Breathing lies at the center of human existence. If we don’t breathe, we won’t exist. It is one of the most common as well as basic processes of the human body which has ignorance wrapped around it. In this article, we explore the core of yogic practice- breathing’s significance and how to master it.
Breathing influences each and every cell’s activities in the body is also linked with the performance of the brain. It is an established fact that on an average a human breathes around 15 times in a minute which is close to 21,600 timers every day. Each breath a human take is linked to different aspects of human experience.
Breathing exercises form the yogic practices’ core. They aim to create balance and harmony within the body and also detoxify the system at the same time. If breathing is done correctly and practicing of breathing techniques is done in right fashion, it has many benefits. Irregular or incorrect breathing can lead to harm to the body in various ways. Rhythmic, deep, as well as slow respiration, helps in stimulating the mind and makes it free from stress. However, irregular breathing can disrupt the brain’s rhythm and can lead to many physical, emotional as well as mental blocks. It can lead to many inner conflicts as well as unbalanced personality along with disordered lifestyle and various diseases.
Now we will learn about the various correct ways of breathing in different yogic postures and poses but also simplify the different forms of breathing techniques along with their significance as well as their benefits to our body. A typical breathing practice is one where a person inhales with stomach swelling out followed by chest, and when exhaling the stomach goes in, and it is followed by the chest. It is a deep breathing exercise where a person soaks in maximum oxygen which fills his stomach first followed by his chest and vice versa during the exhalation process.
There are many benefits of practicing the yogic breathing. It is a way to slowly oxygenate your body putting your mind to peace and relaxation.
The traditional yogic breathing patterns can be categorized into four types-
- Diaphragmatic or Abdominal breathing – When a person breathe long and deep in his abdomen while focusing on the expansion of the stomach during inhalation and squeezing the stomach in during the exhalation.
- Thoracic breathing- It is when a person breathes into the lungs upwards as well as outwards. While doing this breathing, a person becomes more aware of lungs expansion while drawing in air and also dropping the lungs as he exhales.
- Clavicular breathing- When a person breathes into his lungs until their expansion is felt in the upper part of the lungs around the neck’s base. The shoulder, as well as the collarbone, also move up. When it comes to exhalation, it is slow releasing the chest’s base and then the neck.
- Yogic breathing- This type of breathing is an amalgamation of all of the various breathing mentioned above in the single inhalation. The person breathes slowly as well as long, filling up his abdominal region, the chest area along with the shoulder as well as the neck areas. The person eventually releases from the stomach first and then it is followed by the chest and the shoulder as well as the neck.
Yogic breathing is perfectly suited for meditation, and it easily is done while sitting or lying down. Total awareness should be in the breathing process, which ultimately relaxes the body and the mind. The breathing should be in natural flow and shouldn’t be forced. Yogic breathing is a perfect way to relieve conditions such as sinus, heart issues, lungs as well as digestive disorders along with stomach ailments, respiratory troubles, and stress.
With all these yogic breathing, there are also various asanas which incorporate different techniques of breathing. Let’s look at these various breathing techniques.
- Kapalbhati– This is also called sneezing breathing technique as this asana is bring drawn from the sneezing process. While you exhale forcefully your breath out of the lungs, you are cleansing the frontal area of the bran as well as generating heat in the body. All breathing techniques and exercises that consist of sound in them and are actually based on exhalation are a great way of detoxification. Apart from this technique, bhasrika is another instance of such kind of breathing.
- Alternate Nostril Breathing– In this technique, we refer to left-to-left nostril breathing as well as another way around. This breathing form is known as Chandrabhedi pranayama, is actually a water-dominated asana which provides a cooling effect on your body. It also activates the brain’s right side and is a great way to relieve hypertension, relaxing of the nervous system as well as excess heat. The opposite of this is right-to-right nostril breathing which is called Suryabhedi pranayama. As suggested by its name, it is a fire-dominated technique which heats up the system. Alternate nostril breathing is popular as Anulom Vilom, which is a great technique for balancing as well as relaxing of the nervous system.
- Sheetali Pranayama– It involves breathing in via the tongue which is rolled out in the form of a tube. As the air is inhaled, you have to close your mouth and then exhale in normal fashion through the nostrils. It is great in lowering the blood pressure and is quite good for the summer.
- Breathing Retention- A lot of yogic postures involve retention of breath or holding the breath for a moment or few seconds. It is excellent for strengthening as well as enhancing the capacity of the lungs. It also facilitates the greater as well as better absorption of the oxygen. While you retain the breath, you actually supply more oxygen to different parts of the body, in such case while during stress the brain cells, as well as other organs, are well equipped to handle to pressure with the assistance of more oxygen.
Few things to consider
There are certain things that one should keep in mind while performing any of the asanas which are mentioned below.
- When you are inhaling, always do it in the center position.
- When you are bending sideways, then exhale.
- In forward bending, exhale.
- Whenever the body is going out of the center, you need to exhale.
- In case of backward bending, you need to inhale.
- People who are suffering from high blood pressure or any sort of heart issues shouldn’t attempt the breath retention.
Breathing is an essential part of our human existence. It forms the basics of our life. It should be done in a correct fashion as it can have an adverse effect on our body. There are various forms of breathing which can be done to harness the hidden potential of breathing. Various breathing techniques can help in relaxing the nervous system, relieving stress and massaging the lungs and heart and also providing excess oxygen to the organs of the body. The quality of a person’s life as well his length of life is dependent on the breaths he takes and how he breathes. When the breathing is shorter, the lifespan is likely to be shorter than it would have been when the breath is slow and deep. This is essentially due to the fact that the respiration is directly and proportionately related to the heart. Deep breathing also increases the energy absorption which enhances the dynamism vitality along with the promotion of general well-being.