In this age old ancient discipline called Yoga, knowing the Pranayama or traditional breathing techniques is the primary requirement for any Yoga practitioner. The main objective of Pranayama is to help you attain relaxation by learning the various processes of breathing. It does not require you to follow any kind of rigid techniques unreasoningly but instead, it helps you to practice and establish healthful rhythms and give you an insight into your own nature of various breathing processes.
Also known as Collarbone breathing or Clavicular breathing, it mainly takes place in the upper region of both your lungs and chest and involves the raising of your shoulder, collarbone and ribs. When a person becomes short of breath due to a very tight belt, excessively full stomach or Asthma attack, they automatically switch to high breathing in order to fill their lungs with minimum of amount of oxygen required to continue breathing. However, high breathing is not only shallow but it is also regarded as the least desirable type of breathing because in this process your lung uses the upper lobes with small air capacity. Besides this, due to the rigidity of upper part of rib cage, very less expansion takes place in your ribs and continuous practice of high breathing can give rise to various health problems like constipation, stomach, digestive or gynecological problems.
The breathing that takes place in the lower part of lungs and chest is regarded as low breathing. This form of breathing is far more effective than high breathing and middle breathing for the following reasons:
- More air is inhaled because of the greater movement of the lung’s lower lobes with larger air capacity.
- The diaphragm helps in increasing the blood circulation.
- The movement of the diaphragm helps in massaging the abdominal organs.
- Solar plexus, an essential nerve centre is greatly benefitted by low breathing.
Middle breathing helps in filling the middle part of your lungs with air and it exhibits both the characteristics of high and low breathing. This form of breathing involves sideways expansion of both the ribs and chest.
The combination of low, high and middle breathing is called as complete breath and it involves the function of all the organs of the respiratory system. This form of breathing is also regarded as one of the deepest form of breathing one can exercise. For a yoga practitioner, it is very important to master the art of complete breathing at the very beginning as all the different forms of Yoga breathing are primarily based on the complete breath. However, this form of breathing is only done during the breathing exercise or Pranayama because during normal hours you practiced the other three breathing forms as per your body requirement.