The breath is one of the most important practices in the entire system of Yoga. A lot of people confuse Yogic Breathing as abdominal breathing or ujjayi breath. Today, we answer the most frequently asked question about Yogic Breathing.
1) What is Yogic Breathing?
Yogic breathing is when there is a simultaneous expansion of the abdomen, rib cage and shoulders effortlessly; while inhaling. And all three relax during exhalation.
Yogic Breathing = Abdominal breathing + Thoracic breathing + Clavicular breathing.
Yogic Breathing is also called Dirgha Pranayam.
(Clavicular breathing is when the shoulders and collarbone is raised while breathing in and vice versa. This breathing is like sniffing in. It requires most effort while little air is taken in. When people get angry, we see them using clavicle breathing).
2) So what exactly is Abdominal breathing?
Abdominal breathing is associated with the movement of the diaphragm and the outer walls of the abdominal walls. During inhalation, the lungs expand, pushing the diaphragm down. Thus, the abdominal muscles are massaged and the belly expands.
Today, people use more shallow breathing. Where there is not enough movement of the diaphragm or the belly. This form of breathing draws in the most air with the least muscle effort.
3) Don’t we need to use the mouth for Rib cage or Thoracic breathing?
In a lot of cardio exercises or pilates; the mouth is used to exhale. While the rib cage expands. But, in yogic breathing; the lungs are allowed to expand fully. Thus, the diaphragm moves down (abdominal breathing) and the rib cage moves out (rib cage breathing). The breathing is done by the nose only.
4) So is Ujjayi breathing and Yogic breathing the same?
Ujjayi breathing is a specific technique in yogic breathing. This diagram illustrates the same.
5) But, dont’ we use this yogic breathing is daily life?
In day to day life, most of us are using abdominal breathing only or rib cage breathing only. It’s when you slow down the breath, fill the lungs to a good capacity. That, there is movement in the diaphragm and intercostal muscles is Yogic breathing.
6) How does Dirgha Pranayam help us?
It strengthens your immunity, keeps you energized, supports blood circulation, relaxes the nervous system and helps you stay relaxed. The breath is the mirror to the health and mood.
7) Do we use this deep breathing in a polluted place too?
Do we stop breathing if we are on a polluted road or city? We might for a few seconds. But, keep breathing deeply. Our body is equipped to handle impurities. Also use cleansing breathing methods like Bhastrika and Kapalbhati, to ensure that the toxins and pollutants are flushed out of the system.
Yogic breathing is the automatic and normal function of the body. As we grow older, we may use it lesser. But start with a few deep breaths and then it becomes a part of you.
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