Breathing is the most essential feature of yoga practice. No matter what form of yoga you practice, breathing will be a major part of every exercise.Yogic breathing helps keep the two sides of the brain in balance other than forming a link between body and mind. By focusing on breathing, you will be able to connect the conscious mind with the unconscious and control the energy within the body. Learning the basics of deep breathing can improve your practice and leave with the sense of ease.
Basics of ribcage breathing
To know the activity behind ribcage breathing, understanding the working ofribcage, diaphragm and abdomen is essential. These three help the movement of air in and out of lungs.Yogic breathing starts by entering into a comfortable position and focusing on the ribcage.
Your ribcage should be tipped forward and the stomach feels folded in a forward direction. Keep the back stretched. Sternum, a bone between your ribs and chest,should be pulled upwards. This will lift your ribcageand straighten the stomach muscles. Ensure that stomach muscles should support the lifted ribcage.
Diaphragmatic ribcage breathing
Diaphragm is the efficient muscle of breathing, located at the base of lungs. A full, deep breathcauses the diaphragm to lift and spread theribs when inhaling and releases them on exhalation. The belly at this point is relatively still.Diaphragmatic ribcage breathing demands more efforts on the part of practitioner as compared to belly breathing and can cause anxiety if not done properly.
When done properly, it strengthens the diaphragm, deepening the inhalation and aerating all parts of lungs.The abdominal muscles help the diaphragm to move and give power to empty the lungs.Never force your body during diaphragmatic ribcage breathing and remain calm. Stop immediately if you experience strain or agitation and breathe back to normal.
The skills of breath controlin ribcage breathing can have positive outcome in asana practice. Exhaling the breath can help improve backbends. In the inhaling position, backbends normally lock your ribs at the top and abdominal muscles are kept long and relaxed. It becomes difficult to breathe out as air cannot be pushed out of the lungs.
This is one of the reasons why people gettiredeasily in backbends. By relaxing the diaphragm afterexhalation and moving the lower ribs downwards, as done in diaphragmatic breathing, you can do deep breathing with relative ease. Breathing this way in backbends will be more comfortable than otherwise.
Slow and steady breathing
Most of the yogic breathing exercisesshould be done slowly and steadily at all levels. Count up to three when inhaling and fill your lungs. Then repeat the same when exhaling and empty your lungs by the time you count three. The moment you get comfortable with counting and breathing, you can add slight movements with your breathing.
You can apply this concept to every basic pose you practice. Gradually, you will witness the control you develop in your movements. Step by step fast breathing exercises like Kapalbhati, involvingintercostals and focusing on the diaphragm, can also be done with relative ease to reap greater results. Since upper abdomen moves intensely in quick breathing, intercostals get triggered automatically.
Yogic breathing plays a pivotal role in controlling the body. It balances the brain energy and keeps us fit. Ribcage breathing can be done while doing an activity or when sitting idle. It will help improve your posture and diminish the muscle fatigue. This breathing style provides power to the body as it expands your chest cavity.