or while standing and walking. It is the key for a healthy long life. It allows us to have maximum inhalation and exhalation.