Yogic breathing combines the previous three techniques - Abdominal, Thoracic, Clavicular. It is used to maximize inhalation and exhalation. Its purpose is to gain control of the breath, correct poor breathing habits and increase oxygen intake. It may be practised at any time and is especially useful in situations of high stress or anger for calming the nerves.
However, while its inclusion in a daily yoga program will correct and deepen natural breathing patterns, yogic breathing itself should not be performed continually.
Sit in a meditation posture or lie in shavasana and relax the whole body.
Inhale slowly and deeply, allowing the abdomen to expand fully.
Try to breathe so slowly that little or no sound of the breath can be heard.
Feel the air reaching into the bottom of the lungs.
At the end of abdominal expansion, start to expand the chest outward and upward.
When the ribs are fully expanded, inhale a little more until expansion is felt in the upper portion of the lungs around the base of the neck. The shoulders and collar bone should also move up slightly. Some tension will be felt in the neck muscles.
The rest of the body should be relaxed.
Feel the air filling the upper lobes of the lungs.
This completes one inhalation.
The whole process should be one continuous movement, each phase of breathing merging into the next without any obvious transition point. There should be no jerks or unnecessary strain. The breathing should be like the swell of the sea.
Now start to exhale.
First, relax the lower neck and upper chest, then allow the chest to contract downward and then inward.
Next, allow the diaphragm to push upward and toward the chest.
Without straining, try to empty the lungs as much as possible by drawing or pulling the abdominal wall as near as possible to the spine.
The entire movement should be harmonious and flowing. Hold the breath for a few seconds at the end of exhalation. This completes one round of yogic breathing.
At first perform 5 to 10 rounds and slowly increase to 10 minutes daily.
Relax any effort and once again watch the spontaneous breathing pattern.
Bring the awareness back to observing the physical body as a whole. Be aware of the surroundings and gently open the eyes.
Practice note: The main requirement in pranayama is that respiration be comfortable and relaxed. Consequently, once awareness and control of the breathing process has been established, the clavicular technique is dropped and yogic breathing is modified to become a combination of abdominal and thoracic breathing. The breath should flow naturally and not be forced.
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