The breath- it’s the only thing that’s with you from the moment you’re born to the moment you pass.Breathing unites the body and mind together and can change the way you feel mentally, emotionally, and physically.Although breathing is a spontaneous process, conscious control of it may be taken to learn and develop correct and deep breathing techniques. Rhythmic, deep and slow breathing exercises result in establishing the natural, relaxed rhythms of the body and mind.Breathing consciously is the essence of yoga as it assists us in connecting with the subtle energy within. It is through the breath that we are able to navigate different levels of consciousness.Firstly, connecting with your breath is a method for being present. When you concentrate on each aspect of the breathing process, you are present; you let go of the past and future and are focused on the moment inside the breath. This is why breathing consciously is its own meditation.By changing the breathing pattern, you can produce different states of mind. Slowing down the breath has an impact on your emotional state.
Yogic breathing combines ABDOMINAL (or diaphragmatic), THORACIC and CLAVICULAR breathing.
Abdominal breathing.Inhale while expanding the abdomen as much as is comfortable, without expanding the ribcage. At the end of the inhalation, the diaphragm will be compressing the abdomen and the navel will be at its highest point. On an exhalation, the diaphragm moves upward and the abdomen will be contracted and the navel compressed towards the spine.
Thoracic breathing.Concentrate on the sides of the chest. Discontinue any further use of the diaphragm and begin to inhale by slowly expanding the ribcage. Feel the movement of the individual ribs outwards and upward, and be aware of this expansion drawing air into the lungs. Expand the chest as much as possible. Exhale by relaxing the chest muscles. Feel the ribcage contracting and forcing the air out of the lungs. Do not use the diaphragm.
Clavicular breathing.Clavicular breathing is breathing into the top third of the lungs and no deeper. Clavicular breathing is accomplished by raising the collarbone (clavicle) and shoulders during the in-breath and keeping the rest of the torso motionless. Clavicular breathing is the most shallow type of breathing. It brings oxygen into only the top third of your lungs.