Diaphragmatic Breathing & Types Of Breathing In Yoga
Most people breathe incorrectly. Their breathing is shallow, using only a small part of their lung capacity. This results in a large part of the lungs remaining unutilized and hence allowing germs to accumulate in those lower areas, resulting in ill health.
Types Of Breathing In Yoga
The three types of breathing techniques explained hereunder viz. diaphragmatic breathing (also referred to as Abdominal breathing or Belly Breathing), Thoracic breathing (also referred to as Chest Breathing), and Clavicular breathing introduce the practitioner to the correct breathing habits with an increased awareness of the breathing process, which is otherwise normally ignored. We start with Abdominal breathing.
What Is Diaphragmatic Breathing Or Abdominal Breathing
The diaphragm is a domed sheet of muscle that separates the lungs from the abdominal cavity. Diaphragmatic breathing or abdominal breathing is characterized by enhancing the movement of the diaphragm up and down while minimizing the movement of the rib cage. This kind of breathing is the most efficient way to breathe, but due to stress, an unbalanced lifestyle, and many other factors which are the result of modern-day lifestyle, it is forgotten.
Diaphragmatic Breathing Instructions
- Lie in Shavasana on a Yoga mat or blanket and relax your whole body.
- Place the right hand on the abdomen and the left palm on your chest.
- Develop the feeling that now onwards the breath has to be drawn in and out directly through the navel.
- Continue breathing slowly and deeply, without moving the shoulders or expanding the chest.
- Inhale while expanding the abdomen as much as is comfortable.
- The diaphragm will compress the abdomen with the navel and right hand moving up, reaching their highest point.
- The movement of the left palm will be least or negligible.
- Exhale while contracting the abdomen again as much as is comfortable.
- At the end of exhalation, the abdomen will be contracted with the navel (and the palm) having moved towards the spine reaching its lowest point.
- This is abdominal breathing.
- Continue it for a few minutes and keep on observing the movement of your right hand.
- In the end, relax and become aware of the spontaneous breathing pattern.
- Become aware of the body, the surroundings, and then open your eyes gently.
Diaphragmatic Breathing Benefits
- In Belly Breathing or Diaphragmatic Breathing, movement of the diaphragm enables the utilization of the lower lobes of the lungs.
- This breathing results in the equal expansion of the alveoli.
- Diaphragmatic breathing improves lymphatic drainage from basal parts of the lungs.
- It massages the abdominal organs that lie immediately below the diaphragm including the stomach, liver, etc.
- Belly breathing exerts a positive effect on cardiac functioning.
Once the technique of abdominal breathing becomes a part of daily life and the correct breathing pattern is restored, there will be a great improvement in the state of physical and mental well being and the practitioner learns to breathe properly.