What Is Yogic Breathing?
Yogic breathing is growing awareness of breath and practicing good habits of breathing at the time of yoga. Being a key component of spiritual practice and healing, yogic breathing regulates and balances the nervous system. Yogic breathing or Pranayama, the foundation of yoga practice, starts with deepening your breathing with the 3-part breath. Pranayama and Asanas together are the highest form of self-discipline and purification of body and mind.
What Are Yogic Breathing Techniques?
Pranayama comprises many breathing techniques that vary from the simple form for a child to a complex one for advanced practitioners. You should practice yogic breathing under the guidance of an experienced teacher. Gentle demographic breathing and lengthening the exhalation are simple techniques of yogic breathing. Here are four yogic breathing techniques to try.
Nadi Sodhana is balancing and a very relaxed breath. This breathing purifies the blood, reduces stress, calms the mind, and increases concentration by increasing the quantity of oxygen within your body. Nadi Sodhana allows a restful night’s sleep by calming down the nervous system.
Technique: Sitting in a comfortable place, empty the air from your lungs. Block your right nostril with the thumb of your hand. Inhale through another nostril that is through your left nostril. Keep in mind, inhale into your belly. After taking a full breath, block your left nostril using the ring finger of the same hand. At that moment, keep your right nostril sealed and then hold the breath. Then open the right nose and leave breath through it. Next again inhale through the right nostril, pause for a moment and exhale through the left nostril. Before inhaling through the right nostril, pause for a moment, sealing both nostrils. This is the complete cycle of breath.
- Perform up to 10 cycles.
- Nadi Sodhana can be practiced at any time of the day. This technique is quite helpful when you are anxious, tense, nervous, or have sleeping trouble.
Kapalbhati will clear mucus from the air passages, promotes lung capacity, lowers bloating, and relieves congestion.
Technique: Sit with a tall, straight spine. Inhale shortly through both nostrils. Then exhale out of your nostrils pulling your navel towards the spinal cord. The short and quick process of exhalation is very active and the short process of inhalation is very passive. Pull your navel in at the time of exhalation and relax it at the time of inhalation.
- Perform one round of 30 countings.
- Perform it in the morning on empty stomach. You can do it when you will feel bloated or congested. Avoid the technique during pregnancy. Those who have heart and blood pressure issues, should avoid this.
3. Ujjayi Pranayama
Ujjayi or ocean breath is often applied in asana practice. Ujjayi Pranayama calms your mind by drawing your attention to breath and helps in full expansion of the lungs.
Technique: Sit comfortably in a place with a straight spine. Inhale steadily through both nostrils. Inhale up to your lung capacity and maintain a straight spine simultaneously. After holding your breath for just a few seconds, tighten some of the breath at the back of your throat and then exhale. When you will exhale, it will sound like an ocean wave and the air will touch the roof of your mouth.
- Perform it up to 20 times.
- Perform it at any time of the day.
4. Sitali Pranayama
Sitali pranayama is done especially during summer or in a tropical climate. Sitali means cooling. Sitali Pranayama calms your body and mind and it has a cooling effect on your mind and body. The breath clears heat with the cooling effect.
Technique: Curl or roll your tongue creating a tube. Take breath inside your body through your mouth. The breathing process sounds like hissing. After inhaling, touch the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth and close your lips. Feel the coolness of the air inside your mouth. Then exhale through both nostrils.
- Perform it 5 to 10 times.
- When you will feel overheated, or when you are waiting for somebody or something in hot weather, try Sitali Pranayama, which will give you relaxation.
What Are The Benefits Of Yogic Breathing?
According to the Eastern Cultures, the breath helps to attain a state of higher awareness, helps in healing and well-being. Yogic breathing has a multitude of emotional, physical, and mental benefits. Some Pranayama exercises calm the nervous system whereas some pranayama exercises energize the nervous system. Regular pranayama practice has the following benefits.
- Relieve Hypertension: Pranayama exercises improve hypertension by controlling heart rate and high blood pressure.
- Improve Digestive System Function: When you practice yogic breathing along with belly breathing, the diaphragm dome-shaped muscle gets activated. The act of breathing allows the diaphragm to rise and fall. This movement soothes the digestive organs that lie under the diaphragm.
- Improve Immune System: The diaphragmatic movement due to yogic breathing stimulates the flow of lymph-fluid containing White Blood Cells. Thus it improves the immune system.
- Helps In Weight Loss: If you practice Yogic Breathing along with healthy eating habits, you will be able to lose weight. Pranayama helps in weight management.
- Improve Lung Health: As you are using your lungs while practicing pranayama, yogic breathing improves the respiratory system. It increases the capacity of your lungs. Asthma and chronic destructive pulmonary disease patients should practice Pranayama.
- Removes Stress: Pranayama removes stress, depression, anxiety, and improves mood swing.
- Improves Sleep Quality: Regular practice of Pranayama improves sleep quality and insomnia.
You may also like our post dedicated to the benefits of Pranayama.
Yogic breathing is also known as three-part breath as it involves three different sections of the torso. It revitalizes the vital organs. When your organs get stagnant, or fraught with tension, stress, then yogic breathing benefits the vital organs. Pranayama removes stress, calms the mind, and activates the nervous system. By correcting unhealthy breathing patterns, yogic breathing encourages a more balanced state of body and mind. Try to practice it every day on an empty stomach for ten to fifteen minutes.