How do I Breathe Correctly AND Completely?

Hello, friends and fellow yogis! We have all been practicing yoga for some time, independently or under guidance of able masters. Breathing is as integral to the practice of Yoga, as it is to living. This is because, practicing Yoga, is living for a purpose. The purpose, of communion with our self.

Schools of yoga, teach breathing and how to regulate the breath for better yoga practice.   We have all been hearing instructors, teachers and videos that tell us “breathe with your belly, or, breathe with your stomach”. Although the idea is correct, there are many of us who wish, someone would just show how. Or be a tad more precise. Of course, why not! We breathe every instant when we are alive, it would be frustrating to think we suck at the very job we think we are good at!

Fortunately, our body has one significant marker or feeler, that can guide us to breathe properly: (there are many websites giving a lot of other tips and guidelines to measure the correctness of breathing, you can refer to those if you do not agree with the method below)

The Suprasternal or Jugular notch:

This is a dip or cavity between the collar bones. When we breathe deeply enough, we should feel a downward tug at this cavity. Our lungs are very flexible and can even expand to twice their capacity. Although, we do not need to expand them to this limit, every time we breathe, it is important to ensure that we fill the lungs to their optimal capacity.

Filling the lungs doesn’t mean puffing them up, or seeing that they rise and fall animatedly, with every breath, or moving our shoulders.

If, we observing the jugular notch, when we take a nice deep breath, we can feel:

a.  the tug, extending upto the diaphragm

b. the lower ribs stretching and expanding

c. the lateral expansion in the lungs

d. the belly extending outwards

e. in more aware stages, we can feel the breath from the nostrils, into the pharyngeal cavity, the adams apple, the jugular notch, the sternum, inside the lungs, the pleural cavity, the diaphragm.

The subtle sweetness of prana can be felt in the abdominal cavity, where the prana, or the breath is offered to the bhuta agni, just like offering sacrifice in a yagna.

Breathing correctly also means breathing completely. Breathing encompasses inhalation, retention and exhalation. For beginners, who are knew to yoga, I always recommend, do not get caught up in to too much jargon.

1. Just stand erect, push your lower spine a little inwards, so that it forms an arch. This will automatically bring the chest out

2. Keep the chin as parallel to the ground as you feel you can

3. Clench your buttocks  (optional)

4.  Take a nice deep breath, voluntarily feeling for the tug in the jugular notch

a. inhale long enough

b. exhale equally long enough

This is the most simplistic method and is not  to be confused with any pranayama exercise.

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