September 24, 2017
Full Yogic Breath
The breath is one of the most vital processes of the body. From the direct link to the brain and central nervous system to the metaphysical influence on the balance of the mind, the importance of breath is immeasurable. The full yogic breath maximises the function of the lungs allowing for the chemical exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide to take place while simultaneously stimulating the burning of oxygen and glucose, creating energy to power muscular contraction, glandular secretion and mental processes.
The full yogic breath is taken in three parts; belly/abdomen, mid chest, upper chest. The inhalation starts in the belly as the abdomen area starts to fill and expand, once the abdomen is full the ribcages begin to widen, finally after the entirety of the mid-chest if full the upper chest (area beneath the collar bones) are filled. The exhalation follows this flow by relaxing and releasing the belly, ribs, and the collar bones.
In conjunction with Ujjayi breathing the full yogic breath can be taken in the physical asana practice. The breath works slightly differently in different postures. For example, in backbends, as we inhale the ribs rise as the chest expands and the spine bends backwards. This is different from forward bends where as we exhale the ribs sink as the diaphragm rises which allows the front of the belly to naturally move back towards the spine creating space to fold. We use the breath to emphasise twisting postures. As we inhale in a twist we can use the breath to extend the spine and lengthen the body which will allow for the exhalation to bring a deeper movement into the twisting posture.
Disclaimer: This photo was from a rather pathetic run I took the other day when I was completely out of breath and could have very much used a little reminder of the full yogic breath!