To start Breathing Yoga
As it is explained in Ayurveda that when breath wanders i.e. it is irregular the mind is also unsteady. But when breath is calmed the mind will also be still and the individual also lives a long life. Thus one must learn to control breath.
Yogic breathing or pranayam is the fourth limb of stage of yoga that comes after asanas or postures. Prana has several meanings as breath, respiration, life, vitality, wind, energy and strength while yama is restraint or discipline. The control of prana leads to the control of mind which is vital for concentration and meditation which is the next step in yoga. But yogi breathing is also recognized as a way to refresh and rejuvenate all the body systems.
In yoga breath is used to direct the flow of prana in the body. And as the blood circulates through the whole body it carries prana in it all over the body. So breathing is life since it is the most vital function of our body. Similarly in yoga too breathing has a great importance since yogic asanas or postures are mainly performed in accordance with breathing. Almost all yogic postures involve breathing control stimulating activities in body.
Even in ayurveda the importance of breathes has been defined saying the life force is only possible due to the breaths. Full yogic breath is the basic building block for powerful yoga breathing also referred to as pranayam in Sanskrit. The benefits of power yoga breathing or pranayam are:
- Helps in release of acute & chronic muscular tension around heart and digestive organs.
- Individuals suffering from asthma and emphysema overcome shortness of breath. Since practicing yoga increase their lung capacity.
- Encourages nervous stimulus to cardiovascular system regulating circulation of blood, making it available for all tissues.
- Even helps to reduce down emotional as well as nervous anxiety.
- Also increases the release of toxins as well as carbon dioxide reducing its levels in blood stream and increases levels of oxygenation in blood.
- Amplifies the immune system by increasing the distribution of energy to the endocrine system.
- Refreshes the body and the mind.
In yoga when proper breathing is practiced it provides more supply of oxygen to body as well as the brain thus provide a better controlled brain that is capable of relaxing the body and mind and enhancing its capability to work efficiently. Thus providing control over Prana or the vital force.
Thus in order to practice yogic breathings one must always perform it under the guidance of a teacher. To practice yogic breathing one must follow following guidelines:
- Try to practice it regularly at the same time everyday. Preferably in the morning or evening.
- Practice in clean airy space free from any distractions.
- Do not practice at least for 2 hours after heavy meals.
- Do not practice if you are hungry.
- Emptying of bladder and bowel before beginning practice is necessary.
Yoga recognizes three separate forms of breathing as:
- Diaphragmatic breathing – mostly men breathe in this way this is the least faulty method of breathing. Since when performed the base of lungs is filled with air, and the rhythmic lowering of diaphragm produces massage of whole abdominal organs.
- Intercostal breathing – this is obtained by raising the ribs through dilating the thoracic cage like pair of bellows. This is also known as the athletic breathing and when it is combined with abdominal breathing it ventilates the lungs satisfactorily.
- Clavicular breathing – in this type the air is inhaled by raising the collar bones and shoulders in such a way that the upper part of the lungs is filled with fresh air. This is the least satisfactory method of breathing and is the characteristic in women.
Therefore the yogic breathing is the combination of all these three methods of breathing incorporating as one producing a single rhythmic movement. Thus to perform breathing in yoga or yogic breathing empty the lungs entirely slowly lowering the diaphragm allow the air to fill into your lungs when the abdomen swells filling the bottom of lungs with air expand the ribs without straining and allow the lungs to completely fill raising your collar bones. And throughout this breathing practice air must enter in a continuous flow without gasping.