By Arun Goel
With the ever-increasing incidence of lifestyle diseases like
cardio-vascular and nervous system disorders, the time has come
for us to address this ourselves, fair and square WITHOUT
Did you know that reprogramming your
natural breathing technique would not only help in preventing
these problems but also help in the “reversal” of several such
harmful conditions? Yes, it’s not only possible but proven too.
In fact leading cardiac experts are advocating the benefits of
“correct” breathing to their patients.
Surprising as it is, almost none of us
use the full capacity of our respiratory organs. This is
aggravated by our sedentary lifestyles and leads to several
complications popularly called - lifestyle disorders.
The first question that comes to mind is –
“How can I alter my natural breathing process?” Well,
astonishing as it may seem, it’s true. By training our body to
breathe in a particular fashion, we re-program our involuntary
system to adopt this new way of breathing.
This breathing technique is called the “Full
Yogic breath” or simply Yoga breathing.
Without wasting time, I’ll plunge right away
into the technique followed by its overwhelming benefits.
First, lie down on your back, relaxed, with
hands and legs outstretched and eyes looking up at the roof.
Gently close your eyes and relax.
Step 1: Abdominal breathing
Observe your natural breath. You will notice
that as you inhale the abdomen rises and then falls with
exhalation. Watch this for a few moments to check this flow. Now
begin to deepen, lengthen and extend that movement. That
is, while inhaling, let the abdomen rise to its limit and at
exhalation let it fall completely. Keep the chest still
during this entire process – only move the abdomen. Continue
this for 20 breaths and then rest.
Step 2: Thoracic (chest) breathing
Again observe your normal breath, this time
focusing your attention on the chest. You will notice the chest
moving slightly up at inhalation and down with exhalation. Again
observe this pattern for a few moments. Now again, begin to
deepen, lengthen and extend that movement. This time, on
inhalation expand and lift the rib cage, filling the lungs
completely. Then on exhalation, let the lungs collapse fully,
sinking to the limits. In this step, keep the abdomen still,
moving only the chest. Do this for 20 breath cycles and then
Step 3: Full Yogic breathing
This combines the above 2 steps in the
First inhale by filling the abdomen and then CONTINUE inhaling
as you expand and fill the chest. Then exhale first from the
chest as it empties and falls and then CONTINUE exhaling from
the abdomen as it draws inwards completely. This is one round of
the full yogic breath. Repeat this for 20 rounds.
Remember the pattern… Inhaling - abdomen then
chest; Exhaling – chest then abdomen.
GOLDEN RULE: All of the above steps
should be done WITHOUT strain. The natural tendency is to heave
with effort. The right way is to make it smooth and effortless.
Go slow and easy.
Initially you will experience unevenness or
bumps in this breathing process – as if there are 4 separate
parts to the full yogic breath. This is natural considering the
years we have spent breathing improperly.
Instead, try to picture this breath as a
continuous wave like pattern – as if the breath moves up
from the navel to the throat with every inhalation and then,
down from the throat to the navel with each exhalation. It may
take a few weeks of practice to perfect a “SMOOTH flowing
pattern with MINIMUM effort and with MAXIMUM capacity.”
This is the desired effect!! Over time, the yoga way of
breathing will come naturally to you.
And now for the all-important benefits…
The full yogic breath is the basic building
block of the powerful yoga breathing techniques, also called
‘Pranayama’ in Sanskrit, which are known for their multifarious
But the tangible benefits of the full yogic breath are that it:
- Releases acute and chronic muscular tensions around the heart and digestive organs.
- Helps sufferers of respiratory illnesses such as asthma and emphysema to overcome the fear of shortness of breath. It actually increases lung capacity.
- Encourages proper nervous stimulus to the cardio-vascular system
- Dramatically reduces emotional and nervous anxiety
- Improves detoxification through increased exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen
- Amplifies the auto immune system by increased distribution of energy to the endocrine system
- Calms the mind and integrates the mental / physical balance.
And the real icing is that it contributes to
both vitality and relaxation through this single practice.
With such powerful all-round benefits, do you
really need to be “motivated” to get going?
Go ahead, and take charge of your life like never before.
All the best,