Full Yogic Breath

Full Yogic Breath

By Megan  Ward

Breathing is natural; it is not an intellectual activity. Breathing affects all the bodily systems physical, physiological psychological, it affects your sleep, memory, energy level and concentration. Breathing affects everything that we do and everything that we are.

When we breathe well, we create the optimum conditions for health and well being. When we don’t we lay the foundation for illness and loss of vitality.

Recovering the natural breath is a process of undoing, unfolding and yielding. It should never be forced or strained.

We begin this process by discovering where the breath moves in our body, a geographical mapping of the home we live in, our bodies.

Begin by practicing the Full Yoga Breath in Shavasana (lying on your back, knees and head supported if necessary)

Step 1: Lower Lobe Breathing

  • Observe your natural breath.
  • Bring your attention to the area beneath your navel.
  • Gently place your hand on this region.
  • Watch your breath as a quiet observer for a few moments.
  • Now begin to deepen, lengthen and extend this movement with the intent of allowing your breath to flood into the lower lobes of the lungs.
  • While inhaling, let the lower belly rise to its limit and at exhalation let it fall completely.
  • Keep the chest and abdomen still during this entire process – only move the lower belly.
  • Repeat gently without strain up to 20 breaths.
  • Return to ‘normal’ breathing, hands to your side.

Step 2: Abdominal breathing

  • Observe your natural breath.
  • Bring your attention to the abdomen region.
  • Place your hand lightly on your abdomen.
  • Notice as you inhale the abdomen rises and then falls with exhalation.
  • Watch your breath as a quiet observer for a few moments.
  • Now begin to deepen, lengthen and extend this movement with the intent of drawing your breath into the abdomen.
  • While inhaling, let the abdomen rise to its limit and at exhalation let it fall completely.
  • Begin to notice the more you release ‘holding’ the abdomen the more the lower back arches away from the floor.
  • Keep the chest and lower belly still during this entire process – only move the abdomen.
  • Repeat gently without strain up to 20 breaths.
  • Return to normal breathing hands to your side.

Step 3: Thoracic (chest) breathing

  • Observe your normal breath, this time focusing your attention on the chest.
  • Place your hand lightly on the chest.
  • You will notice the chest moving slightly up on inhalation and down with exhalation.
  • Again observe this pattern for a few moments.
  • Now, begin to deepen, lengthen and extend that movement.
  • This time, on inhalation expand and lift the rib cage, filling the lungs completely.
  • Then on exhalation, let the lungs collapse fully, sinking to the limits.
  • In this step, keep the lower belly and abdomen still, moving only the chest.
  • Repeat gently without strain up to 20 breaths.

Step 4: Full Yogic breathing

  • This combines the above 3 steps in the following way.
  • First inhale by allowing the lower belly to fill, then the abdomen and then continue inhaling as you expand and fill the chest.
  • Then exhale first from the chest as it empties and falls and then continue exhaling from the abdomen as it draws inwards completely continuing the final release with the lower belly.
  • This is one round of the full yogic breath.
  • Repeat up to 20 rounds.
  • Remember the pattern –Inhaling - the lower belly – abdomen – chest   Exhaling – the chest- abdomen – lower belly.

Visualise your breath as a constant wave of energy running along your spine. Expansive and empowering. With no beginning and no end.

Do not attempt to force the breath in any way, there should be no strain. The natural tendency is to heave with effort. The right way is to make it smooth and effortless.

Initially you may experience unevenness or bumps in this breathing process – as though there were separation through the lungs.  This is natural considering the years you may have spent breathing improperly.

Instead, try to picture this breath as a continuous wave like pattern –the breath moves up from the lower belly to the throat with every inhalation and then, down from the throat to the lower belly with each exhalation. Over time, this natural way of breathing will come to you.

The full yogic breath is the basic building block of the powerful yoga breathing techniques, also called ‘Pranayama’

Breathing well is the most readily available resource you have for creating and sustaining your health and vital energy.

Enjoy,

Namaste,

Megan – Om Shanti

© Copyright 2010 Megan Ward

http://www.manasayoga.com/